Category Archives: Mechanical Engineering

2018 Human Powered Vehicle Competition

Matt McKenzie

Matt McKenzie,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 18 April 2018

The Ohio University Human Powered Vehicle team recently competed for their fourth time in an event sponsored by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, this year at Penn State University. The competition’s goal is to provide innovative solutions to the world of human powered vehicles to make them more practical in today’s world.

To achieve this, there are multiple events that test teams and their vehicles which range from technical analysis and documentation, to drag races and a two and half hour endurance event with various obstacles including speedbumps, slaloms, stop signs, and even carrying groceries.

As part of the preliminaries on Friday, there was a safety check, which included assessment of the impact in a rollover.

Rollover Test

Saturday was filled with a men’s and women’s, double elimination style drag race where teams begin from a stop and accelerate down and quarter mile stretch of road.

HPV Drag Race

Traditionally the team had designed tadpole trikes, a trike with two wheels in the front for their low speed stability and handling, but this year that was changed to a two-wheeled vehicle that is much less stable at low speeds. This was countered with landing gear that could be deployed but the change to two wheels allowed for better efficiency and thus higher speed in this event. One member of the team was able to accelerate to 37.8 mph over the quarter mile stretch which makes it the fastest vehicle the team has designed to date. Our one female rider ended up riding all races in that bracket and brought home 3rd place, and I combined with one other male to finish in fourth place on the men’s side.

Sunday is the day of the endurance event, the two and a half hour race that always seems to be filled poor weather and puts vehicles and riders to the test. This year the weather was cold and the majority of the course was a grueling gradual climb, but the team managed to get by with only five riders, one of which, reached the maximum 20 km limit per rider. In the end, the team finished the endurance event in second place of the 45 teams that were there, but after a few penalties were applied we dropped to third.

One of the things that I was personally the proudest of was that the team was awarded the sportsmanship award for helping other teams when they needed it. As I am still very close to the two founding members, I know that is the type of culture that they both wanted the organization to be like and would be very proud that it has remained that way to this day.

To me, this organization and event have been incredibly important as it has offered me a tremendous growth opportunity not only on the technical side, but also as a leader and manager. This was the first year with new, highly motivated, leadership that I was able to mentor some, but it was great to watch as they developed another reliable vehicle for the competition. In the future I plan on staying involved in the team as a mentor and possibly sponsor, but also may be interested in assisting with further competition judging or event planning activities within ASME.

ME Capstone: Recycling Collection

Matt McKenzie

Matt McKenzie,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 13 April 2018

Capstone design for mechanical engineering is a year-long course where a small group of seniors are assigned a client and work together through the engineering process from problem identification to delivering a prototype.

For my capstone project, I have been paired with a local non-profit called Rural Action Zero Waste Initiative, RA ZWI for short.RA ZWI works to divert waste from landfills by cleaning up after local festivals and sorting the trash to send it to its appropriate recycling or compost location.

The problem that my team is looking to solve is to collect a large majority of what they call bulk trash—plastic bottles, aluminum cans, and other waste—in a time period of around 30 minutes. They are having a problem cleaning around the stage area effectively in the short amount of time between the end of the show and when heavy equipment comes in to break down the stage. When this equipment comes in, it tears up the ground and compacts any remaining trash into making it much more difficult to collect.

The client has tried to use some off the shelf solutions before in ways that they were not designed to operate which proved somewhat effective, but nowhere near durable enough and constantly breaking. To solve the issue at hand, and continue the trend of recycling, my team has decided to use a leaf sweeper housing and hopper that RA ZWI has utilized in the past with some effectiveness, but we have designed in a number of improvements to solve the issues and make it more reliable.

After some initial rapid prototyping, we were able to pitch the design to our faculty mentor and our client and are currently rounding out the manufacturing of our prototype. Following the prototype being completed, we will have a number of tests to conduct and make any adjustments to the design to improve its collection efficiency before delivering it to the client and putting it through its paces with them in the coming weeks.

ME Senior Design

Emily Morello

Emily Morello,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 8 April 2018

The main class of senior year for mechanical engineers is senior design. Senior design is a year long class, which is very different from most other engineering disciplines. In the beginning of the fall semester, students were placed on teams based on their areas of interest in engineering. The teams were also made based on student’s strengths and weaknesses to make the teams balanced.

Each team is then assigned a customer with a problem that needs to be solved. The teams work with their customer for the entire year until they solve the problem. Every customer is very different and has a unique problem that needs solved.

My project for senior design is extremely different than most students’. Our customer is a lecturer at Ohio University, Dr. Burnette, and our project is to create a medical device that treats cervical dysplasia with a plasma.

The reason this device is so important is because the current procedure to treat cervical cancer is extremely invasive and can leave the woman infertile in some cases. The idea of using a plasma to treat cancerous cells is that it will kill the bad cells without causing harm to the healthy cells.

At first, it was hard to start our project because we had such a large scope. My team had to do extensive research to learn about the female reproductive system, and it took a lot of thinking to design a device that is safe for procedures. We ended up narrowing our scope from a procedure to an experiment so we can use the device we are designing as a learning tool to answer questions we have and improve the device in the future.

My team has come a long way this year. I can proudly say we have a working prototype that we are going to show at the Ohio University Expo this upcoming Thursday, April 12th . The week after the expo we have senior design demo day which wraps up our senior design experience.

I am very thankful for the project I was assigned because I learned a lot. Senior Design definitely made me use all of my engineering knowledge I learned from college in one class.

CAD Project: Green Machine

Quinn Mitchell

Quinn Mitchell,
Junior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 16 March 2018

Many engineering classes involve group projects designed to test the students’ understanding of the topics taught throughout the semester. This is the case for many of the classes that I am taking this semester.

Of these projects, one that I am particularly excited for is my CAD (ME 3510) project. This project involves modeling and analyzing an existing product. Once this is completed, each group is required to make at least five design improvements.

The most exciting part about the project is that we were given free rein in terms of choosing the product to redesign. My group decided to use this as an opportunity to analyze a favorite toy from our childhoods, the Green Machine.

Green Machine

In addition to being an interesting engineering challenge, this also gave us an excuse to purchase a Green Machine for ourselves. Once we finally received the Green Machine, we were able to spend an afternoon performing some “product testing.” Although this is the technical term, a more accurate description would be continuously crashing the tricycle.

By the end of the semester, we plan to have implemented enough design improvements to have a tricycle that is large and stable enough for teenagers and adults to use. This goal is somewhat selfish since we have a group-wide consensus that we all need our own improved Green Machines to race.

Scuba Class

Emily Morello

Emily Morello,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 5 March 2018

Each semester of college, I usually take about 5 classes. Most of them are engineering courses straight from the Mechanical Engineering flow chart found on the website for OU, but I always try to squeeze in one different class. For example, I took a dance class for a fine arts credit freshman year, two courses for my scholar’s program (Margaret Boyd Scholars) on Women in Leadership, an entrepreneurship class last year, a business consulting class to study abroad in Greece, and this semester a SCUBA class.

SCUBA class consists of an online class and a lab for two hours once a week. Every few weeks we meet in a lecture for two hours before the lab to go over important topics, such as learning how to use equipment, dive tables, and an exam review.

The lab is my favorite part of the class. In lab, we put on our equipment and learn all the skills necessary for scuba diving. Some of those include surface dives, regulator breathing, buddy breathing, water entries, and bailout. I am usually exhausted after each lab from swimming and carrying around all the equipment.

One of the reasons I decided to take this course is because I have always loved the water, but sometimes don’t participate in water activities because I don’t like being cold. I bought a wet suit so I have no excuse now. SCUBA has taught me how to be a more patient and relaxed person because if you aren’t relaxed when SCUBA diving, lots of things can go wrong. At the end of course, I can even get certified if I pass my pool and written exams.

Independent Study

Quinn Mitchell

Quinn Mitchell,
Junior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 12 February 2018

Although I am taking lots of interesting classes this semester, the one I am most excited for is my independent study with Dr. Sarah Hormozi. An independent study is a class made for a student, or small group of students, to investigate a specific topic under the supervision of a professor.

I am so excited for this class because I had the opportunity to help design the curriculum. I have taken this opportunity to make a class that will be extremely beneficial to my development as an engineer. By the end of the semester, I will have developed many skills that I will need moving forward in my career.

Dr. Hormozi is involved in the study of non-Newtonian fluids, which is also one of my areas of interest. Consequently, the topic of our independent study is the flow of elastoviscoplastic fluids through porous media. The main objective for the semester will be to design and run a numerical simulation to relate pressure drop to flow rate for elastoviscoplastic flow in porous media.

To do this, we are collaborating with a group of researchers from KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. This project will give me the opportunity to learn a series of extremely valuable skills including computational fluid dynamics, parallel processing, supercomputing, and programming in Fortran. I will also have the opportunity to meet engineers who are involved in the type of research that I plan to pursue in graduate school.

Interviewing with Parker Hannifin

Emily Morello

Emily Morello,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 23 January 2018

This past September, I spoke to Parker Hannifin at the Ohio University career fair. At the end of our conversation, the recruiter told me to apply to the position as soon as possible because they would be conducting on-campus interviews in a few months.

I did as he said, and a few weeks later found out I was selected to interview at the beginning of November. The men I interviewed with informed me that they were going to select a few top candidates from the interviews that day to interview again at the Global Headquarters in Cleveland. I felt pretty good about my interview with them; however, I was unsure if I would be selected.

A week or so later, I received an email from Parker Hannifin inviting me to a banquet in January and a full day of interviews to follow. I was thrilled!

Over break I started doing more research on the position and company to educate myself before the big day. The banquet was wonderful. It consisted of managers and a group of employees who had recently graduated from the Technical Sales Associate position. I learned a lot about the position and became even more excited. I knew it would be the perfect job for me.

The interview day sounded intimidating, but ended up being quite enjoyable. Each finalist had six different interviews starting at 7:30 am and ending at 1:30 pm. The interviews were for different divisions in Parker Hannifin.

After the interviews, one of the managers told all the finalists we would
hear back from them within the next few weeks with either an offer or explanation as to why it did not work out.

I felt good about the interviews, but was still a little worried I would not get selected. As I was driving home, my worries diminished. I received a phone call from a manager in the Sporlan Division, telling me they had decided to extend an offer to me and I would receive the written offer on Monday.

I had no words. I was so excited!

I went over the offer for a few days and decided to accept. On June 4th, 2018, I will start working for the Sporlan Division of Parker Hannifin in Washington, MO for my departmental orientation. I will work there until July 10th, then get relocated to Cleveland for 4-6 weeks to begin my Technical Sales Associate orientation with all the other TSAs that were selected. From there, I will rotate the US and get located in my permanent position in November.

I am so thankful for this opportunity and cannot wait to begin this next chapter of my life.