An engineering professor at the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) will study silting and contaminant lock in hydraulic valves using analogies to granular flow. Vincent Prantil, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department, was awarded the university's 2006-07 Otto Maha Faculty Research Fellowship. The fellowship's goal is to advance the state of the art in fluid power and motion control technologies by conducting research that can grow into a sustainable, externally funded program.

Particle contaminants blocking hydraulic flow through valves — or silting — is likely responsible for 70% of hydraulic system failures. In his research, Dr. Prantil hopes to create a tool that predicts how solid particle contaminants inhibit flow through valves. This research will, in turn, help in develop ways to minimize the contaminants' effects.