2022 Research Projects

Projects are posted below; new projects will continue to be posted. To learn more about the type of research conducted by undergraduates, view the 2021 Research Symposium Abstracts (PDF) and search the past SURF projects.

This is a list of research projects that may have opportunities for undergraduate students. Please note that it is not a complete list of every SURF project. Undergraduates will discover other projects when talking directly to Purdue faculty.

You can browse all the projects on the list or view only projects in the following categories:


Material Modeling and Simulation (35)

 

3D-Printing of concrete: Design of extrusion components and 3D-printing of large-scale structural elements 

Professor:
Jan Olek
Preferred major(s):
  • No Major Restriction

Objective: To assist in the design of components for 3D extrusion systems and in 3D-printing of structural concrete elements.

Motivation: 3D-printing of concrete represents an alternative for the construction of infrastructure at different scales using automated techniques to reduce the manufacturing costs, reduce waste and allow for formwork-free construction. One of the current research project performed at Lyles School of Civil Engineering by the Purdue Concrete 3D-Printing team (in collaboration with an industrial partner) is exploring the viability of 3D-printing structures designed for marine environments that will contribute to the generation of renewable energy. This state-of-the-art project looks to manufacture components that can withstand the extreme conditions associated with marine environments. Still, the 3D-printing process is a complex system that requires a careful integration of equipment, materials, and processes to produce high-quality structures. Therefore, the exploration and implementation of alternatives for parts and components that facilitate the control of material extrusion as well as the characteristics of the material during this process is required.

Activities and responsibilities of the student:

· To become intimately familiar with various components of a 3D-printing system and the printing process of cementitious materials.

· To design parts, components and mechanisms required for the control of the geometry of 3D-printed filaments.

· To produce technical drawings and manufacturing recommendations for the parts needed.

· To assist with the 3D-printing activities during fabrication of large-scale structural elements

· To present the results of the work performed during SURF program to the research group during the weekly project meetings.

· To prepare a report summarizing the design and printing activities performed during the SURF program.

· To disseminate the results of the research experience as required by the SURF program.

 

AAMP UP- Adhesion of Printed Energetic Materials  

Professor:
Stephen Beaudoin
Preferred major(s):
  • No Major Restriction
Desired experience:
Must be a U.S. citizen, national, or permanent resident of the United States. Must have completed at least one academic semester of full-time study at associate's or bachelor's degree level from an accredited college or university.

This project is part of the AAMP-UP '22 program, which focuses on energetic material research.
AAMP-UP is separate but highly partnered with SURF.

The project is run by Dr. Stephen Beaudoin and his team. Additively manufactured energetic materials do not adhere to themselves and casings with sufficient strength to survive gun launch. This project is focused on assessing the properties of the energetic composites that dictate how strongly the composites adhere to themselves and to their casings. The measurements will be made by cutting the composites and measuring the force required to initiate and propagate a crack, and also by using atomic force microscopy to measure directly the adhesion between energetic particles and binders and casings.

More information: https://engineering.purdue.edu/ChE/people/ptProfile?resource_id=11574

 

AAMP UP- Effect of the Microstructure on the Response of Energetic Materials 

Professor:
Marisol Koslowski
Preferred major(s):
  • No Major Restriction
Desired experience:
Python knowledge. Must be a U.S. citizen, national, or permanent resident of the United States. Must have completed at least one academic semester of full-time study at associate's or bachelor's degree level from an accredited college or university.

This project is part of the AAMP-UP '22 program, which focuses on energetic material research.
AAMP-UP is separate but highly partnered with SURF.

The project is run by Dr. Marisol Koslowski and her team. In this project we will quantify the effect of microstructure on the detonation of HMX and RDX. The student will collect experimental data from literature and will work in collaboration with a PhD student to generate geometries that will be used in detonation simulations.

Students must be familiar with Python.

More information: https://engineering.purdue.edu/ME/People/ptProfile?resource_id=29264

 

AAMP UP- Explosives Fabrication and Experiments 

Professor:
Steven Son
Preferred major(s):
  • No Major Restriction
Desired experience:
Must be a U.S. citizen, national, or permanent resident of the United States. Must have completed at least one academic semester of full-time study at associate's or bachelor's degree level from an accredited college or university.

This project is part of the AAMP-UP '22 program, which focuses on energetic material research.
AAMP-UP is separate but highly partnered with SURF.

The project is run by Dr. Steven Son and his team. The research topic seeks to explore the high-rate mechanics of energetic materials under impact or shock or detonation. It will involve advanced sample preparation, including microscale machining of energetic materials, as well as high rate experiments. The student would work closely with Research Scientists and graduate students to design experiments, perform experiments, analyze data, and report/share these results.

More information: https://engineering.purdue.edu/ME/People/ptProfile?resource_id=29385

 

AAMP UP- Extrusion Studies to Understand 3D Printing Parameters 

Professor:
Steve Son
Preferred major(s):
  • No Major Restriction
Desired experience:
Must be a U.S. citizen, national, or permanent resident of the United States. Must have completed at least one academic semester of full-time study at associate's or bachelor's degree level from an accredited college or university.

This project is part of the AAMP-UP '22 program, which focuses on energetic material research.
AAMP-UP is separate but highly partnered with SURF.

The project is run by Dr. Steve Son and his team. The objective of this project would be to determine the similarity of mass flow rate for a variety of inert materials and ammonium perchlorate (AP) for multi-modal size distributions. The undergraduate student would gain experience researching relevant literature, mixing samples, designing experiments, and analyzing the data for the mock materials as well as assisting with the same tests using energetic materials.

More information: https://engineering.purdue.edu/ME/People/ptProfile?resource_id=29385

 

AAMP UP- Machine Learning Applied to Explosives 

Professor:
Steven Son
Preferred major(s):
  • No Major Restriction
Desired experience:
Some experience w/ coding, AI, or ML recommended. Must be a U.S. citizen, national, or permanent resident of the United States. Must have completed at least one academic semester of full-time study at associate's or bachelor's degree level from an accredited college or university.

This project is part of the AAMP-UP '22 program, which focuses on energetic material research.
AAMP-UP is separate but highly partnered with SURF.

The project is run by Dr. Steven Son and his team. Machine learning (ML) tools are playing an increasingly important role in science and engineering, revealing patterns and providing predictive capabilities not achievable otherwise. This research area explores the utility of machine learning algorithms in the design, development, and characterization of various energetic material systems. Particular emphasis is placed on bringing a data science formalism to the field, with an eye toward both future capability development and more intelligent (and appreciably faster) material formulation and system design. The REU student would work closely with a Research Scientist and graduate student to gather data, analyze it using ML tools, and share these results.

Some experience w/ coding, AI, or ML recommended.

More information: https://engineering.purdue.edu/ME/People/ptProfile?resource_id=29385

 

AAMP UP- Multifunctional Energetic Materials 

Professor:
Steven Son
Preferred major(s):
  • No Major Restriction
Desired experience:
Must be a U.S. citizen, national, or permanent resident of the United States. Must have completed at least one academic semester of full-time study at associate's or bachelor's degree level from an accredited college or university.

This project is part of the AAMP-UP '22 program, which focuses on energetic material research.
AAMP-UP is separate but highly partnered with SURF.

The project is run by Dr. Steve Son and his team. Piezoelectric energetic materials (piezoenergetics or PEMs) offer the potential for a new generation of smart propellants and pyrotechnics with multifunctional capabilities that can be actively controlled via external stimuli. However, the fundamental physics and chemistry governing energy transfer, energy repartitioning, and chemical reactions/kinetics resulting from external stimulation of PEMs are not well understood. It is envisioned that, by coupling piezoelectric behavior and nanoenergetics, truly smart and switchable materials can result. Specifically, we envision reactive piezoelectric materials with multifunctional properties with reactivity and microstructure that can be controlled and altered by external stimuli including stress, temperature, or electromagnetic fields; while enabling integrated in situ sensing. The REU student would be mentored by two graduate students and would design experiments, perform those experiments, collect data and present/share those results.

More information: https://engineering.purdue.edu/ME/People/ptProfile?resource_id=29385

 

AAMP UP- Novel Fuels in Energetic Materials 

Professor:
Steven Son
Preferred major(s):
  • No Major Restriction
Desired experience:
Must be a U.S. citizen, national, or permanent resident of the United States. Must have completed at least one academic semester of full-time study at associate's or bachelor's degree level from an accredited college or university.

This project is part of the AAMP-UP '22 program, which focuses on energetic material research.
AAMP-UP is separate but highly partnered with SURF.

The project is run by Dr. Steven Son and his team. High density fuels, typically metals, are commonly added to propellants and explosives to improve their performance, as well as other factors such as sensitivity and toxicity. Other novel fuels could include solvated electrons (dissolved metals in ammonia, for example). This research topic explores the development, small-scale manufacturing, and characterization of high-density fuels in energetic materials. Particular emphasis is placed on emergent material systems, such as aluminum-lithium alloys, oxide-free coated nano-aluminum, and mechanically activated (MA) fuels. The REU student would work closely with Research Scientists and graduate students to design experiments, perform experiments, analyze data, and report/share these results.

More information: https://engineering.purdue.edu/ME/People/ptProfile?resource_id=29385

 

AAMP UP- Reactive Wires to Tailor Propellant Burning Rate 

Professor:
Steven Son
Preferred major(s):
  • No Major Restriction
Desired experience:
Must be a U.S. citizen, national, or permanent resident of the United States. Must have completed at least one academic semester of full-time study at associate's or bachelor's degree level from an accredited college or university.

This project is part of the AAMP-UP '22 program, which focuses on energetic material research.
AAMP-UP is separate but highly partnered with SURF.

The project is run by Dr. Steven Son and his team. Of the many techniques that have been employed to increase burning rates, embedding thermally-conductive and/or reactive wires appears to be the approach to do so without increasing sensitivity. We are utilizing our additive manufacturing capabilities, including vibration assisted printing (VAP), to produce both the wires and the propellant. These “wires” may not actually be metals, but include thermally conductive materials such as graphene. The objective of this project is to use both fused deposition modeling (FDM) and direct writing 3D printing techniques to tailor the surface area of propellants dynamically using conductive and reactive wire deposition. The REU student would work closely with Research Scientists and graduate students to design experiments, perform experiments, analyze data, and report/share these results.

More information: https://engineering.purdue.edu/ME/People/ptProfile?resource_id=29385

 

AAMP UP- Sample Heating using Infrared Laser and Optics 

Professor:
Wayne Chen
Preferred major(s):
  • No Major Restriction
Desired experience:
Must be a U.S. citizen, national, or permanent resident of the United States. Must have completed at least one academic semester of full-time study at associate's or bachelor's degree level from an accredited college or university.

This project is part of the AAMP-UP '22 program, which focuses on energetic material research.
AAMP-UP is separate but highly partnered with SURF.

The project is run by Dr. Wayne Chen and his team. Mechanical properties are important metrics that provide insight for different engineering applications ranging from chemical bonding type on an atomic scale to macroscale design applications. However, research shows that mechanical properties can change as a function of strain rate (impact velocity) and temperature. Therefore, it is necessary to test materials and gather properties while replicating the environment they will endure in application to best inform researchers and engineers in the material design process. A Kolsky bar apparatus is used to perform mechanical testing on materials at high strain rates. This experimental technique has been used for the last ~50 years and has resulted in many materials characterization papers. Missing from the literature is temperature dependence of mechanical properties at high strain rates. We would like a student interested in lasers and optics to design and build an infrared laser device that will evenly heat a polymer composite sample to a specified temperature. The device must attach to the Kolsky bar apparatus and be both safe and efficient. This will allow for coupled temperature and strain rate mechanical experiments and extrapolation of the temperature effects of different materials.

An understanding of laser and optics would be beneficial but is not required.

More information: https://engineering.purdue.edu/AAE/people/ptProfile?resource_id=1261

 

AAMP UP- Ultrasonically Additive Manufactured Multifunctional Material Systems for SHM 

Professor:
James Gibert
Preferred major(s):
  • No Major Restriction
Desired experience:
MATLAB, Data Acquisition, some machining knowledge. Must be a U.S. citizen, national, or permanent resident of the United States. Must have completed at least one academic semester of full-time study at associate's or bachelor's degree level from an accredited college or university.

This project is part of the AAMP-UP '22 program, which focuses on energetic material research.
AAMP-UP is separate but highly partnered with SURF.

The project is run by Dr. James Gibert and his team. Ultrasonic Additive Manufacturing (UAM) machine consists of an ultrasonic horn, also known as the sonotrode, transducers, a heater, and a movable base. The process begins with the placement of a thin metal foil, on a sacrificial base plate bolted on a heated anvil. The foil is compressed under pressure by the rolling sonotrode, which is also excited by the piezoelectric transducers at a constant frequency with amplitudes ranging on the order of microns in a direction transversal to the rolling motion. Once the first layer is bonded, additional layers are added and can be machined as needed until the desired geometry and dimensions of a feature are realized.
The ADAMs lab is currently exploring techniques to create multi-functional material systems utilizing UAM. Candidate projects include embedded piezoelectric actuator for sensing applications and shape memory alloy sheets to create localized structural changes in a metal skin. Other potential projects are the creation of metal structures beam with magno-elastic properties. One embodiment is the creation of composite aluminum beams elastomer core filled with magnetic materials. Different configurations of magnetic materials will be explored to create structures that buckle or stiffen in the presence of magnetic fields.

Preferably, students would have MATLAB, Data Acquisition, and some machining knowledge.

More information: https://engineering.purdue.edu/ME/People/ptProfile?resource_id=127242

 

AAMP-UP: Additive Manufacturing 

Professor:
Jeff Rhoads
Preferred major(s):
  • No Major Restriction
Desired experience:
U.S. Citizenship Required Must have completed 1 semester of undergraduate courses

This research project seeks to additively manufacture (3D print) highly viscous materials using a novel 3D-printing method: Vibration Assisted Printing (VAP). This technique uses high frequency vibrations concentrated at the tip of the printing nozzle to enable flow of viscous materials at low pressures and temperatures. VAP has the potential to create next-generation munitions with more precision, customizability, and safety than traditional additive manufacturing methods. The objective of this project is to design formulations which are capable of being vibration-assisted printed, maintain energetic performance, and retain desirable mechanical properties after printing. The REU student would be mentored by graduate students and work within a team to design experiments, perform experiments, analyze data, and disseminate the results. The REU student will have the opportunity to present the findings in regular meetings, poster sessions, formal presentations, and papers.

More information: https://engineering.purdue.edu/ME/People/ptProfile?resource_id=34218

 

Additive manufacturing to enable hypersonic flight 

Professor:
Michael Sangid
Preferred major(s):
  • Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Materials Engineering
Desired experience:
Background includes: 1.) Required background in (a) CAD software and (b) either Python (preferred) or Matlab programming familiarity. 2.) Preferred background in finite element analysis. 3.) Due to work with controlled information, US Citizenship or Legal US Permanent Resident status is required.

The overall project will develop and mature high temperature materials, new additive manufacturing processes, and joining technologies to provide structural solutions to hypersonics components and sub-systems. While the overall projects will be interdisciplinary in nature, students are invited to work on specific aspects of this project, including (i) materials modeling of metals, ceramics, and composites, in order to support a digital twin of the aircraft, (ii) the digital flow of information through the product lifecycle, and (iii) the design and development of high temperature, controlled environmental testing facilities.

More information: https://engineering.purdue.edu/hypersonics

 

Admixture Compatibility of Eleven Nontraditional and Natural Pozzolans in Cementitious Composites 

Professor:
Jan Olek
Preferred major(s):
  • No Major Restriction

Objective: To assist in evaluating admixture compatibility of eleven nontraditional and natural pozzolans in cementitious composites.

Motivation: It is expected that in the near future, the demand for traditional supplementary cementitious materials (SCMs) will surpass its supply. These traditional SCMs can increase sustainability in addition to ensuring high performance and durability in cementitious composites. Finding alternative SCMs that can fulfill the supply gap while also adequately performing in cementitious composites is therefore critical. One of the current research projects performed at Lyles School of Civil Engineering by Purdue University (in collaboration with Penn State and Clarkson University) is exploring the effect of eleven nontraditional and natural pozzolans (NNPs) on cementitious systems. Currently, there is limited knowledge of whether these NNPs are capable of satisfactory performance in cementitious composites. More specifically, the response of these NNPs to commercially available chemical admixtures such as superplasticizers (SP) and air-entraining agents (AEA) is not well known. The usage of SP and AEA admixtures is fairly common as they decrease the water demand and increase durability respectively. Therefore, the exploration of the potential issues of incompatibilities between admixtures and NNPs is required.

Activities and responsibilities of the student:

· To become familiar with cementitious composites and different experiments that will be performed.

· To perform a literature review on the effect of admixtures in cementitious composites and present the findings.

· To evaluate rheological properties at room and elevated temperatures, set time of pastes, strength gain of mortar, and foam index test.

· To assist with different measurements of experiments.

· To present the results of the work performed during SURF program to the research group during the weekly project meetings.

· To prepare a report summarizing the admixture compatibilities of the eleven NNPs performed during the SURF program.

· To disseminate the results of the research experience as required by the SURF program.

 

Bone Fracture and Microscale Deformation Processes 

Professor:
Thomas Siegmund
Preferred major(s):
  • Materials Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
Desired experience:
Materials Characterization, X-ray techniques; Experience in lab work

We seek to modify the deformation characteristics of bone through a pharmacological treatment. This project would demonstrate such a concept using animal bone. Treated and untreated bone will be made available for the interrogation of bone by x-rays. Students will be engaged in the data interpretation of x-ray scattering experiments on bone, not subjected to mechanical loads or subjected to mechanical loads.

More information: https://engineering.purdue.edu/MYMECH

 

Bone Fracture and Toughness Modification 

Professor:
Thomas Siegmund
Preferred major(s):
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Materials Engineering
Desired experience:
Knowledge in strength of materials desired; Some experience with lab work

This SURF research project seems to engage a student in the study of fracture of bone. In particular we seek to change the strength and toughness of bone through a pharmacological treatment. A project participant would use pig or cow bone, modifiy such bone with the pharmacological treatment and conduct mechanical property measurements on said bone.

More information: https://engineering.purdue.edu/MYMECH

 

CISTAR - Zero Carbon Dioxide Emission Ethylene Production Process 

Professor:
Cornelius Masuku
Preferred major(s):
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
Desired experience:
Note - Chemical Engineering – Preferred; Mechanical and Electrical Engineering – Acceptable.

This project is supported by CISTAR, an NSF Engineering Research Center headquartered at Purdue.

Ethylene and propylene are the largest volume organic intermediates. Almost all ethylene is produced by steam cracking of natural gas condensates (mostly ethane and propane) or of refinery light naphtha (also mostly ethane and propane), co-producing hydrogen. Because of natural gas combustion in the cracking furnaces, and the gasification of coke deposits, and all the electricity required for the process and refrigeration systems compressors, ethylene production indirectly results large amounts of carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere, which is unsustainable.
One possible carbon dioxide mitigation strategy would be to fit carbon capture and sequestration technologies onto the cracking furnace flues, onto the CO2 absorption strippers (if used), and onto the fossil-fueled power plants producing electricity for the process and refrigeration compressors. As an alternative to fossil-fueled power plants with carbon capture and sequestration, there are other existing (near) zero-carbon electricity sources including for example nuclear, hydro, geothermal, wind, solar thermal, and solar photovoltaic.
The aim of this project is to design a world-scale condensate cracking plant to produce polymer-grade ethylene and propylene using only renewable electricity utilities.

Students working on this project will also have the opportunity to participate in information sessions, tours and informal mentoring with CISTAR's partner companies.

Purdue students are not eligible for this project. Students must be from outside institutions. Participants must be US Citizens. Students with disabilities, veterans, and those from traditionally underrepresented groups in STEM are encouraged to apply.

More information: https://cistar.us/

 

CISTAR - Zero Emission Chemical Production from Shale Gas 

Professor:
Rakesh Agrawal
Preferred major(s):
  • Chemical Engineering

This project is supported by CISTAR, an NSF Engineering Research Center headquartered at Purdue.

While chemical engineering evolved against the backdrop of an abundant supply of fossil resources, re-cent trend of carbon neutrality offers an unprecedented opportunity to imagine more sustainable chemical plants with net-zero carbon emission. In CISTAR, we are interested in converting shale gas into useful chemicals without any carbon emissions during the process, which requires careful selection of product combination and innovative design of chemical processes. In this project, the student will participate in synthesis, simulation and optimization of processes described above.

Students working on this project will also have the opportunity to participate in information sessions, tours and informal mentoring with CISTAR's partner companies.

Purdue students are not eligible for this project. Students must be from outside institutions. Participants must be US Citizens. Students with disabilities, veterans, and those from traditionally underrepresented groups in STEM are encouraged to apply.

More information: https://cistar.us/

 

Deformation analysis in non-linear conformal contacts 

Professor:
Lizhi Shang
Preferred major(s):
  • No Major Restriction
Desired experience:
->Some coursework in Solid Mechanics would help speed up the initial inertia. ->Proficient in MATLAB (pre- and post-process simulation data) ->Basic experience with stress analysis using Ansys.

Tribology is a discipline that studies friction, lubrication, and wear. Those topics affect almost all machines that have moving parts. For example, in fluid power application, which consumes 3% of the energy contributes 8% of the greenhouse gas, the lubricating interface tribological behavior of the positive displacement machines determines the system's total efficiency. The lubricating interface is formed by two solid boundaries a few microns apart. Therefore, the deformation of the solid bodies is crucial to the friction and wear of the sliding interface. The objective is to explore the nonlinear elastic deformation of the lubricating interface solid boundaries using commercial FEA software. The challenge is to generate enough simulation data to train a machine-learning algorithm. Your work will constitute a new modeling approach in the fluid power field. Therefore, it is also very possible to be published with you as a co-author. The main tasks are 1) familiarize yourself with the CAD and FEA software, 2) learn how to conduct batch FEA simulations, 3) generate code to pre- and post-process the simulation result, and compare simulation results with different simulation assumptions.

More information: https://engineering.purdue.edu/Maha/

 

Electrical Dehydrogenation Reactor Optimization for The Production of Ethylene Using Renewable Energies 

Professor:
Rakesh Agrawal
Preferred major(s):
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
Desired experience:
• It is advisable the student has a strong motivation for computer simulations • Experience working with Ansys Fluent and Aspen Plus could be beneficial

Ethylene is one of the most important building blocks of the chemical industry1. Its global market was estimated at ~160 million Tons in 2020 and it is forecast to reach ~210 million Tons by 20272. Between 1.0 and 1.6 tons of CO2 are emitted per ton of Ethylene produced. This means Ethylene production accounted for around 0.47-0.75% of the world’s total carbon emissions in 2020, estimated at 34 billion tons3. The U.S. has set a course to reach net-zero emissions economy-wide by no later than 20507,8. This makes it imperative decarbonizing Ethylene production.
Ethylene is mainly produced by Steam Cracking (SC), where hydrocarbons transform into ethylene in the presence of steam at high temperatures11. SC normally implements hydrocarbon combustion to produce the necessary energy for reaction. This is the main reason why SC emits so much CO21. The NSF Center for Innovative and Strategic Transformation of Alkane Resources (CISTAR)5 is currently researching the coupling of SC with renewable electricity. This would allow a significant reduction of CO2 emissions during SC4.
As part of its research, CISTAR carries out detailed Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations. This allows evaluating the impact of fluid behavior during reactions. Several geometries are currently under evaluation. As part of the SURF Program, CISTAR is interested in recruiting one student to support the CFD simulations team. The goal is to evaluate the performance of the different reactor geometries considered, as well as propose potentially attractive new configurations. No previous experience with CFD simulations is necessary. However, it is advisable the student has a strong motivation for computer simulations. Experience working with Ansys Fluent and Aspen Plus could be beneficial.

More information: https://engineering.purdue.edu/RARG/ and https://cistar.us/

 

Geometry Optimization for Electrical Dehydrogenation Reactor 

Professor:
Rakesh Agrawal
Preferred major(s):
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
Desired experience:
• No previous coursework is required. However, it is advisable the student has a strong motivation for computer simulations. • Experience in Ansys Fluent could be beneficial.

This project is supported by CISTAR, an NSF Engineering Research Center headquartered at Purdue.

Ethylene is one of the most important building blocks of the chemical industry. Its global market was estimated at ~160 million Tons in 2020 and it is forecast to reach ~210 million Tons by 20272. Between 1.0 and 1.6 tons of CO2 are emitted per ton of Ethylene produced. This means Ethylene production accounted for around 0.47-0.75% of the World’s Total Carbon Emissions in 2020, estimated at 34 billion tons3. The U.S. has set a course to reach net-zero emissions economy-wide by no later than 20507,8. This makes it imperative to decarbonize Ethylene production.

Ethylene is mainly produced by Dehydrogenation through Steam Cracking (SC), where hydrocarbons transform into ethylene in the presence of steam at high temperatures11. SC normally implements hydrocarbon combustion to produce the necessary energy for the reaction. This is the main reason why SC emits so much CO21. The NSF Center for Innovative and Strategic Transformation of Alkane Resources (CISTAR)5 is currently researching the redesign of SC to make it compatible with renewable electricity and eliminate the need for steam. This would allow a significant reduction of CO2 emissions during Ethylene production4. The new concept is called Electrical Dehydrogenation Reactor.

As part of its research, CISTAR is optimizing the reactor geometry of its Electrical Dehydrogenation Reactor through detailed Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD). The goal is to reduce the reactor cost while maximizing its performance.

Students working on this project will also have the opportunity to participate in information sessions, tours and informal mentoring with CISTAR's partner companies.

Purdue students are not eligible for this project. Students must be from outside institutions. Participants must be US Citizens. Students with disabilities, veterans, and those from traditionally underrepresented groups in STEM are encouraged to apply.

More information: https://cistar.us/

 

High Field Vector Magnetization Measurements in Quantum Materials 

Professor:
Arnab Banerjee
Preferred major(s):
  • No Major Restriction
  • Physics
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Engineering
  • Chemistry
Desired experience:
The candidate should have excellent in-lab etiquettes and desirably have some initial experience in working in a research laboratory project. The project involves working with cryogenic systems under high magnetic fields with delicate electronics. Excellent communication and interpersonal skills are also desired. The person should have some expertise in electrical engineering and circuits, and idea of fabrication.

The goal of this project is to set up a novel method for measuring the magnetic properties of quantum materials. Quantum magnets hold a lot of promise in new devices for the future where the properties are determined by tenets of the Heisenberg Uncertainty principle. But how to get access to the weak quantum effects, especially in a challenging environment of a dilution refrigerator in millikelvin? Here we set up a Josephson Junction-based device that can sample small magnetic fields from quantum materials placed at a milliKelvin temperature at up to a 14 T magnetic field, and attempt to discern the magnetic properties, and assess their usefulness for future magnetic routes to solid-state quantum computation.

 

Machine learning-based modeling of linear and non-linear deformation in high-pressure hydrostatic machines 

Professor:
Lizhi Shang
Preferred major(s):
  • No Major Restriction
Desired experience:
• Intermediate knowledge of fluid mechanics • Basic programming knowledge (Python, MATLAB, C++, or similar languages)

Machine learning, image processing, fluid-structure interaction, linear and nonlinear deformation, elasto-hydrodynamic lubrication... You may have learned or have heard some of those topics. But you may never see how those interdisciplinary techniques can be used together to solve a real-life engineering problem. This project offers you a unique experience to participate in my research group developing a first-in-kind machine learning-based simulation model for nonlinear contact problems in high-pressure hydrostatic machines. The objective of the SURF project is to create a machine learning algorithm capable of fast predicting the two-dimensional, nonlinear deformation distribution from the pressure distribution. The project will be rewarding and challenging, and your work will constitute a new modeling approach in the fluid power field. Therefore, it is also very possible to be published with you as a co-author.

You will be challenged to 1) learn to program a machine learning algorithm in TensorFlow, 2) generate a training dataset for machine learning models using a state-of-the-art numerical simulation tool, and 3) integrate the neural network into the existing modeling suite.

You will be supported by your graduate mentor, who specializes in these topic areas and will provide guidance throughout the project. You will also be supported by a group of 8 developers of the hydrostatic machine modeling toolset that are working on different aspects of the code.

More information: https://engineering.purdue.edu/Maha/

 

Multi-physics simulation software development for tribology experiment 

Professor:
Lizhi Shang
Preferred major(s):
  • No Major Restriction
Desired experience:
Familiarity with C++, MATLAB, Reading CAD models Some coursework related to Fluid Mechanics.

Simulation software development has become an important skill for engineering researchers. However, unlike your coding class, you will not be the first person to contribute to the code in most software development scenarios. This SURF project allows you to experience simulation software development for a real-life application from an in-house developed API (roughly 75,000 lines already in place, current 8 active developers). The real-life application is a tribology test rig that will test friction and wear with pressurized fluid (up to 500 bar). Your 'customer' is a Ph.D. student who designed the test rig and is working with a manufacturing company to ensure the device will arrive in the lab by September. The 'product' will be a simulation software for this test rig that can predict friction, leakage, pressure, thermal behavior of the test rig, considering hydrodynamics, elastic deformation, macro and micro motions, fluid properties, and thermal condition. Your graduate mentor will guide you through the simulation API (you are not expected to understand the entire 75k lines of code) and a series of examples that will equip you with all the knowledge on the coding side. At the same time, you will need to actively communicate with your 'customer' to understand the dynamic and kinematic of the engineering problem. Your work will constitute world-leading tribological research in the fluid power field. Therefore, it is also very possible to be published with you as a co-author.

More information: https://engineering.purdue.edu/Maha/

 

Multimaterial 3D Printing of Bioinspired Robotics 

Professor:
Alex Chortos
Preferred major(s):
  • No Major Restriction
Desired experience:
No specific experience is necessary. Any previous lab experience is an asset.

Technologies that integrate with biology enable new approaches to augmented reality as well as improved quality of life for people with medical conditions. To enable this integration, technology must take on some of the characteristic of biological systems, such as softness and 3D form factors. 3D printing can create soft electronic systems that mimic biological systems, including the ability sense their surroundings, process information, and actuate in response.
In this project, a student will work with a PhD student to prepare electronic materials, fabricate bio-inspired electronic devices and test their device operation.

There are different research scopes that are available depending on student interest/capabilities. Examples include:
-Materials development, consisting of preparing bio-inspired materials and optimizing their composition to achieve target electromechanical properties. Learned skills include elastomer chemistry, polymer physics, and electromechanical testing.
-Device fabrication, consisting of printing devices that include multiple electronic materials and testing their properties. Learned skills include device physics, printer operation and print path design, and circuit design for system measurement/controls.
-System modeling, consisting of modeling using COMSOL or ABAQUS to identify ideal device structures and materials properties that act as targets for experimental efforts. Learned skills include mechanical modeling software and application knowledge.

More information: https://engineering.purdue.edu/ME/People/ptProfile?resource_id=243743

 

Physics and Analytics of Lithium Batteries 

Professor:
Partha Mukherjee
Preferred major(s):
  • No Major Restriction
Desired experience:
Strong analytical skill and desire to learn new experimental and modeling & analysis tools.

Lithium ion (Li-ion) batteries are ubiquitous. Thermal, electrochemical, and degradation characteristics of these systems are critical toward safer and high-performance batteries for electric vehicles. As part of this research, physics-based and data-driven analytics of experimental and simulated performance under normal and anomalous operating conditions of lithium-ion and lithium metal batteries will be performed.

The final deliverable will be one research report (based on weekly progress presentations and updates) and one final presentation.

More information: https://engineering.purdue.edu/ETSL/

 

Polaritonic Energy Transport: Hybridizing Radiation and Conduction for Microelectronics Cooling 

Professor:
Thomas Beechem
Preferred major(s):
  • No Major Restriction
Desired experience:
Proficiency in Matlab, COMSOL or both is a plus.

Who we are… Specere is a latin word that means “to look or behold.” That’s what we do. We look, explore, and examine different ways to: (1) move energy with light and (2) get information from light. More specifically, we are a light lab employing infrared physics to create spectroscopic, thermal, and sensing solutions.

Who we are seeking… We look for motivated and hard-working undergraduates having both strong aspirations for post-graduate studies as well as those that are just “grad school curious.” All applicants should be capable of working independently while effectively communicating within a team setting.

Research Topic, Polaritonic Energy Transport: We seek to design materials capable of more effectively moving heat at extremely small scales like those in modern microelectronics. Success will enable: more efficient data centers, power electronics like those in EV’s, and new computing architectures.

What’ You’ll Do: Team members will be responsible for designing novel metamaterial stacks capable of maximizing heat transfer using a combination of computational modeling and experimental measurements of optical properties. Direct mentoring from Dr. Beechem will build your skills up in each area such that you will gain proficiency in advanced simulation (COMSOL) and spectroscopic tools (Raman, IR-ellipsometry). In addition, you will have the chance to participate in writing journal articles and pursuing patents based on your work.

More information: www.specere.org

 

Radiation-hardened technologies 

Professor:
Allen Garner
Preferred major(s):
  • No Major Restriction

Radiation in natural and manmade environments can greatly affect the operation and long-term performance of microelectronics. Radiation hardening is making electronic components and circuits resistant to damage or malfunction caused by high levels of ionizing radiation. Transient effects include single-event effects like memory bit flips; permanent effects include single-event latchups that prevent individual devices from operating. In these projects, students will explore the underlying failure mechanisms for electronics exposed to radiation, methods to predict failure rates, and a range of mitigation approaches for radiation damage, which include radiation-hardening by process and radiation-hardening by design.

 

Renewable energy-powered water technologies 

Professor:
David Warsinger
Preferred major(s):
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Environmental and Ecological Engineering
  • Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Materials Engineering
Desired experience:
Applicants should have an interest in thermodynamics, water treatment, and sustainability. Applicants with experience in some (not all) of the following are preferred: experimental design and prototyping, manufacturing, Python, LabView, EES, MATLAB, 3D CAD Software, & Adobe Illustrator. Rising Juniors and Seniors are preferred.

Water and energy are tightly linked resources that must both become renewable for a successful future. However, today, water and energy resources are often in conflict with one another, especially related to impacts on electric grids. Further, advances in nanotechnology, material science and artificial intelligence allow for new avenues to improve the widespread implementation of desalination and water purification technology. The team is pursuing multiple projects that aim to explore solar and wind-powered desalination, nanofabricated membranes, light-driven reactions, artificial intelligence control algorithms, and thermodynamic optimization of energy systems. The student will be responsible for fabricating membranes, building hydraulic systems, modeling thermal fluid phenomenon, analyzing data, or implementing control strategies in novel system configurations. More information here: www.warsinger.com

More information: www.warsinger.com

 

Resilient Extraterrestrial Habitat Engineering: Design and Testing 

Professor:
Shirley Dyke
Preferred major(s):
  • No Major Restriction
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Computer Engineering
  • Computer Science
Desired experience:
Students interested in this project should be critical thinkers, and have good experimental skills. Some projects will require programming skills (Python), CAD skills, and experience in MATLAB/Simulink.

There is growing interest from Space agencies such as NASA and the European Space Agency in establishing permanent human settlements outside Earth. To advance knowledge in the field, the Resilient Extra-Terrestrial Habitat Institute (RETHi) is taking steps to develop technologies that will enable resilient habitats in deep space, that will adapt, absorb and rapidly recover from expected and unexpected disruptions without fundamental changes in function or sacrifices in safety.
To study, demonstrate, and evaluate the technologies developed in pursuit of this mission, a multi-physics cyber-physical testbed is being founded at the Ray W. Herrick Laboratories at Purdue University with collaboration from partners at three universities and two industrial partners. It allows to examine emergent behaviors in habitat systems and the interactions among its virtual (computational) and physical components. The testbed will consider a habitat system and will aim to emulate the extreme temperature fluctuations that happen in deep space. To achieve this goal, a thermal transfer system is being developed, consisting of a chiller, an array of glycol lines, in-line heaters, actuated valves, and a series of sensors. Operated under a tuned controller, the thermal transfer system can cool or heat a certain surface area of the structure of the habitat to maintain a given temperature. However, to fully control the thermal transfer system is not straightforward. One of the critical challenges is its deep uncertainty, which results from inaccurate or long-delay sensors, variant test setup, complex controller design, etc. Therefore, a systematic study is needed to quantify the uncertainties to facilitate the thermal transfer system development. Emulation of a particular scenario considering a meteoroid impact will be performed, with random variations in the location and size of the impact and resulting consequences.
We also aim to consider design trade-offs aimed toward the goals of resilience. Thus, we have also established a modeling platform to support rapid, stochastic simulations of habitat systems to quantify the space architectures that enhance resilience. These might consider the important features of the robots, the sensors, and the structure itself that make the habitat resilient. Physics-Infused modeling is a gray-box method to model physical parameters using low-fidelity/computationally-efficient models in conjunction with high-fidelity/computationally-expensive samples. We combine samples from the high-fidelity model framework with low-fidelity dynamic models and create a better combination for state prediction to achieve this goal. One of the critical problems here is the difference in state space of the models and finding the optimal method to sample a high-fidelity model.
We are looking for undergraduate students to play key roles in this project, under the guidance of a graduate student and faculty members. The students are also expected to prepare a poster presentation on the results, and author a research paper if the desired results are achieved.

More information: https://www.purdue.edu/rethi/

 

Structural Engineering for Blast Resistant Design 

Professor:
Amit Varma
Preferred major(s):
  • No Major Restriction
  • Civil Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering Technology
  • Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering
  • Aeronautical Engineering Technology
  • Construction Engineering
  • Construction Management Technology
  • Engineering (First Year)
  • Materials Engineering
Desired experience:
Willing to work in a large-scale structural testing facility which may include some manual labor.

Today’s structures are highly engineered buildings and bridges capable of carrying everyday and extreme loads. In this project, students will get to work on understanding blast engineering design with a special focus on building materials like concrete and steel. Undergraduate researchers will work day-to-day alongside graduate students and permanent sta! to create test plans, fabricate test specimens, and test large-scale structures to failure. Students will leave this summer with a greater understanding of engineering principles including structural dynamics, impact and blast loading, and composite behavior.

More information: https://engineering.purdue.edu/~ahvarma/

 

Super-Resolution Optical Imaging with Single Photon Counting and Optomechanics with Nanostructured Membranes 

Professor:
Kevin Webb
Preferred major(s):
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Physics
Desired experience:
Students with an interest in experimental work and a strong background in electromagnetics would be a good fit for this project. The undergraduate student will work with graduate students to perform experiments in an optics laboratory, perform modeling and data analysis using MATLAB or python, and review relevant literature to develop a working understanding of single photon measurement techniques and their applications to super-resolution imaging. This project would be suitable for students majoring in electrical engineering, physics, or a related discipline.

Two projects are available. One involves the investigation of enhancing optical imaging resolution using single photon counting techniques. Conventional optical imaging has a hard limit on its spatial resolution, to about one half of the wavelength, and many situations can benefit from higher resolution. In addition, it is challenging to image through scattering media. By way of example, being able to sense with light deeper in the brain would be of enormous benefit in neuroscience. The statistics of photons emitted by or transmitted through an object contain valuable information about the object which could be used to enhance image resolution and possibly see through substantial background scatter. Experiments will be conducted using laser light and with a set of single photon avalanche detectors (SPADs) to measure photon correlations in time, over wavevector (direction), and between detectors in various imaging configurations. Results from these experiments will be used to assess the effectiveness of various techniques for enhancing spatial resolution in imaging applications. This work has a diverse set of potential applications including biological imaging, sensing defects in semiconductors, and imaging through fog. The other project relates to optical forces on structured membranes induced by a laser. The modeling of the mechanical motion of a thin membrane deflected by laser light will be used to determine the membrane properties from experimental and simulated data. This will allow extraction of the mechanical material properties and more generally the validation of a theory for optomechanics that can then be used in design. The nascent field of optomechanics offers enormous impact scope, including remote actuation and propulsion, of importance in fields as diverse and molecular biology, communication, and transport. This project relates to attaining the underpinnings to move along such paths in engineering, as well as the basic physics of optical forces in material at small length scales.

 

Thermal management of electronic devices 

Professor:
Justin Weibel
Preferred major(s):
  • No Major Restriction

The continued miniaturization of electronic devices, with expanded functionality at reduced cost, challenges the viability of products across a broad spectrum of industry applications. The electronics industry is driven by global trends in storage, transmission, and processing of extreme quantities of digital information (cloud computing, data centers), increasing electrification of the transportation sector (electric vehicles, hybrid aircraft, batteries), and the proliferation of interconnected computing devices (mobile computing, IoT, 5G). Proper thermal management of electronic devices is critical to avoid overheating failures and ensure energy efficient operation. In view of these rapidly evolving markets, most of the known electronics cooling technologies are approaching their limits and have a direct impact on system performance (e.g., computing power, driving range, device size, etc.).

Research projects in the Cooling Technologies Research Center (CTRC) are exploring new technologies and discovering ways to more effectively apply existing technologies to addresses the needs of companies and organizations in the area of high-performance heat removal from compact spaces. One of the distinctive features of working in this Center is training in practical applications relevant to industry. All of the projects involve close industrial support and collaboration in the research, often with direct transfer of the technologies to the participating industry members. Projects in the Center involve both experimental and computational aspects, are multi-disciplinary in nature, and are open to excellent students with various engineering and science backgrounds. Multiple different research project opportunities are available based on student interests and preferences.

More information: https://engineering.purdue.edu/CTRC/research/

 

Transport in Vanadium Oxides 

Professor:
Erica Carlson
Preferred major(s):
  • Physics
Desired experience:
Experience programming and in data analysis is strongly preferred.

Vanadium oxides undergo a metal-insulator transition, changing their resistivity by five orders of magnitude. However, they don't do it all at once! Rather, the material changes piece by piece, at the nanoscale. This project will be to model in detail the total resistance of a substance that has interleaved bits of metal and insulator.

More information: http://www.physics.purdue.edu/~erica/

 

Understanding Soft Robot Growth 

Professor:
Laura Blumenschein
Preferred major(s):
  • No Major Restriction
Desired experience:
Basic physics Proficiency with data structure coding (excel, Matlab, etc.) Experience with optimization and fitting techniques is a plus but not necessary.

Soft growing robots are a new type of robot that move similar to plants: growing into their environments (vinerobots.org). While the mechanism of growth has been tested on a wide range of systems, from less that 1 mm to 10 cm in diameter and up to 97m long, the kinematics and mechanics behind this movement are not completely understood as of yet. This project builds on previous work collecting and analyzing data of robot growth using different materials and dimensions in order to build a model of the system. The student will build soft growing robots, design and run experiments to measure different properties of growing, analyze data gathered, and help build potential kinematic models while interfacing with other students working on growing robot projects. This work can help develop the basic equations that allow us and other researchers to understand how these robots move and what they can achieve.

More information: http://engineering.purdue.edu/raad