Undergraduate: Explore Mechanical Engineering

Plamen Atanassov '14

"My research work is focused on using nanoimprint lithography techniques for nanomanfucaturing. There are two projects I am working on. The first is a research effort in collaboration with the Agiltron company based in Woburn, MA. The team I work with is focused on creating a silicon wafer imprinted with nanopatterns and nanoink that will function as an air detector. This will be used in the defense industry for early detection and warning systems against missile attacks. Our product will be designed to detect a range of wavelengths from UV light from incoming missiles. The second project I am involved in is developing a super hydrophobic surface (one that repels water). Using the Nanonex 2600 imprinting machine and other equipment in the clean room, I test different patterns, imprint pressures, temperatures, and processing times to find the best surface pattern to repel water and dust. A surface like this could be applied to cover solar cells, windows, aircraft wings, and high-rise buildings to give better protection against water, dirt, and dust. All of this research is based on previous work done by scientists in the field of nanotechnology and new innovations are constantly being made. The equipment, imprinting techniques, and safety procedures I have learned are the basis for the work I do in the clean room and technical reports I write in the Heat Transfer Lab. This research opportunity has given me a glimpse of what real-world engineering work consists of. It has helped me develop better communication, technical writing, and presentation skills and has increased my interest in the field of mechanical engineering."

Hunter Sawyer '14

My work is in regard to wind turbines and making sure that they are safe, reliable machines.  As the renewable power movement is fairly young, so are the machines that have come out of it. People don’t really know how well a wind turbine built 10 years ago is going to be working 10 years from now. My work deals with making sure we know how strong a wind turbine is and how long it will last long before it goes up in the field. I work with software called ARAMIS and use a technique called Digital Image Correlation. This uses two high-resolution cameras to track the movement, however small or large, of an object in three dimensions. These are used along with a piece of machinery designed by students here at UMass Lowell that slowly bends a wind turbine blade. The ARAMIS system tracks the deflection, or distance the blade has bent from its original location, of the blade and then can digitally map out the strain put on the blade and show the places where it is the highest. This is a small part of the entire process of determining the strength and stability of wind turbines, but with this information, others can reinforce the weak points of the blade so they can last longer and withstand higher winds. This internship has been such a great experience this summer. To be able to get hands on, actual engineering experience this early on in my career is unbelievable and it will put me ahead of the game. I have learned so much this summer that I will be able to use as my education and engineering career advances. I am so lucky to have gotten the chance to participate in this opportunity."

Michael Duffy '14

I am an undergraduate student heading into my sophomore year, majoring in mechanical engineering. This summer I am working in the Baseball Research Center under the direction of Patrick Drane. The purpose of this laboratory is to test baseball bats and balls for all levels of competition, from Little League to the Major Leagues. Baseball bats are tested for their durability and their coefficient of restitution (COR), which can generally be described as the “liveliness” of the bat. Baseballs are also tested for COR, or “liveliness”, and are dissected and tested part by part. My work includes testing metal bats for their durability, testing wooden bats for MLB and testing and dissecting the World Series baseballs. It has been a great introduction to at least one aspect of a job in the field of engineering."

Christopher Duffy '14

I am going into my sophomore year here at UMass Lowell as an engineer, and I have been offered this wonderful opportunity to work in one of the engineering labs to gain lab experience and to realize how my school subjects are applied in the working world. I am working in the Composites Lab, helping one of the graduate students with his testing of composite materials. He is trying to find the physical properties of a certain composite material, so I am helping him to make the samples to be tested, and I am testing these samples as well so that he can gain information for his computer model of this material. It has been a very positive experience because I am realizing how important our education is and how this education is implemented in real-world situations."

Scott Bellinghieri '14

This summer, I have been given the opportunity to partake in a research co-op with Prof. David Willis. The topic of my research is classifying the types of flying creatures who use flapping flight. In order to accomplish this goal, I have been cataloguing many different creatures while recording a multitude of different characteristics for each bird. Some of the characteristics I have been paying attention to are aspect ratio, wingspan, amplitude of flap, and about 20 other categories as well. I have been compiling this data by looking through papers and books which I have found online and through the library. I have an excel sheet filled with data that I will eventually use to plot all these characteristics against one another to look for patterns. In these patterns, I hope to discover some universal trends that apply to all flapping creatures which will help me to categorize them into various "regimes" of flight. We hypothesize that there are specific regimes based solely on engineering-like specifications, as opposed to the conventional way of classifying these creatures which is based on biological and geographical data. This experience is exciting and rewarding and I am happy to be a part of it. It's great to meet new people in my field while working on something new and different. I feel as if I am taking advantage of my summer doing something with more of a purpose than flipping burgers. I recommend this experience to anyone who it is offered to and thank UMass Lowell for giving me this opportunity."

Jeffrey Chung '14

Over the summer, I worked with SLICE (Service Learning Integrated throughout the College of Engineering) to study the effects of demographics on service learning projects within the engineering departments. I helped record the data of 400 plus surveys from students and faculty in the past year before performing statistical analysis to find correlating factors. The program I used was called SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences). After gathering the information, I submitted a summary report of the findings to Prof. John Duffy who will report back to the National Science Foundation. The purpose of this study is to better represent minorities in the engineering fields as well as to encourage community interaction. In general, co-op is a good program in terms of gaining meaningful work experience, while at the same time, maintaining full student status."

Jacob Lauer '14

I worked with SLICE Service-Learning throughout the College of Engineering, and the Green Building Commission to help pass zoning ordinances to promote the adoption of solar energy in Lowell. I modeled all the buildings along Market Street in downtown Lowell to allow the varying angles of the sun to be displayed in relation to the relative heights of the buildings. Co-op is nifty, I learned a lot."