All mechanical engineering students are required to participate in the Senior Design course sequence in which they design, build, and test mechanical and thermal devices for actual customers with real budgets.

2011 Senior Design Projects

Grain Grinder for Bicycles Against Poverty

Student Team: Brian Chiu, Kevin Curran, Paul Moellers, Kevin
Advisor: Professor Charles Kim.

In Northern Uganda, women spend 90 minutes a day grinding grain for their families. Our team designed a device that significantly reduces this time by using a bicycle to power a set of blades that processes grain. This sustainable device can be made in Uganda for US$45 with locally sourced materials, labor, and manufacturing.

Mini Bio-fuel Gas Turbine

Student Team: Michelle Beck, Chris Lahey, Howie Smith, John Stevenson
Advisor: Professor Christopher Mordaunt

The Mini Bio-Fuel Gas Turbine team created a self-sustaining mini-turbine able to combust gaseous bio-fuel. This system will later be attached to an electricity-generation system for use on campus. The University outputs a large amount of waste food every day, and, with the use of an anaerobic digester, this waste can be turned into a combustible fuel which can be burned in this mini-turbine. This project signifies continued work towards a greener, more sustainable future.

An Apparatus for Testing Playworld Playground Equipment

Student Team: Matt Hockenbrock, Dan Janosec, Jacob Riglin
Advisor: Professor Sinisa Vukelic

This team designed, built, and tested a machine to test welded joints on a piece of playground equipment used by Playworld.

Compressed Air Assisted Turbocharger Lag Reduction

Student Team: Andrew Lowrie, Hugh Shepard, Chris Zapp
Advisor: Professor Indranil Brahma

These students have designed and built a device to reduce turbocharger lag, the biggest contributor to particulate matter emissions. Particulate matter emissions, commonly known as smoke, have been shown to have major detrimental health effects in humans. The team's system injects compressed air directly into diesel engines during transient operation, when the turbocharger cannot supply the required amount of air, to reduce spikes in particulate emissions.

Hydraulic Flume Demonstrator

Student Team: Maya Chase, Luke Collin, Alexander Dunbar, Kevin McCallen
Advisor: Professor Laura Beninati

The 2011 Flume Team was tasked with creating a new head tank delivery system for the existing large flume in Dana Engineering. Our new design is demonstrated using a small scale flume that uses a small entry region tank and exhibits uniform flow profile across the width of the channel.

SAE Mini-Baja

Student Team: Nate Boyer, Pat Moore, Travis Nissley, Scott Schreiber, Adam Selby, Michael Volpe
Advisor: Professor Peter Stryker

These students designed, built, and tested a small vehicle that had to travel off-road and across open water (and through deep Alabama mud and storms). They verified their design by effectively competing against 45 other universities at an international student competition in Birmingham Alabama.

Grain Grinder for Bicycles Against Poverty

Student Team: Brian Chiu, Kevin Curran, Paul Moellers, Kevin
Advisor: Professor Charles Kim.

In Northern Uganda, women spend 90 minutes a day grinding grain for their families. Our team designed a device that significantly reduces this time by using a bicycle to power a set of blades that processes grain. This sustainable device can be made in Uganda for US$45 with locally sourced materials, labor, and manufacturing.

Robotic Hand for Humanoid Robots in Urban Environments

Mechanical Engineering Student Team: Cole Bevan, Natalie Bindert, Kristen Martino, Peter Rogerson
Mechanical Engineering Advisor: Professor Steven Shooter
Electrical Engineering Student Team: Nicholas Hruch, Christopher May, David Pike, Jonathan Schmalzle
Electrical Engineering Advisor: Professor Jeff Gum
Support: Brent Noll, Jason Geist

Bucknell's ongoing project for the Office of Naval Research to develop a humanoid robot capable of operating in urban environments requires a modular hand that can open doors and grasp common objects. A focus of this effort has been to minimize complexity and weight of the hand while considering the use of appropriate force and movement to protect the integrity of the objects grasped. The result is a cleverly articulated hand using only two motors and weighing less than 3 pounds. This project also demonstrates a collaboration with the seniors in electrical engineering who developed the controls and electrical systems to ensure direct integration with the humanoid robot.

All project teams would like to thank the technical advisors for these projects: Tim Baker, Dan Johnson, Tom Thul, and George Waltman

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