Engineering GSC 2016 Poster Fair

AME-GSC-poster-fairPlease join AME in thanking the following graduate students and their mentors for participating in the Engineering Graduate Student Community 2016 Poster Fair organized by the GCOE on November 11, 2016. Of the 24 entries, five were from AME:


  1. Arun Balakrishnan: Effect of Fuel Aromatic Content on NOx Emission from Petro/Biodiesel Flames.  Mentors:  Gollahalli and Parthasarathy
  2. Tom Boone.  Operational Losses in Space Launch.  Mentor:  Miller
  3. Flavio Ivan Moreno: Combustion and Emission Characteristics of Three Component Fuel Blends in a Porous Media Burner.  Mentor:  Parthasarathy
  4. Anand Balu Nellippallil: A Goal-Oriented, Sequential Design Method for the Horizontal Integration of a Multi-Stage Hot Rod Rolling System.  Mentors:  Allen (ISE) and Mistree
  5. Dana Saeed: Robust Stimulation Method in Eagle Ford Shale.  Mentors: Pournik (PGE), Siddique and Mistree

Congratulations to Anand Balu Nellippallil for receiving the top award!


Student Spotlight: Robert Kunkel

AME-robert-kunkel-blog-2AME undergraduate student, Robert Kunkel, represented OU in Washington, DC at NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center and at ANSER.  Mr. Kunkel entered the AME program as a National Merit Scholar and is in his 3rd year of Mechanical Engineering with 18 additional hours for a pre-med emphasis and in the Honors College.

“I wasn’t sure how demanding the internship would turn out to be, but my experiences at OU, both in the classroom and in the practice facility made me confident that I was prepared to handle anything that I encountered,” said Mr. Kunkel.

He applied for the internship at NASA at the OU Job Fair.  In the interview process, he was so highly regarded that they gave him 2 projects instead of one.  He worked with the NASA NIAC team (NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts) at Goddard for a project analyzing all project proposal submissions from 2011-2015. The executives at NASA will use the data from his project for future planning and funding for their programs.

For Mr. Kunkel’s second project, he was loaned to ANSER, a high-level Washington think tank. He was the only NASA intern that did this. His project was to work with a well-respected and published researcher on radiation, Dr. Ron Turner, to research Mitigating radiation on long-term astronauts by sheltering in lunar lava tubes. He is also cited as a co-author on this paper that will be published and presented at a conference in 2017.

He achieved his security clearance for this work and socialized with some of the top scientists in the country as they came to Washington for the NIAC events.  He also has personally read all NIAC proposals submitted by them since 2011.  At the conclusion of the internship, NASA had a ‘Poster Day’ where all the interns display the results of their work over the summer.


In the future, Mr. Kunkel wants to work in research and development or possibly explore the private sector. He will pursue a master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and is interested in biomedical engineering as an emphasis.

New Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Chung-Hao Lee

chung-hao-lee-bioDr. Chung-Hao Lee was an ICES/AHA postdoctoral fellow in the Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences (ICES) at the University of  Texas at Austin. Since 2012, he worked with Professor Michael Sacks on heart valve biomechanics. Previously, he graduated with a B.S. and M.S. degree in Civil Engineering from National Taiwan University in Taipei, Taiwan in 2003 and 2005, respectively, and a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering (Major in Structural & Computational Mechanics) from UCLA in 2011, working with Professor J.S. Chen on his dissertation on Atomistic to Continuum Modeling of DNA Molecules.

Dr. Lee’s research interests revolve around image-based computational biomechanics, tissue mechanical and microstructural quantifications, structure- based constitutive models for biological tissues, and multiscale materials modeling, with a primary focus on improving patient-specific healthcare of cardiovascular diseases by integrating essential biomechanical processes across molecular, cellular, tissue and organ scales.

He is excited for the new research opportunities at OU, “I am looking forward to collaborating with the colleagues in the School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering and the Gallogly College of Engineering at OU. Collaborative research across disciplines will bring together engineers like me and surgeons and clinicians to facilitate health-related biomedical research.”

Guest Lecture: Design of Active Composites for 4D Printing Applications with Dr. H. Jerry Qi


AME hosted a guest lecture given by Dr. H. Jerry Qui on Monday, October 24, 2016. Dr. Qi presented his research regarding the design of active composites for 4D printing applications.

Recent advances in multimaterial 3D printing allow the precise placement of multiple materials at micrometer resolution with essentially no restrictions on the geometric complexity of the spatial arrangement. Complex 3D solids thus can be created with highly non-regular material distributions in an optimal fashion, enabling the fabrication of devices with unprecedented multifunctional performance. This also enables the emerging concept of 4D printing.

In his talk, Dr. Qi started with the concept of 4D printing, where he prints a composite in a relatively simple shape; after printing and some thermomechanical programming, the composite can change its shape as a function of time, the 4th dimension of the shape forming process. He further showed different designs to achieve the shape change, such as printed active composites and direct printing shape memory materials. To further enhance the functionality of the 4D printing, Dr. Qi explored the printing of conductive wires that can be used either for electric signal transfer or as heating elements. He investigated how different curing methods of the conductive ink can affect the electric properties as a function of strain.


Based on the knowledge learned, Dr. Qi can fabricate a stretchable electronic device in a sequential process. He demonstrated a stretchable LED circuit, a heating element for shape memory polymers, and a sensor to detect shape change. This method provides the opportunity to print complex 3D stretchable electronics, which will be integrated with 4D printing for topology transferring devices. Finally, Dr. Qi discussed the challenge and future directions for 4D printing.

Bio: Dr. H. Jerry Qi is Professor and the Woodruff Faculty Fellow in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology. He received his bachelor degrees and graduate degree from Tsinghua University and a ScD degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After one year postdoc at MIT, he joined the University of Colorado Boulder as an assistant professor in 2004, and was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 2010. He joined Georgia Tech in 2014 and was promoted to a full professor in 2016.

Prof. Qi’s research is in the broad field of nonlinear mechanics of soft materials and focuses on developing a fundamental understanding of multi-field properties of soft active materials through experimentation and constitutive modeling then applying these understandings to application designs. He and his collaborators have been working on a range of soft active materials, including shape memory polymers, shape memory elastomeric composites, light activated polymers, covalent adaptable network polymers, for their interesting behaviors such as shape memory, light actuation, surface patterning, surface welding, healing, and reprocessing. Recently, he and his collaborators pioneered the 4D printing concept. Prof. Qi is a recipient of NSF CAREER award (2007). He is a member of Board of Directors for the Society of Engineering Science. In 2015, he was elected to an ASME Fellow.

Space Robotics Class takes Flight

David Miller’s Space Robotics Class recently tested their balloon flight. Most high altitude balloons spin uncontrollably. This project used two wings to control the yaw of the payload.

The camera pointed in a fixed direction for two minutes. It would then spin clockwise for 15 seconds, stabilize again for 2 minutes, and then spin counterclockwise for 15 seconds. This repeated for the 200 minute ascent. The balloon popped at about 90,000 feet and the payload returned using a one meter parachute. Yaw control terminated when the payload had dropped 10,000 feet below the max altitude. The payload also contained, pressure, temperature, humidity and UV sensors. The camera looked at the squeeze toy and art model of an astronaut helmet in the foreground. Most of the ascent is shown at 20 times the original speed. Stability can be observed by seeing the sun highlights in the eyes. They are steady for about six seconds, and then spin clockwise or counterclockwise for one second (15 seconds in real-time) as the payload does a spin. The highlights hold steady for another six seconds.

Pi Tau Sigma Honor Society Initiates New Members

Pi Tau Sigma 4-14-16On April 14, 2016, Pi Tau Sigma National Mechanical Engineering Honor Society held its 2016 Initiation Ceremony. Devin Laurence, Kirsten Perry, Courtney Baukal, Taewoong Kim, Brian Flin, Lindsey Cox and Alana Harris are the seven newly initiated members. In addition to the initiation ceremony, Pi Tau Sigma also elected the 2016-2017 executive officers as follows, Miles Burnett, President; Alexis Heuangsayaseng, Vice-President; Kirsten Perry, Treasurer; and Lindsey Cox, Secretary.

Meet the 2016-2017 Officers:

Miles Burnett is a junior from Diamondhead, Mississippi. He is a National Merit Scholar and also works as a Student Manager for the University of Oklahoma Track and Field program. He is a second year member of Pi Tau Sigma, serving as Treasurer for the 2015-2016 school year.

Alexis Heuangsayaseng is currently double majoring in mechanical engineering and mathematics and minoring in economics. In addition to becoming an engineer, Alexis plans to obtain her teaching certification in mathematics. Alexis is a transfer student from the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) in Edmond. During her time at UCO, she was on the Dean and President’s Honor Rolls. She was also on the University of Oklahoma Gallogly College of Engineering Dean’s Honor Roll for the Fall 2015 semester.

Kirsten Perry is a junior double major in mechanical engineering and mathematics. She is working at her third internship with Shell Exploration and Production Company this summer in Houston on a multi-disciplinary team focused on onshore unconventional completions. She has performed academic research in mechanical, industrial and systems engineering. Additionally, she was Historian of Engineers’ Club this past year.

Lindsey Cox is junior majoring in mechanical engineering. This summer she will complete her third co-op term with American Airlines in Fort Worth. She is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and the Society of Mechanical Engineers. She was a member of Omega Phi Alpha, National Service Sorority for two years before transferring to OU and is now an active alumna. Lindsey is a recipient of the Transfer Award of Excellence Scholarship.

Pi Tau Sigma is a National Mechanical Engineering Honor Society. Members are selected on a basis of sound engineering ability, scholarship (upper 35%), personality and probable future success in their chosen field of mechanical engineering. There are three grades of membership: honorary, graduate and active. Honorary members are technical graduates who are actively engaged in engineering work or mechanical engineering faculty members. Graduate membership is designated for those continuing their education through graduate studies. Active members are selected from the junior and senior mechanical engineering classes at their respective universities whose mechanical engineering curriculum must be accredited by the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology.

AME Undergraduates Receive UROP Support

Two teams of mechanical engineering seniors recently received financial support from the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) funded through the Office of the Vice President of Research. AME students Mckenna Beard and Tyler Spencer worked together on one project; Robert Berryman and Austin Burrus teamed up for the other project. With the support from UROP, the two teams received research grants of $1,000 each for creative, hands-on projects under the mentorship of a faculty member. Dr. Kuang-Hua Chang, AME Professor, mentored both teams while Jawanza Bassue, AME graduate student, mentored as a design consultant.

Both of the teams had similar objectives: to design a green-energy tricycle that will appeal to commuters at a sale price of $2,000. For Beard and Spencer, their ultimate goal was to create a vehicle that would allow an individual to travel more than 40 miles on a single battery charge without exerting excessive energy. As for Berryman and Burrus, their goal was to improve frame integrity through analysis and lab testing while also reducing the cost of building the frame.

Every year, UROP recipients present the results of their research or accounts of their work in progress at the Honors College’s Undergraduate Research Day. The AME teams presented their research at the annual event on Saturday, April 2, 2016.

Tyler Spencer and Mckenna Beard

Tyler Spencer and Mckenna Beard

Robert Berryman and Austin Burrus

Robert Berryman and Austin Burrus

Mechanical Engineering Pre-Capstone: Project POP

The mechanical engineering capstone students were recently given a task to complete as their pre-capstone project titled Project POP. For this project, students teamed up to design, build and test a mechanism capable of traversing and maneuvering through a given obstacle course. After that, it had to transform itself into a piercing mechanism that could pierce through a surface layer made of Styrofoam. Then the mechanism had to pop a balloon lying underneath the Styrofoam surface. Students use Project POP to learn about principles of design.


  • The weight of the mechanism, including the power source, should not exceed two pounds
  • The device should have dimensions no longer than 1 ft. x 1 ft. x 1 ft. in any direction

Performance Test:

The Performance Test consisted of two parts:

  • Prospecting the obstacle course—This part tested the ability of the mechanism to traverse any kind of terrain, including sand, gravel, road bumps and grease. The amount of time taken to traverse the track from start to finish was used in the calculation of points.
  • Piercing—This part tested the versatility of the mechanism. After the mechanism crossed the finish line, it had to pierce through the Styrofoam layer and pop a balloon underneath the surface. The time clock started as soon as the mechanism crossed the finish line and then stopped when the mechanism had completely pierced the balloon. The time was used in the calculation of points for this portion of the test.

Each team was required to go through both performance tests twice. Students were allowed two minutes to set up their mechanism before each run on the obstacle course. The weight of the mechanism was measured before undergoing any of the performance tests. Lastly, the sum of the original points from both runs + bonus points – penalties was considered the group score. The team with the most points was granted as the winners of the competition.

1st Place: Team 2.8

AME4163_Team2.8 AME4163_Team2.8Device

Members: Jeremy Adams, Michael Allen, Keelan Prewett and Kyle Wager

2nd Place: Team 1.6

AME4163_Team1.6 AME4163_Team1.6Device

Members: Garrett Svane, Michael Howell, Tyler Spencer and Colin Sullivan

3rd Place: Team 2.11


Members: Joshua Ellenburg, Remington Butler, Michelle Musgrove and Marli Sussman

Congratulations to all the teams! Next stop: Capstone Poster Fair

To view more photos of Project POP, visit the AME Facebook page. 

Project Flyoff with Intro to Aerospace Engineering

Dr. Thomas Hays’ Introduction to Aerospace Engineering class recently designed and built gliders for testing. In teams of two, students chose one of three “proposals” to design and build a prototype for:  Range, Endurance or Payload.

On Dec. 10, 2015, the teams tested their glider prototypes in the field house. Each team launched their glider from a sled capable of propelling a one pound aircraft at 20 feet per second.

In addition to building the gliders, students wrote fully detailed reports requiring them to compute aircraft performance across the full range of possible speeds and all three mission objectives. Students developed code to calculate the best flight speed for their aircraft and perform simple trade studies to further optimize their score.

“The project naturally exposes students to the need for their future courses in flight mechanics, aerospace structures, aerodynamics and optimization,” said Dr. Hays. “It generated an environment where students naturally asked questions from these advanced topics, and the project also helped generate an eagerness to more completely answer questions about aircraft design.”


The winners of the Endurance Challenge were Colton Johnson and Jerrod Watson.


The winners of the Range Challenge were Sung Jae Kim and Shaik Zehad.

Check out the video of Kim and Zehad’s winning Range Challenge here.

Dr. Hays will continue this project in future classes, allowing each year to compete against the best records set by previous participants.

For more photos, please click here.