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  • AETC News


Updated: Aug 27, 2021

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, IL., Jan. 11, 2019 – American Energy Technologies Co. (AETC) is proud to have hosted 5 female interns from Yale University: Lauren Ribordy (Biomedical Engineering B.S., 2019), Stephanie Smelyansky (Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry B.S. and Chemistry B.S., 2019), Michelle Barsukov (Chemical Engineering B.S., 2022), Kelly Farley (Chemistry B.S., 2022), and Schirin Rangnick (Chemical Engineering B.S. and Economics B.S., 2019).

Colored ash impurities remaining after loss of ignition testing of natural crystalline flake graphite from various sources of origin. The newly developed AETC’s ICA program analyzes the RGB color profiles of these impurities to identify them, allowing her to also pinpoint the place of origin of the original ore.

As a woman-owned company, AETC is committed to mentoring young women in STEM. Each intern had opportunities to conduct analytical and material processing of graphite, communicate with clients, and explore research and development.

Lauren Ribordy spent the majority of her time creating innovative computer codes for purposes of fingerprinting graphite raw material to the source of its origin and determining optimal materials for battery casings for submarines. The Image Color Analyzer (ICA) program, developed by Ribordy working as part of a larger team, uses the RGB color profile of ash after loss on ignition testing to determine impurities and fingerprint ore to the place of origin. Besides her work with programming, Ribordy created cost analyses for furnace pilot plant construction and permit documentation for air lines, gas lines, and plumbing. She also worked with chemical reagents to design and implement new form-factored batteries.

Smelyansky (left) and Ribordy (right) perform atomic absorption characterization of trace mineral impurities in graphite samples.

“AETC challenged me to find solutions to open-ended problems and always believed in my abilities, even when I doubted myself,” Ribordy said.

Stephanie Smelyansky has assisted the engineering team at AETC with setting up an innovative analytical method of 4-point resistivity (qualification of conductivity enhancement additives in cathodes of advanced battery systems). Additionally, she mastered the analytical method of atomic absorption spectroscopy to determine ppm and ppb-level impurities in graphitic carbons for value-added applications.

Barsukov tests the effectiveness of a new surfactant for use in the procedure of particle size characterization using Microtrac S3500 laser diffractometer.

Michelle Barsukov has been working with AETC since the summer of 2014. Since then, she has performed a research project on infrared vision obscuration using graphite; 3D modeled, designed, produced, and assessed the quality of novel battery components; and optimized a micro-TIG welding system for nickel parts. In addition to working in the lab, she helps the business aspects of AETC run smoothly, with projects ranging from budgeting for a federal project to developing safety plans that comply with OSHA standards. Barsukov, Ribordy, and Smelyansky all worked together on AETC’s ISO 9001:2008 certification by writing SOPs and QSMPs, training, inventorying, and developing program plans.

“I truly value the opportunity AETC has given me to explore the disciplines of science, engineering, business, and everything in between,” Barsukov said.

Farley removes a deck of screens from the RX-29 Ro-Tap machine to determine the distribution of graphite particle sizes using screen analysis.

Kelly Farley has split her time between bench work and scientific writing. In AETC’s pilot plant, she has focused on sizing and classifying graphite after spheroidization milling; testing products’ tap density, performing screen analysis, and analyzing graphite using advanced analytical methods, such as SEM, laser diffraction, and optical microscopy. Her work with science communications extends to reports for commercial clients of AETC.

“Thanks to AETC, I have been able to see how lab work translates to concrete applications – and how to best express these applications when writing,” Farley said.

Rangnick, working as part of AETC’s engineering team, uses a pulsed arc welder to develop a nanoscale method of welding cathode strips to photo-etched plates employed in the form-factored prismatic lithium batteries for AETC customers.

Schirin Rangnick joined AETC in 2018. Coming from a chemical engineering background, she has focused on working with clients in process engineering roles, such as optimizing product distribution/cost and design of purification plants, and developing PCDs, PFDs, and P&IDs for ongoing internal and commercial projects. Her work has included the development of the method of micro-TIG welding for fabrication of cathode assemblies of new generation form-factored prismatic lithium batteries that is currently used by AETC’s Technology Center.

“I really appreciate that AETC gives junior engineers the opportunity to work on practical long-term projects from day one,” Rangnick said.

These impressive Yalies embody AETC’s commitment to fostering technology and innovation. AETC is honored to be an attractive workplace for students at leading schools, as well as new engineers, from the disciplines of engineering, chemistry, and biology, and is eager to watch these interns continue to innovate at AETC and beyond.



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