The Mechanical Engineering Department offers the following facilities:


Laboratory for Innovative Design of Intelligent Systems

An important evolving focus in engineering is the development and implementation of innovative methods for designing mechanisms, robots and automated production processes that go beyond current forms and capabilities. The Laboratory for Innovative Design of Intelligent Systems at Bucknell is an educational and research facility which enables students and faculty to be active participants in the creative design, analysis and development of intelligent systems that better serve the future needs of industry and society as a whole.

Rich educational opportunities are available in LIDIS in support of courses including Robotics (MECH 453), Mechatronics (MECH 463), Mechanism Design (MECH 464) and Senior Design (MECH 401/402). More in-depth research opportunities are available to students through independent studies, honors theses and summer research projects. Externally funded projects in LIDIS have included Urban Robots (Office of Naval Research), Pulse-Width Control (National Science Foundation), CI-TEAMS Cyber-Collaboratory (NSF), and Biologically Inspired Compliant Mechanisms (NSF).

The lab includes the following hardware:

  • MobileRobots Pioneer P3-DX: A wheeled robot platform with a variety of sensors for testing and analysis
  • Seiko Instruments TT-8550: A four-axis SCARA-type robotic arm with gripper
  • Pinnacle Explorer ZX Laser Engraver: Rapidly fabricates planar proof-of-concept prototypes
  • Festo mechatronic laboratory stations
  • Stations for mechanical assembly, fabrication and electrical assembly and basic fabrication
  • Numerous workstations for design and testing

More information about the lab, affiliated faculty and students, and project.

Materials Characterization and Nondestructive Evaluation Laboratory

Dana 150 -- This laboratory contains nondestructive evaluation and materials testing equipment. Various research projects related to materials processing, characterization and testing of nanomaterials, hard coatings and composites are conducted in this lab and the related Materials Processing and Manufacturing Lab (Dana 145).

Equipment includes magnetic particle and dye penetrant inspection systems to aid in surface flaw detection. An Innovex handheld X-ray alloy analyzer (a-2000) allows the ability to deliver alloy chemistry and grade identification in an instant. A DISP-16 channel acoustic emission system from Physical Acoustics Corporation also is included in the nondestructive evaluation facility and is used to identify the point of failure in materials under a load, without damaging the sample. A rotating bend fatigue tester also examines cold spray coatings for use on aerospace defense vehicles.

The lab contains extensive corrosion analysis capabilities and is equipped with Gamry potentiostats and an ECM8 electrochemical 120V multiplexer, which allow for multiple specimens to be tested at once. Research-grade electrochemical instruments are installed in portable and desktop computers. Also included in this laboratory is a 15-cubic-foot Autor Technoogy salt fog and humidity chamber (model 15-A) for standard cyclic accelerated corrosion testing.

This laboratory is used extensively for faculty research as well as for courses including Manufacturing Processes (Mech 344); Solid Mechanics (Mech 353); and Senior Design classes as well as for the elective courses Mechanics of Composites (Mech 470/670) and Fracture Mechanics (Mech 466).

Materials Processing and Manufacturing Laboratory

Dana 145 -- This laboratory contains materials processing and inspection and evaluation equipment for research projects. The facility also is used to process materials for prototypes and to inspect materials and products in Manufacturing Processes (Mech 355).

The lab currently includes a Z Corp 3-D printer, a computer-controlled coordinate measuring machine (CMM), an optical comparator, two ultrasonic scanners, and a fused deposition modeler. The students in MECH 355 operate the Z Corp 3-D printer to generate layered manufactured prototypes, and use the computer-controlled CMM to inspect parts that they have made in the University's Product Development Laboratory. Students in the elective course Computer Integrated Manufacturing (MECH 462) use the computer-controlled CMM and the optical comparator for an exercise in statistical process control and process capability.

The ultrasonic A- and B-scan systems (made by General Electric and Krautkramer), the handheld pocket UT system (P/N: 1600-7074) with C-scan capabilities, the CMM, and the optical comparator are used in a research project investigating the impact of welding parameters on the quality of structural steel flash butt welds. This and similar projects also make use of related equipment in the Materials Characterization and Nondestructive Evaluation Lab, the Product Development Lab, and the Materials Testing Lab (i.e. Leco mount/grind/polish equipment, Olympus optical microscope, and JEOL scanning electron microscope).

Combustion Research Laboratory

This multipurpose facility is designed to facilitate instruction and research of the processes involved in combustion systems used in power generation systems, especially land-based gas turbines. These devices are highly sensitive to fuel composition. Engineers developing the next generation of high-efficiency, low-emission, fuel-flexible combustion systems need to better understand the processes that affect combustor performance.

This facility is equipped with an optically-accessible, atmospheric-pressure, continuous-flow model gas turbine combustion chamber that can operate on gaseous or liquid fuels. Diagnostic equipment includes an emissions analyzer system, which is capable of measuring oxygen, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide and has piezoelectric pressure transducers for measuring high-speed pressure oscillations, and a photomultiplier system to capture light emission associated with high-speed heat release fluctuations.

Students in Thermodynamics II (MECH216); Gas Turbines (MECH441); Fundamentals of Combustion (MECH4470-; and independent study or honors theses candidates regularly use this facility.

Environmental Fluid Mechanics and Hydraulics Laboratory

This laboratory encompasses research and instructional activities for the College of Engineering and is intended “to minimize adverse impacts of the fabricated world on the natural environment." The lab houses cross-disciplinary research activities from the departments of mechanical, civil and environmental engineering and includes collaborative scholarship among faculty for fluids-related research and instruction. It is co-directed by Assistant Professor of Mehcanical Engineering M. Laura Beninati and Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Jessica Newlin. The facility includes several flumes with complementary research instrumentation, advanced measurement systems and fluid diagnostics. Other facilities and instrumentation are available through a partnership with the Applied Research Laboratory at Pennsylvania State University.

Current research activities include:

  • Pollutant transport and contamination of surface and groundwater
  • Utilization and management of water resources
  • Sediment erosion and deposition patterns at bridge crossings and other hydraulic structures
  • Hydrometeorology or modeling of the atmospheric boundary layer
  • Sediment transport and entrainment (with ARL Penn State)
  • Sustainable engineering/renewable energy with an emphasis on marine hydrokinetic devices (with ARL Penn State and Sandia National Laboratories)

Facilities and instrumentation
In-house:

  • A large-scale (32 by 4 by 1.5 foot) tilting hydraulic flume with an automated 3-D traversing system and feedback control, used to accurately position probes or sensors within the flume
  • A moderate scale (20 by 1 by 2.5 foot) hydraulic tilting flume
  • Two moderate scale research and instructional wind tunnels
  • A three-component and a two-component Acoustic Doppler Velocimeter (ADV)
  • Advanced Hydrological Study Facility to model surface water and groundwater in a watershed, including the formation of river features over time
  • Automated 2-D Sediment Bed Profiler (HR Wallingford Ltd.) with laser and touch-sensitive probes
  • Two Marsh-McBirney electromagnetic flow meters for field investigation of velocity
  • A standard low-speed Nixon velocity probe (.05 to 1.5 meters per second) and a standard high-speed Nixon velocity probe (.6 to 3.0 meters per second), with digital indicator
  • A large-scale (45 by 10 by 4 foot) geology and sediment flume housed in the Sedimentology and Riverine Morphodynamics Laboratory in the Department of Geology. The facility is directed by Professor of Geology Craig Kochel.

Facilities available through partnership with Penn State ARL:

Flow facilities:

  • Vortex ring facility (9 by 3 by 3 foot water facility)
  • 12-inch diameter glycerine tunnel
  • Water channel (12 by 2.5 by 2 foot test section)
  • 12-inch and 48-inch diameter water tunnels

Measurement capabilities:

  • TSI DPIV systems
  • ISSI Shadow PIV system
  • TSI multi-component fiber-optic probe LDV systems
  • High-speed video
  • Pressure and force measurement
  • Acoustic measurement
  • Multi-channel, high-speed (100kHz, MHz, and GHz ranges) DAQ
  • Local cluster for DPIV and image processing

Computational facilities:

Computer clusters for high priority design work with more than three million processor hours per year capacity (across 300 processors). Further off-site HPCMO and NASA project allocations are available as needed.

Wind Tunnel Laboratory

This laboratory contains a small wind tunnel for calibrating hot wire probes, a closed-return wind tunnel with a 17 by 24 inch test section, and an open-return wind tunnel with an 18 by 36 inch test section. The two larger tunnels both have maximum air velocities of about 90 miles per hour with turbulence levels between 1 percent and 2 percent. The wind tunnels are used for instructional purposes in upper-level undergraduate and graduate courses such as Boundary Layer Theory, Aerodynamics, and Flow-induced Vibrations and in research projects such as the investigation of flow-induced vibrations of closely spaced cylinders.

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