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Freightliner LLC Sponsors Lab at PSU
Author: Office of University Communications
Posted: December 18, 2006

Fluids Measurement Lab in Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science supports education, research

President and Chief Executive Officer Chris Patterson of Portland-based Freightliner LLC joined Portland State University President Dan Bernstine at a reception to celebrate Freightliner’s $100,000 sponsorship of the Fluids Measurement Laboratory at PSU, Friday, December 8, 2006.

The lab is housed in the new engineering building at the Northwest Center for Engineering, Science and Technology, home to PSU’s Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science.

“We are delighted to have Freightliner’s participation in our new facility at the Maseeh College,” said Dean Robert D. Dryden.

The most visible example of the collaboration between Freightliner and the Maseeh College’s Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering is in the design of Freightliner’s Full-Scale Wind Tunnel Facility in Portland. Discussions on how PSU faculty could help with the wind tunnel’s aerodynamic design led to a Freightliner-sponsored research project in which computer simulations were performed (Computational Fluid Dynamics) of the wind tunnel flow. The wind tunnel is a unique facility in the world that gives Freightliner LLC an unprecedented ability to test, study and refine the aerodynamics, water management and underhood airflow of heavy- and medium-duty trucks.

“As the leading manufacturer of Class 8 trucks in North America, aerodynamics is one of the most significant initiatives in our ongoing commitment to providing efficient business solutions to our customers,” said Patterson. “Fuel cost is a significant concern industry wide, so we will continue to use our advanced research capabilities to develop practical solutions that will benefit our products and potentially impact the entire industry.”

“We built our Class 8 wind tunnel – the first and only of its kind – specifically for this type of research because it allows our engineers to replicate real-world aerodynamic scenarios in a controlled environment where we can precisely duplicate test conditions to evaluate even the slightest effects on aerodynamics,” said Elmar Boeckenhoff, senior vice president of engineering and technology for Freightliner LLC. “The variables of driver influence, weather conditions, road surfaces, and traffic, to name a few, are overcome in the wind tunnel. The flexibility provided by having the wind tunnel at our disposal enables us to evaluate many different scenarios in a very timely and cost effective manner.”

Joint research projects such as this often result in undergraduate and graduate students being employed by Freightliner.

The Freightliner Fluids Measurement Laboratory will be a central resource for education in fluid mechanics at Portland State University. New funding from the National Science Foundation will add innovative experiments to the lab for teaching fundamental concepts and qualitative reasoning—the goal of the research is to improve student learning in the fluid and thermal sciences.

PSU’s new engineering building, which opened in early 2006, is one of two comprising the Northwest Center for Engineering, Science and Technology (the second is the Fourth Avenue Building). The center is a key element of the University’s increased emphasis on engineering, science and technology, enhancing interaction and learning within the Maseeh College in order to serve more students, increase research funding, and expand industry collaborations. The new 130,000 square-foot facility includes classrooms, offices, and 41 research and teaching labs and is Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certified for sustainable design.

Portland State University has an enrollment of over 25,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The University’s innovative approach to education combines academic rigor in the classroom with field-based experiences through internships and classroom projects with community partners. Portland State’s 47-acre downtown campus exhibits its commitment to sustainable practices, while many of its degree programs incorporate sustainability into the curriculum. PSU’s motto, “Let Knowledge Serve the City,” inspires the teaching and research of an accomplished faculty whose work and students span the globe.

Located in the heart of Oregon’s Silicon Forest, PSU’s Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science is uniquely positioned to deliver progressive engineering and computer science education. By teaming with regional industry and government, faculty members keep the curriculum current and prepare PSU students to make an immediate contribution to the workforce through participation in Senior Capstone design projects, internships and research opportunities. During the 2006-07 academic year, the Maseeh College expects a total enrollment of over 1,800 students in its undergraduate and graduate programs. The Maseeh College consists of five departments: Civil and Environmental Engineering, Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Engineering and Technology Management and Mechanical and Materials Engineering.

Freightliner LLC, headquartered in Portland, Ore., is the leading medium- and heavy-duty truck manufacturer in North America. Freightliner LLC produces and markets Class 3-8 vehicles and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of DaimlerChrysler, the world’s largest commercial vehicle manufacturer.

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Pamela Gesme Miller (503-725-8135)
PSU Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science

Amy J. Sills (503-745-8535)
Freightliner LLC