Tag Archives: design

Summer as a Lab Rat

Colton Moran

Colton Moran,
Senior, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 17 September 2013 – This past summer I spent some of my time working here at Ohio University doing research under Dr.Sunggyu Lee. The SEAM (Sustainable Energy and Materials) lab was a great place to learn and for me was an amazing opportunity to become familiar with alternative energy methods.

I have to admit that at first I was overwhelmed by the pure volume of technology that I had no idea how to use. With time I began to understand the equipment I was working with and after the initial phase of getting to know where I was working, I was able to do research on some really neat projects.

The largest project I worked on was building a super-critical hydrogenation unit from the ground up. the project began when I was asked to help facilitate a customer’s need and based on Dr. Lee’s idea, we went with a hydrogenation process to try and accomplish the task. Since the process is at super-critical conditions for hydrogen (super-critical involves relatively high pressures and temperatures, depending on the material) I built the unit inside a 1/8″ steel cabinet. The main components I designed were a heat exchange, a reactor, safety pressure releases and a ventilation system. It took some time but It was a lot of fun to start from just an empty cabinet to what now looks like a highway of pipes and valves.

I am still working on the hydrogenation unit to this day and I plan on doing so throughout the Fall semester. So not only am I getting my academic education, I get the chance to learn some real life lessons. Just last week I was running pressure test and found out something quite interesting. I had a septum which allows for liquid injection or gas sampling without exposing the system to the surroundings.

The septum is not built to be able to withstand pressure and of course my reactor was under relatively high pressure. I had a back pressure regulator before the septum to reduce it to atmospheric pressure but I overlooked something very important. I have a valve right after the septum that switched the flow from a testing port to the vent.

Well, when I designed it, that made sense, but it turns out I have some things to learn about design. When the valve was turned–no matter how quickly–the pressure built up in the section of pipe with the septum and “BAM!”, like the sound of a cannon, the septum blew and shot across the lab. Needless to say it scared me quite nicely and now I have to go back and tweak my design. But that is what I love about research; you are constantly learning new lessons–lessons that will stick with you, at least in my opinion, much easier than a lecture would.

Overall I am glad I started research in the SEAM lab and who knows, it might just be what drives me to go to grad school.

Mechanical Engineering Design

Scott Kostohryz

Scott Kostohryz,
Junior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 11 February 2013 – This semester is shaping up to be a very fun and rewarding one. I am in several classes where I will be designing, testing, and evaluating a part and or mechanism as a member of a team. I very much enjoy Computer Aided Design (ME 3510) and in Machine Design (ME 3700), our group is going to be designing a radial engine. The task will not be an easy one, but it will be very exciting to see it completed. Our team wants to reduce the weight of the engine as well as try and make it more efficient. I cannot wait until we have it moving.

In machine design, we have already had a few design projects. In one assignment, our group was to design a trailer hitch. In another assignment, we designed a shear pin and support for a hydraulic ram. We used our previous knowledge from strengths of materials and applied it to the design. Then, through the use of Inventor and Solid Edge, we verified our results by doing a stress analysis.

In many of my classes this semester, I see much of what I have learned apply and the knowledge I have gained be built upon. For example, our group will be using strengths, dynamics, thermodynamics, and physics when designing and testing the radial engine. This knowledge will also be used in our team design projects in machine design.

I am beginning to see how much I really enjoy mechanical engineering. Mechanical engineers are very important and involved all the way along the design process. They are there from the initial design to the analysis, prototyping and on to the testing, and mass production. As I have said, I enjoy working with CAD and 3D design. I hope I can continue to design and maybe make it a career. It is rewarding to have an idea come from pen and paper to a digital model, and then become physical part.