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Mechanical Engineering - 2019 Senior Design Abstracts

Michael Butler (ME), Juan Villamil (ME), Osmel Abreu Garcia (ECE) and Wesley Kemper (ECE)
GM Electro Mechanical Design Project

Sponsored by General Motors and operating under a confidentiality agreement. The team is multidisciplinary, comprised of mechanical, electrical and computer engineers. The objective is to create test technology to reduce the cost of General Motor’s production. This project required the team to utilize a broad range of engineering principles and multidisciplinary collaboration to provide a system that satisfies the needs of General Motors. Note: This project has a Non-Disclosure Agreement in place.

Team (L to R):
Michael Butler (ME), Juan Villamil (ME), Osmel Abreu Garcia (ECE) and Wesley Kemper (ECE)
Sponsor:
General Motors
Karli Cash, Shadi Bilal, David Miller and Matthew Zawiski
The Detector Baby

Being a parent comes with a tough set of responsibilities. One common and sometimes fatal accident is when a parent forgets to take their child out of the car. In the United States about 37 children die every year in hot cars. The team’s goal is to understand and stop these accidents. 

Our team created The Detector Baby to alert parents if their child is left in the car. The design consists of two devices: an adapted car seat buckle and a key fob. The buckle easily attaches over the original straps of the car seat. When the child is buckled into the car seat, the sensor inside the buckle activates and sends a signal to the key fob so it rings and displays a message to alert the parent. 

A thermistor in the seat belt buckle measures the inside temperature of the car. If the temperature is life-threatening or is increasing quickly, the key fob alerts the parent again. If no action occurs within a certain time period, the device alerts emergency personnel. To prevent death from hot cars, the parent must buckle their child in the car seat and always carry the key fob. The devices stay connected at a reasonable distance and alert parents when connection is fading. In the end, this product aims to keep as many children safe as possible. 

Team (L to R):
Karli Cash, Shadi Bilal, David Miller and Matthew Zawiski
Advisor(s):
Simone Peterson Hruda, Ph.D.
Sponsor:
Innovative Logistics
Tyler Schilf, Kyler Marchetta, Jacob Thomas and Tristan Enriquez
ASME Human-Powered Vehicle

Large vehicles with motors take up space, create pollution and can be costly. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), Human Powered Vehicle Competition (HPVC) encourages engineering students to use skills learned to develop a practical means of transportation without a motor. 

The competition consists of three main events: speed, endurance and design. The speed event requires a vehicle that is fast, can stop in 6 meters at a speed of 15 mph with front brakes and can defend the rider during a collision with a roll protection system (RPS). The RPS must handle a load of 2670 N of force on the top and 1330 N on the side. 

The endurance event requires the vehicle to turn in 8 meters and handle speed bumps and long distances. The design event requires the team use good engineering design practices, provide design analysis and introduce new or innovative ideas. With all of this in mind, the team developed a vehicle that satisfies all competition requirements. 

The vehicle frame was tested for strength using Finite Element Analysis (FEA) which determines if the frame RPS can handle the required loads. The vehicle systems (Steering, Powertrain, Safety, etc.) from concept generation then integrate into the frame as the project progresses. The vehicle features three wheels, a reclined seating position, disc brakes on the front wheels, a multiple gear powertrain and direct steering to the front wheels. We tested the vehicle to ensure all constraints are met including turning radius, braking distance and straight-line stability.

Team (L to R):
Tyler Schilf, Kyler Marchetta, Jacob Thomas and Tristan Enriquez
Advisor(s):
Keith Larson
Sponsor:
Jess Ball
Jonathan Roberts (ME), Jake Kennedy (ME), Alex Erven (ECE), Kevin Lindquist (ECE) and Alexandra Hollabaugh (ME, not pictured)
Virtual Reality Tracking and Realistic Haptic Feedback Gloves

Our project goal was to make a pair of gloves for Lockheed Martin to be used in virtual reality training for an Abrams tank. Active training units are large and costly, so using virtual reality lessens the cost and size of the training space. 

The gloves may be used with the Unity virtual reality game engine and HTC Vive virtual reality unit. The Vive unit consists of a headset to view the virtual world and sensor boxes to track the headset location. The gloves are easy to use, strong, comfortable, washable and can be used with physical controls. 

The overall design has two main units: tracking the gloves and the response given by the gloves. To achieve the tracking, a series of sensors find the hands. This moves through a Vive tracker to the computer to create a copy of the user’s hands in the virtual world. The response unit lets the user know when they touch an object in the virtual space. The response is the result of motors placed on the fingers and palm of the hand. These motors vibrate when the user touches a virtual object to mimic the user’s sense of touch. This vibration lets them know they have touched something in the virtual space, allowing the user to work with virtual controls. The motors and sensors are located on the gloves so they don’t interfere with the user’s touch. This lets the user work with real world controls and virtual controls at the same time. The gloves easily move from person to person to limit down time between switching to a new trainee.

Team (L to R):
Jonathan Roberts (ME), Jake Kennedy (ME), Alex Erven (ECE), Kevin Lindquist (ECE) and Alexandra Hollabaugh (ME, not pictured)
Advisor(s):
Jerris Hooker, Ph.D.
Sponsor:
Lockheed-Martin
Jonathan Cooper, Lorenzo Sanders, James Kiel, Anna Mills and Jad Farran
Air Flow and Cooling of Rocker Panel

MI Metals, Inc., wants to change their current cooling method for a specific aluminum part used on doors. Their cooling approach deforms the metal and increases the number of low-quality parts. Currently, they use air via blowers and water to cool the product from 950°F to 400°F in one minute. The new design must keep the floor dry to prevent workplace hazards. 

The mass of parts produced each hour is a measure of the design productivity. Having fewer defects on each part upholds or increases production standards. Research on properties of this specific metal helps understand why defects occur. 

Knowing the how much heat to remove from cooling the part to meet or improve the current rate of production is important. The work involves supplying the cooling tank with a chiller to make the water colder during the process. 

We used computer software analysis to find the best conditions to cool the part. The calculation assumes a steady state flow where the fluid properties don’t change over time. We used water vapor to reduce splashing onto the floor and then pumped the vapor into a contained tunnel around the conveyor belt. Hoses attach from the water tank underneath to the mist sprinklers in the tunnel box. 

This new cooling method can improve aluminum production in many different industries. Aluminum products without defects last longer and have better quality, allowing manufacturers to increase customer satisfaction and profit.

Team (L to R):
Jonathan Cooper, Lorenzo Sanders, James Kiel, Anna Mills and Jad Farran
Advisor(s):
Fumitake Kametani, Ph.D.
Sponsor:
MI Metals