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Mechanical Engineering - 2019 Senior Design Abstracts

Kylie Halbert, Kevin Nicholas, Ebony Luster and Dominic Balistreri
Assisting Paraplegics while SCUBA Diving

Currently, there are no products on the market to help paraplegics SCUBA dive on their own. While in the water, disabled divers rely solely on their arms and core control to keep their body in its desired orientation, forcing them to work harder and use oxygen more quickly than divers with full mobility. This results in reduced dive time. In addition, there are unique dangers to paralyzed SCUBA divers, including injuries to their extremities (of which they are often unaware) and visibility issues. What’s more, paraplegics need help getting in and out of their wetsuit.  Our goal was to design a product that helps paraplegics keep their diving orientation, allows them to dress themselves and keeps their legs from dragging. 

 Our design consists of a custom wetsuit that includes an adjustable float, added zippers and a sewn section that joins the legs together in the center. The adjustable float allows the diver to adjust their body position in the water. The added leg zippers help the diver dress independently while joining the legs together helps the diver control their legs as one unit. This product will allow divers with paralysis to enjoy all the freedom SCUBA diving has to offer.

Team (L to R):
Kylie Halbert, Kevin Nicholas, Ebony Luster and Dominic Balistreri
Advisor(s):
Michael Devine, Ph.D. and Shayne McConomy, Ph.D.
Sponsor:
FAMU-FSU Engineering
Fernando Quiroz (ECE), Christopher Reis (ECE), Antonio Goodman (ME) and Benjamin Walker (ME)
High-Temperature Superconductivity Coils

The High Temperature Superconductivity (HTS) Coils project proposed by sponsor Ernesto Bosque, Ph.D. of the Applied Superconductivity Center (ASC) focuses on the delivery of electricity to new electromagnets he and his colleagues have developed. By inserting one magnet into another, magnetic fields combine making the magnet stronger. We created an improved electrical current lead that powers the smaller magnets inserted into larger magnets. 

These ASC test magnets require temperatures far below room temperature to work (-267 °C), so liquid helium is used as a coolant. The limitations of available current leads have to do with the effect (heat) of current passing through anything. There are two sources of heat: the electrical resistance of the material and the heat of the surrounding test environment. These heat sources cause the liquid helium to evaporate. To improve the efficiency of the magnet testing, the current lead needed to be redesigned. 

To overcome the heat problems, the team used material science, thermal fluid sciences and a more efficient mechanical configuration than currently used. The goal was to design a current lead that provides 1000 amps while losing no more than four watts of heat, providing enough electricity through the current lead to power the magnet and reduce liquid helium evaporation.

Team (L to R):
Fernando Quiroz (ECE), Christopher Reis (ECE), Antonio Goodman (ME) and Benjamin Walker (ME)
Project Website:
Advisor(s):
Lance Cooley, Ph.D.
Sponsor:
Applied Superconductivity Center
James Quattrocchi (ECE), Micaela Martinez (ECE), Zachary Barnes (ME), Eric Smith (ME) and Arturo San Segundo (ME)
Psyche Mission: Xenon Flow Controller

NASA Psyche is a space exploration mission that will study an asteroid, collecting data during a series of orbits. The spacecraft will reach and orbit the asteroid using a Hall-Effect Thruster (HET), which generates power by ionizing xenon gas. The thrust depends, in part, on the xenon gas supplied to both the anode and cathode of the HET. Therefore, a Xenon Flow Controller (XFC) is needed to precisely control xenon flow rates entering the thruster. 

The main goal of this project was to design, build and test a flow controller that supplies the spacecraft with the fuel necessary to complete the mission. 

High-pressure containers aboard the spacecraft are used to store the gas. The first stage of the XFC will regulate the pressure down to workable levels using a ball valve for pressure control. The XFC has two outlets connected to the anode and cathode of the thruster. Two proportional flow control valves precisely control the mass flow entering the anode and cathode. Sensors record flow properties at two important locations within the XFC. The XFC uses the flow diagnostic data to correct any deviation from target flow rates. Solar panels aboard the spacecraft supply the XFC with power at a standard value, which is then regulated to meet the needs of components. The XFC prototype housing will incorporate insulation layers to protect from the environment of space.

Team (L to R):
James Quattrocchi (ECE), Micaela Martinez (ECE), Zachary Barnes (ME), Eric Smith (ME) and Arturo San Segundo (ME)
Project Website:
Advisor(s):
Shayne McConomy, Ph.D.
Sponsor:
Arizona State University/NASA - Marshall Space Flight Center
James Quattrocchi (ECE), Micaela Martinez (ECE), Zachary Barnes (ME), Eric Smith (ME) and Arturo San Segundo (ME)
FAMU-FSU College of Engineering Noise Study

The FAMU-FSU College of Engineering is home to research, teaching and students studying on the campus. Due to the large flow of people through the campus, the building can get noisy, potentially distracting students who want to focus. Our sponsors, who are recent alumni, found it hard to concentrate at the school. This led to their interest in doing something about the noise level. Our mission became to design solutions to lower unwanted noise to improve student life and the overall campus environment. 

Student surveys show that trash collection is a major distraction to the environment around all the common areas of study. Specifically, the vibration through the wheels of trash bins when they roll over the tile produce a loud noise that can be heard throughout the building. Students avoid the common areas of the college because of this noise. We worked to lower these vibrations—and stop the noise at the source—by redesigning the current trash bin. 

In addition, the current routes that janitorial staff take to clear waste from stationary cans are inefficient. To fix this, we built a sensor to measure trash levels in the stationary cans around the building and designed an alert to be sent to a central hub letting cleaning staff know that the trash needs to be changed. This reduces the needed cleaning staff traffic with the noisy trash bin and thus lowers the noise from the process. These two solutions work together to provide fewer distractions and improve the trash collection process.

Team (L to R):
James Quattrocchi (ECE), Micaela Martinez (ECE), Zachary Barnes (ME), Eric Smith (ME) and Arturo San Segundo (ME)
Project Website:
Advisor(s):
Carl Moore, Ph.D.
Sponsor:
Connor Blanco & Luis Connor
Michael Small, William Abraira, Vincent Grimes, Robert Montuoro and Joseph Godio
Examination of Occupant and Vehicle Responses to Low-Speed Rear-End Crashes

Partnered with Cummings Scientific, our project is to further the knowledge of low speed rear impact collisions. To complete this, we looked at the relation of the impact forces and injuries of the occupant. At speeds less than 7 mph, a bumper is designed to hold its shape instead of crumbling as in high-speed collisions. Without bumper deformation, the passenger feels more of the forces that are not absorbed by the bumper. 

The main goals of the project were to make a model that shows the forces felt by a passenger for a range of low speed collisions and to find a relationship between the driver and car during crash events. From live crash testing, we made a model showing the responses in these collisions. We measured the movements of both the car and the passenger and, with the data interpreted in a computer program, we identified the forces experienced during a collision. 

This project investigated the effect of bumper structure with repeated testing to explore how our results compared with other known data. After testing, data was analyzed via software to determine the forces applied to the vehicles. We also investigated how the human body responded, focusing on whiplash since it is a major physical injury resulting from crashes. With the data we created an equation that states the forces experienced by car passengers during these collisions. The results of this project can be used by medical experts and expert witnesses to support claims that the forces experienced could cause whiplash.

Team (L to R):
Michael Small, William Abraira, Vincent Grimes, Robert Montuoro and Joseph Godio
Project Website:
Advisor(s):
Shayne McConomy, Ph.D.
Sponsor:
Cummings Scientific, LLC