Research Projects

This is a list of research projects that may have opportunities for undergraduate students. You can browse all the projects, or view only projects in the following categories:

Aerospace Engineering

 

Atomistic Simulations of Gold-Silicon Interface

Research categories:  Aerospace Engineering, Chemical, Civil and Construction, Computational/Mathematical, Computer Engineering and Computer Science, Industrial Engineering, Material Science and Engineering, Mechanical Systems, Nanotechnology, Physical Science
School/Dept.: School of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Professor: Michael Sangid
Desired experience:   Junior standing and ability to develop computer codes.
Number of positions: 1

The size of electronic devices has been decreasing steadily over the years and it is expected to continue that trend, as there is significant interest in the development to microelectronics and nanoelectronics for applications in the biomedical, sensing, data storage and high-performance computing fields, among others. With the increasing miniaturization of electronics, it is important to consider any effects that might happen in the interfaces at the nanometer scale, as the behavior of materials at this length scales may differ markedly from the behavior at the macroscopic scale. This project studies the interactions occurring in the interface between gold and silicon, materials selected due to their excellent properties as conductor and semiconductor, respectively, and their popularity in electronic circuits. The behavior of gold and silicon is expected to differ from the properties observed in the bulk and at larger scales, so it is crucial to analyze and understand the mechanisms of this behavior for the design and manufacture of microelectronic devices utilizing these materials. The research will involve Molecular Dynamics modeling of the gold-silicon interface. Additionally, this project will be complemented by other research opportunities in our lab.

 

Characterizing fiber reinforced composite materials

Research categories:  Aerospace Engineering, Chemical, Civil and Construction, Industrial Engineering, Material Science and Engineering, Mechanical Systems
School/Dept.: School of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Professor: Michael Sangid
Preferred major(s): AAE, ME, or MSE
Desired experience:   Willingness to do hands-on work
Number of positions: 2

We are looking for a motivated, hard-working student interested in experimental composite materials research. This position is on a team investigating fiber orientation and length measurements in thermoplastic composites. These long fiber composites have a direct application to replace steel and aluminum structural alloys in the aerospace and automotive industries. Our team is comprised of Pacific Northwest National Lab, Autodesk, Plasticomp, Magna, Toyota, University of Illinois, and Purdue. Applicants will work under the mentorship of a graduate student and faculty member. The position includes hands on specimen preparation, in the form of extracting and polishing samples for fiber orientation measurements and melting samples and isolating the pertinent fibers for length measurements. Applicants should be undergraduate students interesting in composite materials.

 

CyberMech: A Novel Run-Time Substrate for Cyber-Mechanical Systems

Research categories:  Aerospace Engineering, Civil and Construction, Computational/Mathematical, Computer Engineering and Computer Science, Electronics, Mechanical Systems
School/Dept.: Civil Engineering
Professor: Arun Prakash
Preferred major(s): Structural Engineering, Civil, Mechanical, Aerospace, Computer Science, Electrical
Desired experience:   A strong background in the following areas is preferred: Mathematics, Computer Programming, Mechanics, Physics
Number of positions: 1

This project is also a joint collaborative project between myself, Prof. Shirley Dyke from Mech Eng., and faculty from Computer Science at Washington University (St. Louis). In this project, we are developing a computational platform that enables Real-Time Hybrid Simulations (RTHS) of complex structural systems. As opposed to a pure numerical simulation, a hybrid simulation is one where we have a physical specimen of a particular structural component (say a magneto-rheological damper - that is used to control vibrations of structures such as buildings, bridges, automobiles, air-planes, or space structures), that is combined with a numerical model of the entire structure (in real-time) to simulate how this component would behave / control the oscillations of the full structure. This is a handy approach, because it is difficult and expensive to do actual full-scale testing of the component on large scale structures. The challenges associated with this project are first to devise effective coupling mechanisms that allow 'simulating' the physical component (MR damper) as if it were connected in-place within a large structure, and then to develop a computational platform that enables fast, real-time, control and testing of the component combined in different ways with the numerical model of the entire structure.

 

New Materials to Reduce Losses in Hydraulic Machines

Research categories:  Aerospace Engineering, Mechanical Systems
School/Dept.: ABE
Professor: Monika Ivantysynova
Preferred major(s): ME, ABE
Desired experience:   MATLAB, CFD, FEA, C++
Number of positions: 1

This project aims to improve the performance of axial piston hydraulic units. The undergraduate researcher will use an existing Fluid Structure Interaction model to simulate the piston/cylinder interface, investigating several material combinations. A set of material combinations will be defined for investigation, although additional combinations defined by the researcher are welcome. There may also be opportunities for model development throughout the project.

The project is well suited to an undergraduate student interested in fluid power, tribology, material science, and virtual prototyping. Previous experience or coursework with fluid power, fluid dynamics, tribology, MATLAB, C++, Computational Fluid Dynamics, and Finite Element Analysis is desired but not required.

 

Radiation Intensity Measurements and Data Analysis for Premixed Turbulent Lean Combustion

Research categories:  Aerospace Engineering, Mechanical Systems
School/Dept.: ME
Professor: Jay Gore
Preferred major(s): Mechanical Engineering, Aerospace Engineering
Desired experience:   Coursework in thermodynamics, heat transfer, and/or fluid mechanics is desired. Prior experience working in a laboratory or performing data analysis are strongly encouraged to apply.
Number of positions: 1

Turbulent combustion and the associated radiation heat transfer are important in most energy conversion, power and propulsion, and transportation applications. An accurate understanding of radiation transfer in turbulent reacting and non-reacting flows is critical for improving energy efficiencies and reducing emissions such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitric oxide, and soot. Experimental and computational studies of the radiation intensity from turbulent flows are being conducted to achieve these objectives. Example problems include: (1) Fundamental studies of turbulent premixed lean flames, (2) Using high speed Infrared (IR) camera to measure narrow band radiation intensity, (3) Using Fast Infrared Array Spectrometer (FIAS) to measure broad band radiation intensity, and (4) Statistical analysis and comparison of experimental infrared radiation data to computational results.

The SURF student will contribute to measurements and data analysis of radiation intensity from turbulent premixed lean flames at varying view angles and distances. A fast infrared array spectrometer and high speed infrared camera will be utilized. Image processing and inverse analysis techniques will be used to interpret temperature and gas species concentration distributions. Statistical analysis will also be applied to the radiation intensity measurements. In this project, the SURF student will learn the fundamentals of radiation heat transfer experiments in participating media such as turbulent flames.

 

Realistic Simulation of Jet Engine Noise using Petascale Computing

Research categories:  Aerospace Engineering, Computational/Mathematical, Computer Engineering and Computer Science
School/Dept.: School of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Professor: Gregory Blaisdell
Preferred major(s): AAE, MATH, CS, ECE, PHYS
Desired experience:   Fourier transforms, computer programming, compressible fluid mechanics (desirable, but not absolutely necessary)
Number of positions: 1

We are currently developing a scalable parallel large eddy simulation code that can realistically simulate high Reynolds number jet flows from complex nozzle geometries. The motivation behind the project is to gain insight into the noise generation mechanisms in a turbulent jet, which is crucial for designing noise reduction solutions such as chevrons. Such high-fidelity simulations generate hundreds of gigabytes of flow-field and acoustics information. As a result, it becomes a significant challenge to extract meaningful information that will improve our understanding of the relationship between the turbulent jet flow and the far-reaching noise it generates. The SURF student will assist us in this effort by developing a set of tools that can help characterize jet noise sources.

A popular model postulates that two distinct noise sources are active in a turbulent jet. One is the large coherent turbulent structures that radiate noise at shallow angles relative to the jet axis, and the second is the fine-scale turbulence that is more dominant in the sideline directions [1,2]. The SURF student will implement several statistical tools that will process the near- and far-field simulation data by computing correlations that are used for examining the source characteristics. These include auto-correlations and cross-correlations of the far-field pressure measurements, as well as correlations between turbulent fluctuations inside the jet and the far-field pressure. These tools will be applied to actual simulation datasets to study how well the noise estimated by our code agrees with the "two-source" model. Furthermore, results from two jet simulations with different boundary conditions will be analyzed to determine the impact on the noise sources.

The SURF candidate is expected to have an interest in Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), as well as computer programming. They do not have to have had experience with Fortran, but they must have experience using a computer programming language and be willing to learn Fortran. A strong background in mathematics is also needed. The student will spend some time on the basics of Fortran. This will be followed with a review of the numerical methods used in the code, and the overall structure of the code. The student will then implement the aforementioned capabilities into the code. Finally, the student will apply his or her code to simulation datasets and examine the results.

References:
[1] Tam, C. K. (1995). Supersonic jet noise. Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics, 27(1), 17-43.
[2] Tam, C. K., Viswanathan, K., Ahuja, K. K., & Panda, J. (2008). The sources of jet noise: experimental evidence. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 615, 253-292.

 

SLEEC: Semantically-enriched libraries for effective exa-scale computation

Research categories:  Aerospace Engineering, Civil and Construction, Computational/Mathematical, Computer Engineering and Computer Science, Electronics, Mechanical Systems
School/Dept.: Civil Engineering
Professor: Arun Prakash
Preferred major(s): Structural Engineering, Civil, Mechanical, Aerospace, Computer Science, Electrical
Desired experience:   A strong background in the following areas is preferred: Mathematics, Computer Programming, Mechanics, Physics
Number of positions: 1

This project is in joint collaboration between myself, faculty in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department at Purdue, and a Computational Research Scientist at Sandia National Labs (Albuquerque NM). What we are doing is trying to improve the performance of library subroutines that are commonly employed to solve problems in solid and fluid mechanics, using finite element methods on very large parallel computers, for instance. Most computational libraries are based on well-formulated mathematical operations, however, when researchers utilize these libraries in their own applications, they are unable to transmit this rich mathematical information to the library and to the underlying hardware. We are devising ways to allow researchers to add/annotate these libraries with useful mathematical information that will allow the computer system to make optimizations on the fly to improve the performance of large computational applications. The challenges associated with this project are first to come up with the right set of mathematical information that can enable such performance improvement, and then to find ways to encode into the libraries in a sufficiently general way so that researchers from different disciplines (solids / fluids) may be able to utilize these libraries to their application programs.