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Mechanical Engineering

Students applying to this department should indicate "Mechanical Engineering: General," indicating in their statement of interest their skills and background and some faculty with whom they would be interested in working. No specific projects were submitted by faculty in this department. ME Faculty List


Title Name Email Project Name Project Description Requirements
Assoc. Prof. Hector Gomez Computational Modeling of Cavitation Although it is a prevalent phenomenon in engineering and medicine, the flow physics of cavitation is not well understood. We have recently developed a new model for cavitation which is based only on fundamental laws and does not resort to any empirical mass transfer function. Strong mathematical skills, including numerical analysis and partial-differential equations. Knowledge of fluid dynamics.
Assoc. Prof. Liang Pan 3D Printing of Novel Heat Sink In recent years, the interest in additive manufacturing (AM)/3D printing of electronics cooling devices has increased due to its enhanced design freedom relative to conventional manufacturing methodologies. Microchannel heat sinks (MCHS) are liquid cooled heat sinks commonly used in thermal management of high-power electronics and have feature sizes on the order of 10s or 100s of microns. The design freedom brought by AM can be used to generate high-performance MCHSs with complex geometries which can be easily 3D printed. This project focuses on design, 3D printing, and experimental testing of such heat sinks and the potential undergraduate research assistant will be contributing to this effort. By the end of the program the research assistant will be familiar with metal 3D printing, design optimization (size, shape, and topology optimization), and thermal engineering. Have taken the undergraduate heat transfer course. 
Asst. Prof. David Warsinger Nanomaterial Membrane Fabrication  Access to safe and high quality water remains one of the only “grand challenges” whose issues are getting worse, not better. This project works on fabricating nanoengineered membranes via the technique called “inverse opals” for a wide range of applications. This enables incredibly uniform membrane structure that give consistent pore sizes and “photonic crystal” optical properties. We are using these optical properties to to enhance photocatalysis to degrade dangerous pollutants. We are using the consistent pore size to achieve high selectivity for particles, which we are applying to improve HIV and cholera sensors. Beyond photocatalysis and nanofiltration, this fabrication method will also be applied to absorb solar light to improve the efficiency of membrane distillation desalination.

Working in this project, the students will not only get experience in nanofabrication and material characterization, but also help enable the membranes to reach useful applications. Excellent students staying for multiple semesters will have the opportunity for paper coauthorship. Collaborators will include Sasha Boltasseva (ECE) on modeling the photonic properties of the membranes; Chip Blatchley (Civil Engineering) on photocatalysis applications of the membranes; Jackie Linnes (BME) in pathogen sensor applications; and Wally Tyner (Ag Econ) in modeling of water-energy border projects
 •GPA above 3.5
•background in chemistry or material science, especially experience in chemical experiments would be desired
•work well in teams
•students with other background but have strong interest and good at working with hands are also welcome.
Depending on the research progress, the interns might:
•help with the membrane fabrication via sol-gel/opal co-assembly method, anodization method, electrospinning method, and casting method to fabricate silica or titania membrane;
•or help with the associated membrane measurement, including photocatalytic properties, porosity and permeation properties;
•or help with the membrane characterization, using optical microscope, SEM and etc.
• or be involved with technical writing, data processing, analysis, and graphics for publication
Asst. Prof. Carlo Scalo Characterization of Hypersonic Boundary Layer Turbulence  Transitional and turbulent data from numerical simulations at Mach=7.4 over a slender cone will be analyzed. The inherent structural organization of transitional waves will be compared against the first stages of development of boundary layer turbulence. Intermediate knowledge of fluid dynamics, Intermediate/advanced coding skills
Prof. Greg Shaver Automated Off-Highway Machines The project is focused on using advanced perception (Lidar, vision, etc.), connectivity, and control systems too automated crop harvesting operations.   The project is funded by Deere.  Strong academic record, and interest in the application subject matter, and an interest in hands-on application of advanced perception and controls strategies for automated commercial ground vehicles. 
Assoc. Prof. Partha P. Mukherjee Li-ion Battery Thermal Analytics Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries are ubiquitous. Thermal characteristics of these systems are critical toward safer and high-performance batteries for electric vehicles. As part of this research, thermal analysis of heat generation rates under normal and anomalous operating conditions of Li-ion cells will be performed based on a mix of experimental and modeling studies in the lab.

The student will work closely with a senior graduate student researcher who will serve as a peer mentor. 
Undergrads with strong analytical skills and critical thinking ability, preferably from Mechanical, Chemical, or Materials Engineering disciplines are desired.
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