Mechanical Engineering

Faculty

John M. Sullivan, Jr., Professor and Department Head, D.E., Dartmouth College, 1986; Development of graphics tools and mesh generation, numerical analysis of partial differential equations, medical image visualization and analysis software development

Diran Apelian, Howmet Professor, Director of the Metals Processing Institute; Sc.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1971; Solidification processing, spray casting, molten metal processing, aluminum foundry processing, plasma processing and knowledge engineering in materials processing

Holly K. Ault, Associate Professor; Ph.D., Worcester Polytechnic Institute, 1988; Geometric modeling, mechanical design, CAD, kinematics, biomechanics and rehabilitation engineering

Isa Bar-On, Professor; Ph.D., Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1984; Clean energy, economic impact of alternative energy systems, fuel cell technology, cost modeling, fatigue and fracture of ceramics, metals and composites

John J. Blandino, Associate Professor; Ph.D. California Institute of Technology, 2001; Fluid mechanics and heat transfer in microdevices, plasma diagnostics, electric and chemical propulsion, propulsion system design for precision formation flying

Christopher A. Brown, Professor; Ph.D., University of Vermont, 1983; Surface metrology, machining, grinding, mechanics of skiing, axiomatic design

Eben C. Cobb, Visiting Associate Professor; Ph.D., University of Connecticut, 1985; Computer aided design and kinematics, robotics, dynamics of high-speed rotating equipment, smart structures, vibration control

Michael A. Demetriou, Professor, Ph.D., University of Southern California, 1993; Control of intelligent systems, control of fluid-structure interaction systems, fault detection and accommodation of dynamical systems, acoustic and vibration control, smart materials and structures, sensor and actuator networks in distributed processes, control of mechanical systems

Chrysanthe Demetry, Associate Professor; Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1993; Pedagogical research, materials science and engineering education, educational technology, outcomes of K-12 outreach, nanocrystalline materials

Mikhail F. Dimentberg, Professor; Ph.D., Moscow Institute of Power Engineering, 1963; Applied mechanics, random vibrations, nonlinear dynamics, rotordynamics, mechanical signature analysis, stochastic mechanics.

Simon Evans, Assistant Professor, Ph.D., Cambridge University, UK, 2009; Fluid mechanics and turbomachinery, flow control

Gregory Fischer, Assistant Professor, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University, 2008; Medical robotics, computer assisted surgery, robot control, automation, sensors and actuators

Mustapha S. Fofana, Associate Professor; Ph.D., University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada, 1993; Delay dynamical systems, nonlinear machine-tool chatter, stochastic nonlinear dynamics, reliability dynamics and control of medical ambulance, design and manufacturing of combat feeding systems, CNC machining dynamics and control, and sustainable lean manufacturing systems.

Cosme Furlong, Associate Professor; Ph.D., WPI, 1999; MEMS and MOEMS, nanotechnology, mechatronics, laser applications, holography, computer modeling of dynamic systems

Nikolaos A. Gatsonis, George I. Alden Professor, Director, Aerospace Engineering Program; Ph.D, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1991; Development of numerical simulation methods and modeling of nonequilibrium, multi-component, multi-scale, gaseous and plasma flows; continuum/ atomistic simulation of macro-, micro- and nano-scale fluid transport processes, development of plasma diagnostics and microfluidic devices, spacecraft propulsion and micro-propulsion; spacecraft/ environment interactions

John (Jack) R. Hall, Adjunct Professor; Ph.D., University of Florida, 1962; Dynamic signal analysis, vibration analysis, engineering instrumentation

Allen H. Hoffman, Professor and Associate Department Head; Ph.D., University of Colorado, 1970; Biomechanics, biomaterials, biomedical engineering, rehabilitation engineering, biofluids and continuum mechanics

Zhikun Hou, Professor and Associate Department Head; Ph.D., California Institute of Technology, 1990; Vibration and control, structural dynamics, structural health monitoring, smart materials and adaptive structures, stochastic mechanics, solid mechanics, finite elements, earthquake engineering

Diana Lados, Assistant Professor; Ph.D., Worcester Polytechnic Institute, 2004; Design and optimization of materials for fatigue, fatigue crack growth, and fracture resistance, fracture mechanics, residual stress, plasticity, solidification

Jianyu Liang, Assistant Professor; Ph.D. (Electrical Engineering), Brown University 2004; Nonfabrication through nonlithographic approaches; heteroepitaxial growth of high quality quantum dots and semiconductor thin films on nanopatterned substrates for electronic, optic, and biomedical applications

Makhlouf M. Makhlouf, Professor; Ph.D., Worcester Polytechnic Institute, 1990; Solidification of metals, heat, mass and momentum transfer in engineering materials problems, processing of ceramics materials

Stephen S. Nestinger, Assistant Professor; Ph.D., University of California, Davis, 2009; Intelligent mechatronic and embedded systems and their applications

Robert L. Norton, Milton Prince Higgins II; M.S., Tufts University, 1970; Mechanical design and analysis, dynamic signal analysis, computer- aided engineering, computer-aided design, finite element method, vibration analysis, engineering design, biomedical engineering

David J. Olinger, Associate Professor; Ph.D., Yale University, 1990; Fluid mechanics, aero- and hydrodynamics, fluid structure interaction, fluid flow control, renewable energy

Ryszard J. Pryputniewicz, K. G. Merriman Professor; Ph.D., University of Connecticut, 1976; MEMS and nanotechnology, laser applications, holography, fiber optics, computer modeling of dynamic systems, bioengineering

Mark W. Richman, Associate Professor, Graduate Committee Chair; Ph.D., Cornell University, 1984; Mechanics of granular flows, powder compaction, powder metallurgy

Yiming (Kevin) Rong, Professor and Associate Director Manufacturing & Materials Engineering; Ph.D., University of Kentucky, 1989; Manufacturing systems and processes, heat treatment process modeling and simulation, CAD/CAM, computer-aided fixture design and verification

Brian J. Savilonis, Professor; Ph.D., State University of New York at Buffalo, 1976; Thermofluids, biofluids and biomechanics, energy, fire modeling

Satya S. Shivkumar, Professor; Ph.D., Stevens Institute of Technology 1987; Plastics, materials science and engineering, biomaterials, food engineering

Richard D. Sisson, Jr., George F. Fuller Professor; Ph.D., Purdue University, 1975; Materials process modeling and control, manufacturing engineering, corrosion, environmental effects on metals and ceramics

Yang Wang, Assistant Professor; Ph.D., University of Windsor, 2008; Fuel cell and battery technology, ultrahigh energy density electrodes for lithium ion batteries

Areas of Research and Areas of Study

Active areas of research in the Mechanical Engineering Department include: theoretical, numerical and experimental work in rarefied gas and plasma dynamics, electric propulsion, multiphase flows, turbulent flows, fluid-structure interactions, structural analysis, nonlinear dynamics and control, random vibrations, biomechanics and biomaterials, materials processing, mechanics of granular materials, laser holography, MEMS, computer-aided engineering systems, reconfigurable machine design, compliant mechanism design, and other areas of engineering design.

The graduate curriculum is divided into five distinct areas of study:

  • Fluids Engineering
  • Dynamics and Controls
  • Structures and Materials
  • Design and Manufacturing
  • Biomechanical Engineering

These areas are parallel to the research interests of the mechanical engineering faculty. Graduate courses introduce students to fundamentals of mechanical engineering while simultaneously providing the background necessary to become involved with the ongoing research of the mechanical engineering faculty.

Students also receive credit for special topics under ME 593 and ME 693, and independent study under ISP. Faculty members often experiment with new courses under the special topics designation, although no course may be offered more than twice in this manner. Except for certain 4000-level courses permitted in the B.S./ Master’s program, no undergraduate courses may be counted toward graduate credit.

Programs of Study

The Mechanical Engineering Department offers two graduate degree options:

  • Master of Science
  • Doctor of Philosophy

Admission Requirements

For the M.S. program, applicants should have a B.S. in mechanical engineering or in a related field (i.e., other engineering disciplines, physics, mathematics, etc.).

The standards are the same for admission into the thesis and non-thesis options of the M.S. program. At the time of application to the master’s program, the student must specify his/her option (thesis or nonthesis) of choice.

For the Ph.D., a bachelor’s or master’s degree in mechanical engineering or in a related field (i.e., other engineering disciplines, physics, mathematics, etc.) is required.

The Mechanical Engineering Department reserves its financial aid for graduate students in the Ph.D. program or in the thesis option of the M.S. program.

Degree Requirements

M.S. Program

When applying to the master of science program, students must specify their intention to pursue either the thesis or non-thesis M.S. option. Both the thesis and non-thesis options require the completion of 30 graduate credit hours. Students in the thesis option must complete 12 credits of thesis research (ME 599), whereas students in the non-thesis option may complete up to 9 credits of directed research (ME 598). The result of the research credits (ME 599) in the thesis option must be a completed master’s thesis. The number of directed research credits (ME 598) completed in the non-thesis option can range from 0 to 9.

In the thesis option, the distribution of credits is as follows:

  • 9 graduate credits in mechanical engineering
  • 12 credits of thesis research (ME 599)
  • 3 graduate credits in mathematics
  • 6 graduate credits of electives within or outside of mechanical engineering

In the non-thesis option, the distribution of credits is as follows:

  • 18 graduate credits in mechanical engineering (includes a maximum of 9 credits of directed research—ME 598)
  • 3 graduate credits in mathematics
  • 9 graduate credits of electives within or outside of mechanical engineering

In either option, all full-time students are required to register for the graduate seminar (ME591) every semester.

Academic Advising

Upon admission to the M.S. program, each student is assigned or may select a temporary advisor to arrange an academic plan covering the first 9 credits of study. This plan must be made before the first registration. Prior to registering for additional credits, the student must specify an academic advisor with whom the remaining course of study is arranged. The plan must be approved by the mechanical engineering graduate committee.

For students in the thesis option, the academic advisor is the thesis advisor. Prior to completing more than 18 credits, every student in the thesis option must form a thesis committee that consists of the thesis advisor and at least two other mechanical engineering faculty members from WPI with knowledge of the thesis topic.

The schedule of academic advising is as follows:

  • Temporary advisor—meets with student prior to first registration to plan the first 9 credits of study.
  • Academic advisor—selected by student prior to registering for more than 9 credits. For thesis option students, the academic advisor is the thesis advisor.
  • Plan of Study—arranged with academic advisor prior to registering for more than 9 credits.
  • Thesis committee (thesis option only) —formed prior to registering for more than 18 credits. Consists of the thesis advisor and at least two other mechanical engineering faculty members from WPI.

This schedule ensures that students are well advised throughout the program, and that students in the thesis option are actively engaged in their research at the early stages of their programs.

Thesis Defense

Each student in the thesis option must defend his/her research during an oral defense, which is administered by an examining committee that consists of the thesis committee and a representative of the mechanical engineering graduate committee who is not on the thesis committee. The defense is open to public participation and consists of a 30-minute presentation by the student followed by a 30-minute open discussion. At least one week prior to the defense each member of the examining committee must receive a copy of the thesis. One additional copy must be made available for members of the WPI community wishing to read the thesis prior to the defense. Public notification of the defense must be given by the mechanical engineering graduate secretary. The examining committee will determine the acceptability of the student’s thesis and oral performance. The thesis advisor will determine the student’s grade.

Changing M.S. Options

Students in the non-thesis M.S. option may switch into the thesis option at any time by notifying the mechanical engineering graduate committee of the change, provided that they have identified a thesis advisor, formed a thesis committee, and have worked out a Plan of Study with their thesis advisor. Subject to the thesis advisor’s approval, directed research credits (ME 598) earned in the non-thesis option may be transferred to thesis research credits (ME 599) in the thesis option.

Any student in the thesis option M.S. program may request a switch into the non-thesis option by submitting the request in writing to the mechanical engineering graduate committee. Before acting on such a request, the graduate committee will require and seriously consider written input from the student’s thesis advisor. Departmental financial aid given to the thesis-option students who are permitted to switch to the non-thesis option will automatically be withdrawn. Subject to the approval of the mechanical engineering graduate committee, a maximum of 9 credits of thesis research (ME 599) earned by a student in the thesis option may be transferred to directed research credit (ME 598) in the non-thesis option.

Ph.D. Program

The course of study leading to the Ph.D. degree in mechanical engineering requires the completion of 90 credits beyond the bachelor’s degree, or 60 credits beyond the master’s degree. For students proceeding directly from B.S. degree to Ph.D. degree, the 90 credits should be distributed as follows:

Coursework:  
 Courses in M.E. (incl. Special Topics and ISP)  15 credits
 Courses in or outside of M.E.  15 credits
 Dissertation Research (ME 699)  30 credits
Other:  
 Additional coursework
 Additional Dissertation Research (ME 699)
  Supplemental Research (ME 598, ME 698)
 30 credits
TOTAL  90 credits

For students proceeding from master’s to Ph.D. degree, the 60 credits should be distributed as follows: 

Coursework:
(incl. Special Topics and ISP)  12 credits
Dissertation Research (ME 699)  30 credits
Other:
Additional coursework
Additional Dissertation Research (ME 699)
Supplemental Research (ME 598, ME 698)
 18 credits
TOTAL  60 credits

In either case, the result of the dissertation research must be a completed doctoral dissertation. Only after admission to candidacy may a student receive credit toward dissertation research under ME 699. Prior to admission to candidacy, a student may receive up to 18 credits of predissertation research under ME 698. All full-time students are required to register for the graduate seminar (ME 591)every semester.

Academic Advising

Upon admission to the Doctoral Program, each student is assigned or may select a temporary advisor to arrange an academic plan covering the first 9 credits of study. This plan should be arranged before the first day of registration.

Prior to registering for any additional credits, the student must identify a permanent dissertation advisor who assumes the role of academic advisor and with whom a suitable dissertation topic and the remaining Plan of Study are arranged. Prior to completing 18 credits, the student must form a dissertation committee that consists of the dissertation advisor, at least two other mechanical engineering faculty members, and at least one member from outside the department. These committee members should be selected because of their abilities to assist in the student’s dissertation research.

The schedule of advising is as follows:

  • Temporary advisor—meets with student prior to first registration to plan first 9 credits of study.
  • Dissertation advisor—selected by student prior to registering for more than 9 credits.
  • Program of study—arranged with Dissertation advisor prior to registering for more than 9 credits.
  • Dissertation committee—formed by student prior to registering for more than 18 credits. Consists of dissertation advisor, at least two M.E. faculty, and at least one outside member.

This schedule ensures that students are well advised and actively engaged in their research at the early stages of their programs.

Admission to Candidacy

Admission to candidacy will be granted when the student has satisfactorily passed a written exam intended to measure fundamental ability in three of the following five curriculum areas: fluids engineering, dynamics and controls, structures and materials, design and manufacturing, and biomechanical engineering. The three areas are selected by the student. The exam is given in January. For students who enter the program with a bachelor’s degree, the exam must be taken after three semesters if they began their studies in the fall, and after two semesters if they began in the spring. For students who enter the program with a master’s degree, the exam must be taken after one semester if they began in the fall, and after two semesters if they began in the spring. Students in the M.S. program who plan to apply for fall admission to the Ph.D. program are strongly advised to take the candidacy exam in January before that fall. The details of the examination procedure can be obtained from the mechanical engineering graduate committee.

Dissertation Proposal

Each student must prepare a brief written proposal and make an oral presentation that demonstrates a sound understanding of the dissertation topic, the relevant literature, the techniques to be employed, the issues to be addressed, and the work done on the topic by the student to date. The proposal must be made within a year of admission to candidacy. Both the written and oral proposals are presented to the dissertation committee and a representative from the mechanical engineering graduate committee. The prepared portion of the oral presentation should not exceed 30 minutes, and up to 90 minutes should be allowed for discussion. If the dissertation committee and the graduate committee representative have concerns about either the substance of the proposal or the student’s understanding of the topic, then the student will have one month to prepare a second presentation that focuses on the areas of concern. This presentation will last 15 minutes with an additional 45 minutes allowed for discussion. Students can continue their research only if the proposal is approved.

Dissertation Defense

Each doctoral candidate is required to defend the originality, independence and quality of research during an oral dissertation defense that is administered by an examining committee that consists of the dissertation committee and a representative of the mechanical engineering graduate committee who is not on the dissertation committee. The defense is open to public participation and consists of a 45-minute presentation followed by a 45-minute open discussion. At least one week prior to the defense, each member of the examining committee must receive a copy of the dissertation. At the same time, an additional copy must be made available for members of the WPI community wishing to read the dissertation prior to the defense, and public notification of the defense must be given by the mechanical engineering graduate secretary. The examining committee will determine the acceptability of the student’s dissertation and oral performance. The dissertation advisor will determine the student’s grade.

The Combined Bachelor’s/Master’s Program

The Mechanical Engineering Department offers a B.S./Master’s program for currently enrolled WPI undergraduates. Students in the B.S./Master’s program may choose either the thesis or non-thesis M.S. option. The department’s rules for these programs vary somewhat from the Institute’s rules. For students in the B.S./Master’s program, a minimum of six credits and a maximum of twelve credits may be counted toward both the undergraduate and graduate degrees. At least six must be from graduate course credits (including graduate-level independent study and special topics courses), and none may be from courses lower than the 4000-level. No extra work is required in the 4000-level courses. A grade of B or better is required for any course to be counted toward both degrees.

The application for the B.S./Master’s program must include a list of courses that the applicant proposes to count toward both his/her undergraduate and graduate degrees. In most cases, the list consists of courses that the applicant will take in the senior year.

Applications will not be considered if they are submitted prior to the second half of the applicant’s junior year. Ideally, applications (including recommendations) should be completed by the early part of the last term (usually D-term) of the junior year.

Acceptance into the B.S./Master’s program means that the candidate is qualified for graduate school, and signifies approval of the courses listed for credit toward both the undergraduate and graduate degrees. However, admission is contingent upon the completion of six graduate credits (from the submitted list) with grades of B or better in each. If grades of C or lower are obtained in any other listed courses, then they are not counted toward the graduate degree, but the applicant is still admitted to the program.

Students in the B.S./Master’s program who choose the thesis M.S. option are encouraged to pick a thesis area of research that is closely related to the subject of their major qualifying project. Those students in the B.S./Master’s program who complete their B.S. degrees in May and choose the thesis option are encouraged to begin their thesis research during the summer immediately following graduation.

A detailed written description of the B.S./ Master’s program in mechanical engineering can be obtained from the mechanical engineering graduate secretary.

Mechanical Engineering Laboratories and Centers

The Mechanical Engineering Department provides a multidisciplinary research and education environment combining elements of mechanical engineering, manufacturing engineering and materials science. The facilities are housed in the Higgins Laboratories and Washburn Shops.

Aerodynamics Test Facility

The laboratory houses a low-speed, closed-return wind tunnel, with a test-section of 2' x 2' x 8'. The tunnel speed is continuously variable up to 180 ft/s. The temperature in the tunnel can be controlled via a controller and a heat exchanger in the settling chamber. The tunnel is equipped with a two-component dynamometer. Aerodynamic flows are studied in this laboratory with the aid of traditional pressure, temperature, and velocity sensors, as well as advanced optical instrumentation.

Biomechanics/Rehabilitation Engineering Laboratories

The Biomechanics and Rehabilitation Engineering Laboratories (HL 124, 127, 129) provide 2000 sq. ft. of modern laboratory space that supports courses with a focus on the design of assistive devices to aid persons with disabilities, biomechanics and biofluids Major Qualifying Projects (MQPs) and graduate student research. The laboratories also house the offices of the WPI Assistive Technology Resource Center and the WPI EPICS program (Engineering projects in Community Service). Major equipment includes a two-axis MTS Model 858 Mini Bionex testing machine, a benchtop tissue testing machine, a force plate and a hot wire anemometry system.

Casting Laboratory

The Advanced Casting Research Center of MPI (WB 009) is a laboratory dedicated to research and development of advanced casting processes and to the improvement of currently practiced casting processes. The ACRC research facilities covers 1,637 sq. ft. and include a casting laboratory with induction and resistance melting furnaces, besides specialized heat treating furnaces. The laboratories are provided with modern instrumentation for research and education in the field of materials science, such as mechanical properties facilities, metallographic equipment, thermal analyses (DTA and TGA), optical and electron microscopy facilities, and instrumentation for rheological characterization of metallic alloys in the semi-solid condition. Several workstations running commercial modeling packages are also available. These include Procast and Magma for simulation of casting processes and Thermocalc®, a thermodynamic simulation software widely used for undergraduate and graduate education in the field of materials science. At ACRC, WPI undergraduate students are offered unique learning opportunities through participation in actual research activities under supervision of graduate students and research staff members.

Center for Holographic Studies and Laser micro-mechaTronics

The laboratories of CHSLT cover over 2,800 sq. ft and are completely equipped and fully operational for educational and research activities. These activities range from fundamental studies of laser light interaction with materials to sophisticated applications in metrology. Research at the CHSLT is externally funded in areas relating to electronic packaging, high density separable electronic interconnections for high speed digital applications, radar technology, microelectronics, micromechanics, submarine technology, jet engine technology, MEMS, nanotechnology and picotechnology, to name a few. The laboratories are furnished with the state-of-the-art equipment. This equipment includes several systems containing He-Ne lasers, Ar-ion lasers, Nd:YAG lasers, nanosecond high energy pulsed laser, and diode lasers, as well as supporting instrumentation systems. In addition, the Nano-Indentation (NIN) system is being developed for studies of mechanical properties of materials in sub-micron geometries. The strengths of the CHSLT lie in a comprehensive utilization of laser technology, optics, computational methods, mechanical engineering, materials science and engineering, and computer data acquisition and processing. Building off of these strengths, greatly diversified projects in a number of areas of current interest are being conducted using the Center’s own unique and innovative methods.

Ceramic and Powder Processing Laboratory

This laboratory and the one below cover a suite of five rooms that total almost 2,000 sq. ft. between WB337-342 of Washburn Shops. The lab is equipped with a variety of powder preparation, processing and characterization equipment, as well as equipment for green body consolidation and sintering. Equipment includes roller mills, mixers, a low temperature drying oven, freeze dryer, cold press, various sintering furnaces capable of up to 1700C in air and controlled atmospheres, a differential thermal analyzer, X-ray sedigraph, and equipment for electrical property and density measurements.

CNC Laboratory

The CNC laboratory is located in the Washburn Shops Room 108 and covers 3,140 sq. ft. The focus of the CNC labs is to support the mission of WPI, by creating, discovering, and conveying knowledge at the frontiers of inquiry in CNC machining and education, as well as linking that new knowledge to applications; help students achieve self sufficiency in the use of CNC tools and technologies, so they can conceive, design, and create their own CNC machined parts for their projects. The vision of the CNC labs is to be the premier laboratory for CNC engineering education and research (applied and fundamental) in the world. Originally the Haas machines included a VF3, a VFOE and the SL20, that were entrusted to WPI in 2001 were swapped out in July of 2004. They were again replaced in the Fall of 2007 with two new vertical machining centers and a new lathe: VF4, and VF2SS, both with 5 axis capabilities, and a TL15 with a sub spindle. Also included in the CNC Laboratory are a DoAll vertical knee mill, DoAll 13 manual lathe, Southbend tool room lathe, ordinary shop equipment and tooling (drill press, arbor press, stand grinder, etc.), along with a Starrett DCC CMM, Starrett Manual CMM, O.S. Walker Machining Magnet and a Hahn Engineering force-feedback grinder.

The machine tools facilitate the realization, i.e. fabrication, of parts that students have designed on computers. The machine tools are important for supporting WPI’s project based-education. The machine tools are also be used in manufacturing engineering research, as well as to produce apparatus to support research efforts in other fields.

Computational Fluid and Plasmadynamics Laboratory

CFPL is a modern computational facility housed in HL236. It is used for graduate research and undergraduate projects in computational fluids, gas and plasma dynamics. The CFPL includes workstations, peripherals and data storage devices. CFPL has also a Linux cluster located in HL231, a specially designed computer facility. CFPL has access to Direct Simulation Monte Carlo, Particle-in-Cell, fluid dynamics, and MHD codes as well as visualization and data reduction software.

Control and Navigation of Multi-Vehicles Laboratory

The CaN-MuVe Laboratory, a 400 square feet facility housed in HL312, focuses on the construction, testing, and development of autonomous multi-vehicle systems for exploration missions. Exploration includes the navigation and acoustic imaging of underwater environments using underwater vehicles, surface vessels, and ground robots.

The main project now underway in the laboratory is the construction of an autonomous underwater vehicle. All major vehicle electronics are available. These include a PC104-based computer core. It was chosen to handle the main processing requirements of the vehicle. The particular main board chosen is the Cheetah (made by VersaLogic), which is a 1.6 GHz Intel Pentium M equipped module that is 3.6” by 3.8”. This microcomputer contains 1 GB of RAM, and 8GB solid state hard disk as well as a 60 GB spinning drive. Windows XP Embedded will be run on the processor. An analogue & digital input/output module for the PC104 bus is also available.

A 12 A brushless motor and an ElectriFly V-pitch propeller have been purchased for testing. Eight Groupner bow thrusters are also available for testing. Currently, a student group is working on the assembly and manufacturing of the thruster system, and the vehicle structure and body. The laboratory is equipped with a testing water tank, and the research group has permissions to use WPI’s swimming pool for testing purposes.

The lab is also equipped with two iRobot Create systems that include the iRobots, batteries, chargers, docks, command modules, virtual walls, BAMs, gumstix, wifistix, robostix and serial interface connector. This system is used to test cooperative coverage control algorithms developed by Prof. Hussein’s research group.

The CaN-MuVe laboratory also has the following general purpose items: ATX power supply, a Quanser Q4 hardware in the loop board and a WinCon 5.0 real-time rapid control prototyping software.

Design Studio

The Higgins Design Studio (HL 234) and the Computer Classroom (HL 230) are both part of the Keck Design Center on the second floor of Higgins Laboratories. Lecture/ laboratories in a variety of mechanical design and manufacturing courses are conducted in these labs. The labs are also available to students for general-purpose computational work on projects and coursework when not being used for instruction.

The 1600 sq. ft. Higgins Design Studio contains nineteen (19) high-end Linux workstations (Dell Precision, 2 Duo core CPUs, 4GB RAM, 24” Monitor) running software for mechanical design including parametric solid modeling (Pro/Engineer, Unigraphics, Ideas), structural, thermal, fluid and dynamic analysis (ANSYS, Abaqus, Nastran, Patran, Fluent, Comsol) and general purpose applications (Tecplot, Mathematica, MatLab, Maple). The Design Studio is connected to the campus network to allow for design collaboration through teleconferencing and exchange of design models to design partners and manufacturing facilities. Auxiliary equipment includes two laser printers and and 2 E-size color printer/plotter. In 2007-2008, the Design Studio supported ES3323 Advanced CAD (80-90 students) and ME3820 Computer-Aided Manufacturing (50-60 students). In addition, approximately 50 MQP teams and many Masters and PHD students utilized the lab. The lab is also the primary location for the new program in Scientific and Engineering software Applications training program.

The 1440 sq. ft. Computer Classroom contains forty (40) Windows XPDell Optiplex 745 workstations (Intel E6300 Dual core CPU, 2GB of RAM, 20” monitor)) and two laser printers. In addition to all of the software available on the WPI campus network, locally installed software includes Solidworks, AuotCAD, Matlab, Maple, Mathcad, TK Solver, Thermal Analysis software and VisualStudio .Net.

Discovery Classroom and Laboratory

The Discovery Classroom (HL 216) is an educational facility unique to WPI. In this 1,000 plus sq. ft. facility a state-of-the-art multimedia classroom is combined with an adjoining experimental laboratory to create an environment which emphasizes an integrated approach to engineering education. Classroom exercises, which combine analytical, computational, and experimental approaches in solving engineering problems, are made possible through this facility. For example, experiments can be set-up in a small portable wind tunnel in the Discovery Classroom Laboratory. The wind tunnel is then easily moved into the multi-media classroom for direct use in engineering lectures. Quantitative data from the wind tunnel experiments are immediately compared in-class to predictions from aerodynamic-based software, and to concurrently developed theory from lectures. The wind tunnel can then moved back into the Discovery Classroom Laboratory for follow-up, hands-on laboratory exercises by the students. Other fluid dynamic and heat transfer apparatus such as a hydrodynamic bench, a laminar flow table, and heat transfer experiments (radial and axial conduction, forced convection, tube-in-tube heat exchangers, and radiation apparatus) are also housed in the laboratory, and used in a similar manner. The American Society of Engineers (ASME) has awarded WPI a national Curriculum Innovation Award – Honorable Mention in 2001 for this approach.

Fluid and Plasmadynamics Laboratory

The FPL is located in HL314 and covers 500 sq. ft. It consists of several vacuum chambers and specialized test facilities for the investigation of onboard propulsion, electrospray sources (for both propulsion and nano-fabrication applications), plume/spacecraft interactions and microfluidics research. The laboratory includes an 18-inch diameter, 30-inch tall stainless steel vacuum chamber equipped with a 6-inch diffusion pump backed by a 17 cfm mechanical pump. The system is capable of an ultimate pressure in the low 10-6 Torr range. This chamber is used primarily for study of electrospray sources.

For microfluidics research, FPL includes a calibrated flow system for delivery of liquid flowrates in the range of 75 – 250 micrograms/sec for studies of two phase flows in microchannels. Imaging of these flows is accomplished with a high-resolution monochrome progressive scan Pulnix-1325 camera with computer based image-capture and processing software. FPL includes a variety of tools and specialized instrumentation including oscilloscopes, precision source meter, electrometer and digital multimeters. Data from these instruments is collected and stored on computer using a LabView based data acquisition system.

Fluid Dynamics Laboratory

This 400 sq. ft. laboratory is housed in HL 311. It is used for graduate research and educational activities in fluid dynamics. It houses a low speed, low turbulence wind tunnel facility with a one-foot square test section which is used for experiments on low Reynolds number aerodynamics related to biologically inspired flight, and fluid-structure interaction. These systems are of practical importance in many aero- and hydrodynamic systems, such as mciroair vehicles and flow-induced vibration of flexible cables Standard equipment such as vibration shakers, hot-wire anemometry systems, spectral analyzers, digital oscilloscopes and data acquisition systems are also used in the laboratory.

Heat Treating and Furnace Laboratory

This laboratory (WB 345) is equipped with a variety of furnaces for the heat treatment of metals and ceramics. In addition, the CHTE quenching laboratory is housed in this space and is equipped with a variety of fully instrumented quench probes and data acquisition systems.

Intelligent Systems, Structures and Machines Laboratory

The ISSM is a 400 sq. ft. facility housed in HL312, has state-of-the art data acquisition and control capabilities for experimental verification of control algorithms as applied to autonomous systems, intelligent machines and smart structures . Applications include structural, structural-acoustic, fluid-structure, thermal, thermoacoustic and mechatronics systems as applied in aerospace, mechanical, chemical and civil engineering.

Equipment include a dSPACE® ACE-1103 kit with DS1103 PPC Controller Board (8 analog outputs, 20 analog inputs, 6 encoder inputs), a dSPACE® ACE kit 1102 and two QUANSER® Hardware-in-The-loop Board with WinCon 4.1 Real-Time Control Software along with their dedicated PCs. To validate real-time vibration control experiments the ISSM lab has a TMC® active vibration isolation table (TMC® model 63-563), four single-channel ACX®-EL1224 high voltage/low amps power amplifiers, one double-channel Krohn-hite® (model 7602M) power amplifier, one six-channel rack mounted PCB® (model 790A06) power amplifier for piezoceramic patch actuation and an HP dynamic signal analyzer (model 35665A). Five BK precision® (model 1761) power supplies and a Kepco® power supply (model ATE 55-10DM) are available to provide a range of power supply requirements, and five BK precision® (model 5492) digital multimeters are available for testing of electronic components.

Acceleration, velocity and strain measurements, are made possible via accelerometers. ISSM has five miniature (0.5g) ceramic shear ICP accelerometers (PCB® model U352C22), a four-channel PCB® signal conditioner (model 442C04) with gain 1x, 10x, 100x, and one PCB® dual-mode vibration amplifier (velocity or position) single channel (model 443B01). A PCB® ICP microphone is also available for pressure measurements.For calibration and signal conditioning, ISSM has a Krohn-hite® Low-Pass/High-Pass Butterworth/Bessel 4-Channel Filter (model 3364), a PCB® handheld shaker for accelerometer calibration, a 4-channel PCB® line-powered sensor signal conditioner with gain 1x,10x and 100x, one PCB® modally tuned Impact Hammer kit for vibration testing, and one dual-mode PCB® vibration amplifier (velocity or position) single-channel (model 443B101). In addition, ISSM has an Agilent® 20Mhz Function/Arbitrary waveform generator (model 33220A) and dedicated workstations for control design and implementation accessing Matlab®’s Real-Time Workshop, Optimization, Linear Matrix Inequalities and Robust Control toolboxes.

In addition, the ISSM lab has seven iRobot® Create programmable robots equipped each with a bluetooth adapter module (BAM) for complete wireless control and their own advanced power system batteries. A bluetooth USB radio provide remote communication with the iRobot® Create programmable robot and the BAM. This wireless mobile sensor network is used for verification of moving source detection schemes as applied to biochemical source detection and containment, and intrusion detection in enclosed spaces. Added to these mobile robots, is an autonomous battery-powered helicopter equipped with its own IMU unit and has the ability to communicate with the iRobot® mobile sensor network in order to create a heterogeneous sensor network.

Mechanical Aerospace Engineering Controls Laboratory

The MAEC lab is located in an 880 sq. ft. facility in HL 248 and serves the experimental component of the controls and advanced dynamics courses. It has four stations each equipped with a dSPACE ACE 1104 kit with DS1104 R&D Controller Board, an Instek® function generator (model CFG-8219A), a Comdyna (GP-6) analog computer and a Tektronix (model TDS2012) digital storage oscilloscope.

Mechanical Energy and Power Systems Laboratory

The Mechanical Energy and Power Systems Laboratory (HL 124) provides 700 sq. ft. of modern laboratory space for research towards improving the efficiency of energy generation, transfer, and storage. The laboratory is equipped with data acquisition equipment, a hydraulic test stand, prototyping parts and equipment, mechanical and electrical tools, power supplies, sensors, and meters. The facility is equipped with a fume hood, compressed air, vacuum, water, and 220 VAC power.

Mechanical Testing Laboratory

The 1,497 sq. ft. Mechanical Testing Laboratory (WB 113) has three state-of-the-art Instron materials test systems. They are Instron 8502, Instron 8511, and Instron 5500 with an Instron environmental chamber. The three systems can be used to evaluate the mechanical properties and performance of metals, plastics, composites, textiles, ceramics, rubber, biomedical, and adhesives.

The two 8500 series servo-hydraulic testing systems are designed for use in dynamic/fatigue testing of a wide range of materials and components. They can apply loads to the specimen in the range of up to +/- 250 kN. Test specimens can be cycled from very low rates to frequencies as high as 200 Hz or more. Displacement amplitudes range from a few micro-meters to over 250 mm. Specifically, the Fast- TrackTM 8800™ Digital Controller with multi-axis fatigue testing capabilities and high performance HS488 GPIB interface, offers an expandable architecture ideal for the most demanding applications. Additionally, high speed, digital electronics provide the tight, continuously self-correcting action required to assure the controlled parameter conforms precisely to the desired test program.

The Instron 5500 testing system provides comprehensive, versatile solutions for the broadest range of materials testing requirements. It features advanced digital electronics, combined with robust load frames and drive systems, to provide high accuracy and reliable performance. The system utilizes important safety features and innovative test and control software to make even the most complex testing applications easy to set up and operate.

The Instron environmental chamber provides advanced high/low temperature and environmental systems. It features special window design to ensure optimal performance from Instron’s optical extensometers, and covers a temperature range from -150 to 600°C (-240 to 1110°F). It is designed for use in both static and dynamic testing of a wide range of materials and components including plastics, metals, elastomers, paper, textiles and composites.

MEMS Fabrication Laboratory

The MEMS Fabrication Laboratory is located on the ground floor in the Higgins Laboratory.

This state-of-the-art process facility has been developed as a center of excellence in device technologies for silicon and various compound semiconductor materials. The facility will cover education and research in areas of microelectronics, optoelectronics, integrated sensors, and MEMS technology based devices.

The MEMS Fabrication Laboratory is a Class 100 facility with approximately 500 square feet of floor space, including the gowning area. It is equipped with instrumentations to support photolithography, thermal deposition and oxidation, wet chemistry, metrology, and wafer bonding. The MEMS Fabrication Laboratory has, in place, protocols for handling a broad range of chemicals and gases.

A separate, but contiguous, research laboratory has characterization facilities that include microscopy, profilometry, and optoelectronic holography (OEH). Further characterization facilities are available through the laboratories using SEM, AFM, and X-Ray Diffraction that provide necessary metrology capabilities for the devices that are fabricated.

The MEMS Fabrication Laboratory is one of the most secure laboratories on campus and has the capability to serve a diverse community of users and research disciplines.

Microflow Laboratory

This 400 sq. ft. laboratory is housed in HL311. It consists of a vacuum chamber and specialized equipment for the investigation of gaseous and plasma microflows, with application to microsensors, microdevices, and micropropulsion. The laboratory includes an 18-inch diameter, 30-inch tall stainless steel vacuum chamber. The MFL includes a variety of tools and specialized instrumentation including oscilloscopes, precision source meter, electrometer and digital multimeters.

Nanofabrication and Nanomanufacturing Laboratory

This new laboratory located in the Washburn Shops (WB337) is equipped with facilities for advanced research in the areas of bottom-up nanofabrication through uniform self-assembly, nano-bioscience, and characterization of nanomaterials and biomaterials.

The 558 sq. ft. laboratory is furnished with the following equipment: Anodization, electrodeposition, electroless deposition workstations, a chemical vapor deposition system, Fisher Scientific Isotemp tissue culture incubator, UV-visible spectrophotometer, BAS electrochemical workstation, Millipore filtration system, Standard equipment to synthesize and process nanomaterials and biomaterials such as a chemical fume hood, a water purification system, an analytical balance, a micro centrifuge, low temperature storage, water baths, stirring hotplates, a pH meter, a ultrasonic cleaner, and a programmable heavy duty muffle furnace.

The research carried out in the laboratory includes; Fabrication of highly-ordered nanomaterials, such as metal nanowires, metal and ceramic nanodots, carbon nanotubes, protein nanotubes, and organic-ceramic nanocomposites; Investigation of the cell-nanostructured substrata interactions to understand how nanostructured extracellular matrix molecules regulate cell growth and differentiation; Study of the mechanical, thermal, electrical and optical properties of uniform and complex nanomaterials for novel applications.

Optical and Electron Metallography Laboratories

The Materials Characterization Laboratory (MCL) includes 327 sq. ft. housed in HL047 offers a range of analytical techniques in the area of electron microscopy (JEOL 7000F LV and JEOL 840 scanning electron microscopes, and JEOL 100 CXII transmission electron microscope), x-ray diffraction (GE-XRD-5 diffractometer), and optical microscopy (conventional and inverted), physical property determination (hardness and micro indentation hardness), and materials processing (specimen preparation, heat treatment, metal evaporation and sputtering).

The JEOL-7000F thermal field-emission gun SEM (HL047) has a unique-in-the-lens TFEG design, enabling high probe current at lower voltage in a small spot size. It is equipped with an Oxford Energy 250 Energy Dispersive X-ray Microanalysis System with Analytical Drift Detector. The high probe current and the high x-ray detection efficiency of the Analytical Drift Detector make the routine analytical work much faster. The JEOL-840 (WB245) is a general purpose high-performance, low cost scanning electron microscope with excellent Secondary Electron Imaging and Backscattered Electron Imaging resolution. The specimen chamber can accommodate a specimen of up to 100 mm in diameter. The 840 SEM is equipped with Kevex energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy system, making it suitable for microstructural and chemical analysis of advanced materials.

The JEOL-100CXII (WB248) is a conventional TEM, optimized for diffraction contrast imaging and electron diffraction studies. It operates at energy up to 100kV. A double tilt holder is available with +-60 degrees of X tilt and +-36 degrees of Y tilt. The TEM is used for microstructural and crystallographic studies of a wide variety of materials including metal alloys, polymers, nanostructured materials, and biomaterials.

The GE-XRD-5 diffractometer (WB231) is a polycrystalline diffraction system, which can be used for crystal structure determination, precise lattice parameter measurements, phase diagram determination, determination of crystalline size and strain, quantitative analysis of powder mixtures, and residual stress analysis. A variety of software, including background modeling, peak searching, curve fitting et al and x-ray tube targets are available to provide a wide x-ray analysis capability.

A suite of optical microscopes (WB245, 342) are available for microstructural characterization needs, which include one Nikon EPIPHOT inverted microscope with a Nikon Digital Sight DS-U1 digital image collecting system, two aus JENA inverted microscopes, three Nikon conventional optical microscopes, one Leitz Metallux II conventical microscope, and one Unitron ME-1510 microscope.

Three Rockwell hardness testers, one Shimadzu HMV-2000 digital microindentation hardness tester, and a Buehler MMT-3 digital microindentation hardness tester (WB342) are available for hardness evaulaton of materials from soft Al alloys to hard steel and ceramics.

A full set of specimen preparation tools are available. These include cutting, slicing, mounting, grinding and polishing. The available machines including one Buehler 12”-wheel cut-off machine, two Mark V CS600 cutters(WB253), two Buehler Isomet 11-1180 low speed saw(WB341), two Buehler Simplimet II mounting presses(WB253), one Buehler EcometIV automatic grinder-polisher, two Buehler Metaserv 2000 grinder-polishers, three Ecomet 5 two-speed grinder-polishers, 3 Century E-plus grinder-polisher, three Buehler Vibromet I polishers, and one Buehler Electromet 4 polisher-etcher(WB341).

Polymer Engineering Laboratory

The equipment include Perkin Elmer Thermal Analysis systems Model DSC4, DSC7, DTA1400, and TGA7; single screw tabletop extruder, injection molding facilities, polymer synthesis apparatuses, oil bath furnaces, heat treating ovens, and foam processing and testing devices.

Robotics Laboratory

The Robotics Laboratory, a 1,915 sq. ft. facility, is located on the first floor of the Washburn Building (WB107). It is equipped with a variety of industrial robots, machine tools and other equipment. The industrial robots, for which the Robotics Laboratory is named, are run primarily during the laboratory sessions of the Industrial Robotics course and graduate researchers. In addition to a small manual milling area, the two largest CNC milling machines in the Haas Technical Center are housed in the Robotics Laboratory. Students working in groups and under the supervision of the lab manager regularly perform complex project machine work using both the manual and CNC machine tools.

Industrial Robots: The robots in the laboratory include: two Fanuc A510b SCARA robots with RH controls, two Adept One SCARA robots with VALII controls, one Puma 761 Clean Room edition six axis jointed robot with a Unimate controller, and one Asea IRB60.

Surface Metrology Laboratory

This laboratory is located in WB243 and covers 153 sq. ft. The lab is dedicated to advancing the understanding of the formation, behavior, measurement and analysis of surface roughness. The lab has pioneered technological development and industrial applications of scale-sensitive fractal analyses, a method invented and patented by Prof. Brown and co-workers. The lab has studied a broad range of surfaces including hard drives, cutting tools, skin, teeth, food, rocks, skis, pills, pavements, tires, bullets, and industrial diamonds. The lab has developed advanced techniques for differentiating surfaces based on texture measurements and for finding the scales at which the differentiation can be made.

Graduate and students typically work together on a variety of projects. Recent projects include characterizing scratches on teeth supported by the NSF, surface of pill compacts supported by Pfizer, fractography of chocolate, and the structure of ground ski bases. Current projects include the measurement of paper, granite, skin, teeth, works of art, and grinding wheels, and the determination of uncertainty, and noise control and management in surface measurements.

Vacuum Test Facility (VTF)

Also located in the Aerospace Laboratory is the Vacuum Test Facility (VTF). The VTF is designed to support ongoing research and educational activities requiring a controlled vacuum environment. The cornerstone of this facility is a 50 in diameter, 72 in long stainless steel vacuum chamber which will enable the creation of a vacuum environment for use in the characterization of electric and chemical thruster performance, investigation of neutral and ionized gas plume expansion in a vacuum, and testing of avionics for nanosatellites designed to operate in a vacuum environment.

The pumping system for the VTF includes a rotary mechanical pump, positive displacement blower combination capable of providing substantial pumping speed (>560 liters/sec ) at low vacuum (10-2 - 10-3 Torr). This pump pair can be used for tests requiring relatively high mass flow rates, such as plume measurements on micro- chemical thrusters. For tests of electric thrusters where lower pressures (higher vacuum) are required, the mechanical pump would be used initially to pump the system down to the milli-Torr pressure range. Pumping would then transition to a 20” cryopump which can provide up to 10,000 liters/s (on N2) at pressures less than 10-6 Torr.

 
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