Graduate: Explore Mechanical Engineering

Raghu Gowda '13 (Mechanical Engineering)

"During my master’s studies in Mechanical Engineering at UMass Lowell, Prof. Eugene Niemi and Asst. Prof. David Willis got me interested in aerodynamics and wind engineering through their courses, and I am currently pursuing a Ph.D. in the field of wind turbine aerodynamics under them. In the Industrial Aerodynamics Lab we are experimentally investigating vortex wake behind scaled wind turbine rotors and flapping wing models. It is the structure of the wake, and its vorticity content, which dictates the fluid loading on the blades of the wind turbine. Understanding of these vortex structure instabilities and developmental mechanisms would enable us to efficiently extract energy from the wind as well as help improve the life of wind turbines. This knowledge is extended to bio-inspired flights too. Parachute fabric aerodynamics is also being researched here to develop a novel parachute with enhanced performance. Lasers (Particle Image Velocimetry-PIV) and water tank are being used to conduct these studies. The 200 mph wind tunnel is a very useful research tool in this lab; we frequently perform wind tunnel testing for various companies. Our lab has a great mix of undergraduate and graduate students and Faculty working on diverse and challenging projects, which creates an exciting work atmosphere."

Harish Hande, UMass Lowell Alumnus '98, '00, Awarded 2011 Ramon Magsaysay Award, Philippines

UMass Lowell alumnus Harish Hande was recently awarded the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award in Asia for his work as a "social entrepreneur," bringing sustainable electricity to India's poor and encouraging them to become "asset creators." Hande received his master's degree in renewable energy engineering from the University in 1998 and a doctorate in mechanical engineering (with a concentration in energy) in 2000.

For more information on Hande's inspired career and life's work, check out the eNews article, Alumnus Wins "Asia's Nobel Prize," and Harish's profile.

Konstantine A. Fetfatsidis, Ph.D Candidate

“I went to UMass Lowell as an undergraduate and decided to stay to take advantage of the 5-year BS/MS program to get my Master’s degree. I chose to stay for my Ph.D because the lab (Advanced Composites and Materials Testing Lab (ACMTRL) brings in a lot of diverse projects with a good mix of undergraduate and graduate students from different disciplines and labs, such as mechanical, nano, plastics, chemical, baseball research lab, modal and acoustics lab, etc. Not only do the laboratories offer good workspace and all of the necessary equipment and machinery, but the students and professors interact with one another giving new perspectives and ideas that lead to the highest-quality research. "Project: Wind turbine manufacturers and designers are looking to improve the quality and reliability of their wind turbines while keeping the cost of wind energy competitive with traditional sources of energy. We are developing a finite element simulation that can help optimize the design of turbine components such as blades, predict any defects as a result of the manufacturing process, as well as predict the structural quality of the parts. Such a simulation will also cut costs required for prototyping and testing."

Timothy Connelly

Timothy Connelly earned his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering at UMass Lowell and immediately entered the school’s five-year, accelerated master's program. “It is turning into more like six years, just because sometimes the research takes a little bit longer,” he says. But Timothy is excited to be working on baseball bat research, designing a faster and more cost-effective baseball bat. His final design will be tested for durability and performance and subsequently the mass production of the baseball bat will begin. Timothy also is enjoying his education experience: "I've been at UMass Lowell for the whole time and it's been really good."