Senior Pre-Capstone Teams Build Autonomous Robots

 

This year’s winning robot.

This year’s senior Pre-Capstone teams were tasked with going through an extensive design process to design, build, and test an autonomous robot that could navigate around a predetermined track. This process was designed to mimic a companies design process following the required paperwork, design decisions, CAD, FEA, and ultimately working prototype.

Teams came up with one-off solutions such as 3D printed parts, wireless controlled robots, mechanical steering mechanisms, and an array of custom electrical components. This exercise helped the mechanical engineers broaden their skills and ideas while teaching students how to work through a complicated design process. The winning team as pictured above used a custom cardboard chassis to save on weight and 3D printed guide rails to keep the robot from hanging up on the wall. The team used high torque servo motors as a drive mechanism to maximize the weight they could carry while still remaining relatively fast. The video below shows the second-place team’s mechanical approach that used Legos and motors to quickly move around the track while rubbing against the wall. This team focused on using a simple solution to accomplish the same goal and minimizing design time.

All of the teams did well implementing several different design philosophies to highlight the importance of diverse ideas in engineering.

Below are the robots from other teams.

 

 

Boomer Rocket Team and Sooner Off-Road Begin Their Thousands Strong Campaigns!

This month, Boomer Rocket Team and Sooner Off-Road kicked off their Thousands Strong Campaigns! These student teams want your support to help them get to competition.

Sooner Off-Road is a student team that designs, manufactures, and races an off-road vehicle for the Baja SAE competition. They are hoping to raise $7,000 before their Thousands Strong campaign ends on December 5, 2020, at 11:55 p.m. The money donated to them will go towards the construction of the vehicle, software used for design, and travel expenses. As of today, they have reached 53% of their goal, and they could use your help! Donate to Sooner Off-Road by visiting their Thousands Strong website: https://thousandsstrong.ou.edu/project/22820

Boomer Rocket Team is a group of multidisciplinary engineering students dedicated to the design, construction, and launch of high powered rockets. BRT hopes to raise $3,000 before their Thousands Strong campaign ends on December 11, 2020, at 11:55 p.m. The money they receive will be used to purchase materials and send students to the Argonia Cup in Kansas. So far, they have reached 54% of their goal, and they need your help! Visit BRT’s Thousands Strong website to donate: https://thousandsstrong.ou.edu/project/22934

Thank you for your support!

Highlighting Dr. Guloglu

Dr. Gorkem Guloglu earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in aerospace engineering from the University of Oklahoma. He has spent most of his time here researching composite materials with Dr. M. Cengiz Altan. Now, Dr. Guloglu teaches students at the very university from which he earned his degrees.

Before coming to OU, Dr. Guloglu knew that he wanted to come to the United States and work with a great professor. He was fascinated with Dr. Altan, who he says is “famous in composite materials.” Once Dr. Guloglu got here, he “really loved OU because the campus is amazing, the people are amazing, and the research facilities have everything.” He said, “we have the freedom to do anything.”

As a master’s and Ph.D. student, Dr. Guloglu worked with two different types of materials which he combined to get the best advantages. In Dr. Altan’s lab he “worked with polymer and ceramic composites to create a different material.” By manufacturing, characterizing, and evolving the materials, he worked to “create a more strong and resilient material without compromising the weight.”

Currently, he lectures on Statics and Space Sciences & Astrodynamics. His favorite thing about OU is the community. He said he has never seen such dedication from students and faculty to a university anywhere else in the world. Although he’s not working in research right now, he continues to write articles about his past work. In the future, he hopes to do research and teach in Turkey as a faculty member at a prestigious university.

Dr. Guloglu’s passion is research because he loves the “independence of [it]. Contributing to science is what excites [him].” He wants to work with different types of polymers and different aspects of improving the polymer system like electrical applications and battery applications. He says, “the current battery technologies aren’t good enough. We need better technologies in battery and composite materials. [He’s] hoping to find a good technology to improve electric cars.”

If a student is curious about research and wants to improve technology and humanity, Dr. Guloglu believes a Ph.D. program is right for them. He said, “It’s a great opportunity. At OU, we have all the technologies, and we have great professors so they can do almost anything. There’s no limit.”

Research in Flexible Sensors

In Spring 2020, AME granted several Undergraduate Research Opportunity Awards (UROA) to faculty and undergraduate students. Dr. Yingtao Liu and his student, Vincent Webster, received one of these awards, which Phillips 66 sponsored.  Vincent is a senior in aerospace engineering.  About his research, Vincent writes:

My research consisted of developing flexible sensors used in several applications including human motion detection, sensor arrays, soft robotics, biomechanics, structural health monitoring, and prosthetic devices. These sensors measure the force applied to them using a technique called piezoresistivity. Piezoresistivity is characterized as the change in electrical resistance of the material due to an applied deformation. Highly flexible piezoresistive sensors typically decrease their electrical resistance during an applied load. The decrease in resistance occurs due to the variation of microstructures and properties of the materials under loads. To fabricate these sensors, flexible PDMS polymer, was used as the bulk material of the sensor. Carbon nanotubes were uniformly dispersed within the polymer to form the electrical conductive network microstructures. Sugar particles were then added during the fabrication process to create a mixture of carbon nanotube, PDMS, and sugar combination. The sample is then submerged in water to ideally release all the sugar from the sample. The traditional sugar removal method using water can take days to completely remove all the sugar particles. To reduce this extraction time, we would submerge the samples in water and microwave them. This would rapidly increase the temperature of the samples within a minute and the samples would expand and allow water to saturate the sample, leading to the rapid removal of all sugar particles and forming desired open-cell microstructures.

This research built a solid foundation for the rapid manufacturing of piezoresistive polymer foams for broad sensing applications. Our preliminary results have demonstrated that the developed method is able to effectively control materials’ microstructures, enhance carbon nanotube dispersions, and optimize their sensing function. Collaborating with Dr. Liu’s graduate student, Blake Herren, has motivated me to pursue graduate study at OU. Many thanks to the generous support of AME and Phillips 66.

Great job, Vincent!

Research in Ultra-High Thermal Conductivity

Dr. Jivtesh Garg and his graduate students are exploring a new class of ultra-hard boron-carbide materials such as BC2N and BC5 for ultra-high thermal conductivity values. Their goal is to achieve thermal conductivity values higher than diamond and graphene (> 5000 W/mK).

They are using quantum-mechanical calculations based on density-functional theory to predict thermal transport properties. Simultaneously the group is using laser-based frequency-domain thermoreflectance measurements (FDTR) to experimentally measure these high thermal conductivity values. Ph.D. students Rajmohan Muthaiah, Avinash Nayal, and Roshan Annam are conducting this research.

The group has also developed advanced functionalization schemes to more efficiently couple graphene with polymers for thermal transport applications. Graphene is a wonder material with extraordinary thermal, mechanical, and electrical properties. By efficiently coupling graphene with polymer, a large enhancement in properties can be achieved. Initial experimental results suggest dramatic improvement in the thermal conductivity of polymers such as polyetherimide. Developed functionalization schemes are being applied to a wide range of polymers. Ph.D. students Fatema Tarannum and Swapneel Danayat are involved in this research.

They are further exploring non-equilibrium phonon effects for the design of high-efficiency hot carrier solar cells and thermoelectric materials. Electrons in solar cells thermalize through interactions with lattice vibrations (phonons). By engineering non-equilibrium phonon effects to generate hot phonons, the thermalization of electrons can be inhibited, thereby enhancing solar cell efficiency. Non-equilibrium phonon effects also enhance the efficiency of thermoelectrics by mitigating heat loss through lattice vibrations.  Fundamental first-principles techniques coupled with Monte-Carlo simulations are being used to study non-equilibrium phonon effects.

Through advanced simulations and state-of-the-art experimental measurements, the group aims to develop the next generation of advanced composite materials for thermal management and energy conversion applications and is a world leader in thermal management technologies.

 

Using EEG to Understand Engineering Creativity

Tess Hartog, Md Tanvir Ahad, and Amin Alhashim are working together to explore the uses of electroencephalogram (EEG) to understand neuro-responses as they pertain to creativity in engineering. They are working under Dr. Zahed Siddique; Tess Hartog is an ME MS student with a background in math and psychology, Tanvir is an ME Ph.D. student with a background in EE, and Amin is an ISE Ph.D. student. Megan Marshall was a former fellow who graduated with her MS in AE in the summer of 2020.

The main objective of the research is to study creativity in engineering by gaining a deep understanding of how creative thoughts form and how the brain responds to different levels of creative products.  The students are currently utilizing EEG to capture the neurological behaviors and responses when conducting research.

Graduate Students

Amin’s work focuses on three areas: creativity definitions, creativity models, and the effect of cues on creativity.  Through text analysis techniques, Amin is analyzing a corpus of creativity definitions extracted from literature to understand how creativity is being perceived by engineers and non-engineers.  There are many models for creativity and Amin is working on a classification scheme based on their similarity.  Such classification is important for the advancement of creativity research as evident in the history of sciences. Amin’s last area of focus is on the effect of cues on creative behavior and its relationship with how the brain behaves through the use of EEG.

 

Tess’s work focuses on a subset of EEG recording called event-related potentials (ERPs), which are time-locked neural responses to stimuli. Specifically, she investigates the ERPs (the N400response) of engineers to creative stimuli. Tess is also working on analyzing the EEG recordings of engineers during engineering design-related problems and examining whether exposure to creative stimuli will improve designs. Below are some of her preliminary ERP findings. As indicated in the pictures, she looks for differences in negative wave amplitudes for three types of stimuli around 400 milliseconds post-stimulus presentation (i.e. the N400).

 

Defining creativity is hard but the measurement of creativity is even harder. To capture the multifaceted nature of creativity; more than a hundred measurement techniques have been developed and applied including neurocognitive approaches. The brain’s neural dynamics related to creativity should be accounted to quantify the relationship between the brain regions. During divergent thinking, EEG studies aid temporal dynamics of the neuronal activations underlying cognitive insight. In order to solve real-world problems, creativity is a must for engineers. Engineers’ involvement with creative tasks; activate brain regions corresponding to the task’s demand. Identifying the significant brain temporal regions engaged with the creative tasks for engineers is a crucial question. Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) which are based on event-related potentials (ERPs) have the potential ability to estimate a user’s task involvement. Therefore, the question comes: Is the creativity (neural activity) of engineers detected by ERP-Based Brain-Computer Interfaces task-specific? Tanvir’s research work focuses on addressing these questions in the Neurocognitive creativity research domain.

AME Faculty Profiles

We have amazing professors here at AME who love teaching and working with our students. This week, get to know these seven outstanding faculty members. 

Dr. Chung-Hao Lee

Dr. Lee’s research interests include Cardiovascular Biomechanics and Multiscale Computational Modeling. He teaches Solid Mechanics, Numerical Methods, Solid Mechanics Lab, and Biomechanics, and his favorite class in college was Finite Element Methods. In Dr. Lee’s free time, he enjoys watching TV and sports! Dr. Lee’s favorite thing about OU is working with students from various disciplines and his advice to students is to pay attention to the details and read instructions carefully.

Dr. Zahed Siddique

Dr. Siddique’s research interests include Engineering Education, Oil and Gas Component Characterization, Neuro-Responses to Creativity, and Product and Process Design. He teaches Principles of Design and Design Practicum. In college, he enjoyed programming courses. In Dr. Siddique’s free time, he likes to watch movies. His favorite thing about OU is working with students on projects involving design, manufacturing, and testing. Dr. Siddique recommends that students collaborate and cooperate with integrity.

 

Dr. Farrokh Mistree

Dr. Mistree is interested in defining the emerging frontier for the “intelligent” decision-based realization of complex (cyber-physical-social) systems when the computational models are incomplete and inaccurate. Applications: Healthcare, Rural Development (people living in extreme poverty), Education. He teaches Preparing for a Life in Academia, Designing for Open Innovation, Principles of Engineering Design, and Design Practicum (Capstone). In college, his favorite course was Architecture and Town Planning of Ancient Rome. His passion is to engage in activities that provide an opportunity for highly motivated and talented people (around the world) to learn how to define and achieve their dreams. Dr. Mistree’s favorite thing about OU is the flexibility proffered in the graduate curriculum.

His is advice to graduate students is that it doesn’t matter what topic you study; the details are going to be out of date pretty soon. What matters is what you learn by reflecting on what you do in your thesis/dissertation. Find a mentor who is keen to invest in educating (not just training) you. His advice to undergraduate students is that graduate education is typically free in the US for students who wish to pursue a graduate degree. Take at least one course that exposes you to research and then think deeply about pursuing a graduate degree. Plan on developing non-technical competencies for careers post-graduation. Dr. Mistree says, “Talk to me about graduate education.”

Dr. Chris Dalton

Dr. Dalton’s research interests are in STEM Outreach and he teaches Thermodynamics, Heat Transfer, IC Engines Lab, Capstone, Design of Thermal/Fluid Systems, Solid Mechanics, and Freshman Engineering Experience. In college, his favorite class was Physics 1. He had an excellent professor that made the class very interactive and engaging. He uses structures from that class in his classes to this day. In his free time, he is a big sports fan. He follows the Sooners, the OKC Thunder, the Kansas City Chiefs, and the Atlanta Braves. He also enjoys going to the movies. As an alumnus of OU, his favorite thing about OU is getting to share past experiences with students and see how their experiences are similar and different from his. Dr. Dalton’s advice to students is to find activities to get involved in outside the classroom, like student organizations or research. Employers want to see a well-rounded student, not just an academically strong one.

Dr. Feng C. Lai

 

Dr. Feng C. Lai

Dr. Lai’s research interests include Heat Transfer, Enhanced Heat Transfer Using Electrical Field, Electrohydrodynamics, and Heat Transfer in Porous Media. He teaches Principles of Heat Transfer, Design of Thermal and Fluid Systems, Heat Transfer, and Thermodynamics, and his favorite course in college was Thermodynamics. In his free time, Dr. Lai enjoys traveling, watching movies, and listening to classical music. His favorite thing about OU is its good balance between academic and athletic programs. Dr. Lai’s advice for students is to balance their work and play.

 

 

Dr. David P. Miller

Dr. Miller’s research interests are Assistive technology, robot planning, robotics for STEM Education, localization, and planetary surface exploration. He teaches Programming, space science, and robotics, and his favorite course in college was Works of Mark Twain. In Dr. Miller’s free time, he enjoys reading and saltwater aquariums. His favorite thing about OU is Opera and his advice to students is to talk to users.

 

 

Dr. Pejman Kazempoor

Dr. Kazempoor’s research interests are Carbon Capture and Utilization, Sustainable Energy, Environmental Management, Energy Storage, and Electrochemical Energy Systems (Fuel Cells). He teaches Fluid Mechanics; Modeling and Simulation of Energy Systems. His favorite course from college was Advanced Fluid Mechanics and Thermodynamics. In his free time, he enjoys playing music. Dr. Kazempoor’s favorite thing about OU is its Diversity and Inclusion. His advice to students is that success is a process.

Applications are Open for the NASA JSC Pathways Program

 

The NASA JSC Pathways Program applications open today, September 14, 2020, and Abigail Moore, an AME student in the Pathways Program, wants to encourage other students to apply.

“I can’t recommend it enough to other OU engineering students,” Moore said. “I’ve met some of my best friends, learned things years ahead of my classes, and worked on things that will go to space before I graduate!”

“NASA is looking for well-rounded students who are self-motivated, passionate and want to join our ranks as we lead human space exploration. This position provides students with the opportunity to explore NASA careers and gain meaningful developmental work experience. The Pathways internship employment program is a co-op program where students rotate semesters between school and interning at Johnson Space Center working on projects from designing spacesuit helmets to teaching astronaut training classes to destructive battery testing. The Pathways program also provides the best path to a full-time job with the agency as a civil servant upon graduation,” Moore said.

Announcements are posted to www.usajobs.gov on 9/14/20 and will stay open for 1-2 days. Students can prepare to apply by developing a profile in USAJobs ahead of time, building their resume, and creating a notification for NASA Pathways Intern opportunities that will alert them when the announcements open. If anyone has any questions, they can visit the website or contact Abigail Moore directly at abbeymoore@ou.edu

How to Prepare

1. Go to USAJOBS.GOV to create an account. Click on ‘create a login.gov account’ in the orange box and follow the prompts. Once you have created your account on login.gov, click ‘continue’ to log back into USAJOBs.

2. Create a profile. Before you can apply, you will need to complete your profile. Select ‘Complete Profile.’

3. Build your Resume: After you complete your profile, you can build your resume.  It is key that you do this before the announcement comes out.

4. Set up a Job Alert: Create an alert through the “saved search” function. Saved searches will automatically search for jobs based on your search criteria and email you when there are new jobs available. Pathways announcements are listed as “Student Trainee” roles.

5. Once you have set up your alert, you will be notified when Pathways vacancies open. Once you find an opportunity, follow the instructions in the “How to Apply” section of the announcement.

One important note: Each job announcement will be considered closed at 10:59 p.m. CST on either the date that a specific number of applications are received or on 9/16/20, whichever occurs first.

You can find more info on the program, including qualifications, here: https://pathways.jsc.nasa.gov/

Dr. Lee Receives University Distinguished Teaching Award

Dr. Chung-Hao Lee was selected to receive the University Distinguished Teaching Award in this year’s Norman Campus Faculty Tribute Awards! The following passage was written by the University:

Since joining the School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering in 2016, assistant professor Chung-Hao Lee has established an independent, multidisciplinary research program with a focus on experimental and computational biomechanics that has rapidly grown into one of the largest biomedical research groups within the Gallogly College of Engineering.

In the first three years of his tenure track, Lee has taught a wide variety of AME courses at the undergraduate level and has also developed innovative course materials by integrating his expertise in mechanics and cutting-edge research technology.

Lee has been recognized by his colleagues for his strong passion for student mentoring. Students engaged in undergraduate research projects under his guidance have demonstrated academic excellence through receipt of numerous awards, including the Grand Prize Award at Oklahoma Research Day at the Capitol and the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship.

Congratulations Dr. Lee for receiving this well-deserved award!

AME Graduate Student Award Winners Announced!

This month, AME announced the graduate students who will be receiving scholarships and fellowships for their hard work during the 2019-2020 school year. Graduate students recognized include:

Marathon Oil Scholarship:

Adam Flenniken

 

John E. Francis Scholarship:

Roshan Annam

Hootan Rahimi

 

Jim and Bee Close Scholarship:

Mohammad Abshirini

Alfredo Becerril Corral

Emmanuel Hakizimana

Anirban Mondal

Mohammad Naghashnejad

Fatema Tarannum

 

Frank Chuck Mechanical Engineering Scholarship:

Parisa Marashizadeh

 

W. Thomas Milam, Sr., Endowed Fellowship:

Tess Hartog

Blake Herren

 

Congratulations to these outstanding students for their achievements!