Etim Ubong doesn't just lecture his students. He makes them get their hands dirty doing research. Then he turns them into authors by letting them co-write his papers.
This year, two students joined the Kettering University mechanical engineering professor to produce an analysis of the role oxygen sensors play in internal combustion engines. Kettering University, in Flint, Mich., is the former General Motors Institute.
Involving his students in research of interest to SAE is one reason Ubong, along with 11 other engineers, was named a recipient of the 1999 Ralph R. Teetor Educational Award. The Teetor award is given yearly by the SAE to engineering educators. The 12 professors will receive their awards during the SAE International Congress and Exposition in Detroit.
One of the papers Ubong and his students wrote, published in the Finnish journal Acta Polytechnica Scandinavica, outlines the role oxygen sensors play in both fuel consumption and emission control. Ubong and his colleagues will deliver the paper at the SAE convention at 2 p.m. on Thursday, March 4.
Ubong found that the single oxygen sensor included on a 1991 3.8-liter Buick V-6 engine is inadequate.
'One sensor does not give an accurate representation of the oxygen content of the exhaust,' Ubong said.
The amount of oxygen in the exhaust indicates what the fuel and air mixture is in the cylinder.
One way to address the problem is by adding another sensor.
'But automakers will not use two sensors, because anything that adds a few cents (to the manufacturing costs) they don't like,' Ubong said.
Other winners of the 1999 Teetor Award are: Sebastian Bawab, Old Dominion University; Bert Bras, Georgia Institute of Technology; Ndaona Chokani, North Carolina State University; Jaal Ghandi, University of Wisconsin; Ellen Lackey, University of Mississippi; James McDaniel, Boston University; Ahmet Selamet, Ohio State University; John Sutherland, Michigan Technological University; Gregory Thompson, West Virginia University; Dale Tree, Brigham Young University; and J. Mitch Wolff, Wright State University.