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:

Innovative Technology/Design


3D Printed Nanostructures: Thermal and Thermoelectric Applications

Research categories:  Chemical, Electronics, Innovative Technology/Design, Material Science and Engineering, Nanotechnology
School/Dept.: Mechanical Engineering
Professor: Amy Marconnet
Preferred major(s): Mechanical, Chemical, Materials, or Electrical Engineering
Desired experience:   Courses in chemistry, heat transfer, and fluid mechanics. Experience with programming arduino or raspberry pi type systems. Familiarity with CAD software and general computer programming skills.
Number of positions: 1 or 2

Nanostructured materials are enabling technological advances, but fabrication costs can mitigate performance improvements. Solution synthesis of nanoparticles is a low-cost, high-throughput method for generating nanostructures. Combined with inkjet and\or 3d printing technology these nanoinks can be formed into on demand devices. In this project, students will develop a technique for printing thermoelectric devices and metallic heater/electrode lines for thermal analyses.


Bio/Pharmaceutical Lyophilization

Research categories:  Aerospace Engineering, Bioscience/Biomedical, Chemical, Computational/Mathematical, Industrial Engineering, Innovative Technology/Design, Mechanical Systems
School/Dept.: AAE
Professor: Alina Alexeenko
Preferred major(s): AAE, ME, CE, BME, Physics
Desired experience:   Fluid dynamics coursework, programming experience.
Number of positions: 2

Freeze-drying, also called lyophilization, is widely used in manufacturing of injectable pharmaceuticals, vaccines, biotech products, food and probiotic cultures. The research involves first-principles modeling of fluid dynamics and heat transfer in industrial lyophilizers and validation of models by comparison with experimental data collected in lab and pilot production settings. The summer undergraduate researcher will be involved in developing computational models and analyzing experimental data.


Design and development of a low pressure drop and low flow rate airflow sensor

Research categories:  Agricultural, Electronics, Environmental Science, Industrial Engineering, Innovative Technology/Design, Mechanical Systems
School/Dept.: Agricultural and Biological Engineering
Professor: Jiqin (Jee-Chin) Ni
Preferred major(s): Agricultural, mechanical, or electronic engineering
Desired experience:   Laboratory and hands-on experience on mechanical and basic electronic work.
Number of positions: 1

Measuring low rate of airflow with low pressure drop is important for some high quality research projects. However, commercially available sensors for these measurements are either expensive or not highly accurate. This project will involve designing an innovative airflow sensor that is suitable for low pressure drop (e.g., <50 Pa) and low flow rate (e.g., <50 mL per hour) airflow sensor. The principle of the sensor can be mechanical, electronic, or combination of the both. A workable prototype sensor based on the new design will also be built. The sensor will provide output signals that can be acquired to a computer for on-line and continuous airflow monitoring. The successful design can be disclosed as an invention to Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization.


Development of Critical Technologies to Support the Construction of the Zucrow’s Turbine Rig

Research categories:  Aerospace Engineering, Innovative Technology/Design, Mechanical Systems
School/Dept.: Mechanical Engineering
Professor: Guillermo Paniagua
Preferred major(s): ME or Aerospace
Desired experience:   Passionate about mechanical design, breakthrough ideas, propulsion
Number of positions: 3

The Zucrow Turbine wind tunnel under development is a world-unique transient wind tunnel, that allows an independent change of the Mach and Reynolds number, as well as the temperature ratio of the flow to the model. This transient facility offers high fidelity heat flux measurements, with test durations from 100 ms to 200 seconds. The test-section inlet temperature can range between 80 to 800 degrees Fahrenheit, while the pressure can range from 4 to 73 PSI. The Reynolds number would range between 50,000 to 4,000,000, while the pressure ratio can be independently adjusted, allowing testing at low subsonic regimes and high supersonic conditions (Mach 3.5).

We are seeking undergraduate students to join our team and work in the following areas:
- High fidelity instrumentation to measure flow temperature, pressure, massflow, heat flux, efficiency
- Control of the wind tunnel testing sequence
- Power absorption devices of the rotating module
- CFD analysis of the tunnel components


Simulation, Control, Integration, and Testing of Advanced Hydraulic Hybrid Transmissions

Research categories:  Innovative Technology/Design
School/Dept.: Agricultural & Biological Engineering/Mechanical Eng
Professor: Monika Ivantysynova
Preferred major(s): Mechanical Engineering, Agriculture and Biological Engineering
Desired experience:   One or more of the following: MATLAB/ Simulink, data acquisition and control, strong aptitude for hands on testing
Number of positions: 1

Increasing concern over the environmental impacts of consuming fossil fuels has resulted in a strong desire to improve the fuel efficiency of on-road and off-highway vehicles. Hydraulic hybrid transmissions, while lesser known than their electric counterparts, offer substantial benefits over competing technologies in terms of performance and efficiency. Ongoing research at the Maha Fluid Power Research Center is furthering the state-of-the-art of these advanced transmissions. Specifically current research includes modeling and simulation of novel transmission architectures and control strategies, physical testing using two hardware-in-the-loop transmission dynamometers, and the implementation of a hydraulic hybrid transmission in an SUV. The selected SURF student will work under the guidance of a graduate mentor on a project directly related ongoing research. The exact nature of the project will be tailored to the selected SURF student’s skill set and interests but will involve either modeling and simulation, control development and testing, or hardware integration


VACCINE-Visual Analytics for Command, Control, and Interoperability Environments

Research categories:  Computational/Mathematical, Computer Engineering and Computer Science, Innovative Technology/Design
School/Dept.: ECE
Professor: David Ebert
Preferred major(s): Computer Engineering, Computer Science, other Engineering majors with programming experience
Desired experience:   Programming experience in C++, others as described below
Number of positions: 5

We are currently searching for students with strong programming and math backgrounds to work on a variety of projects at the Visual Analytics branch (VACCINE) of the Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence in Command, Control and Interoperability. Students will each be assigned individual projects focusing on developing novel data analysis and exploration techniques using interactive techniques. Students should be well versed in C++ upon entering the SURF program, and will be expected to learn skills in R, OpenGL, and/or a variety of other libraries over the course of the summer.

Ongoing project plans will include research that combines soil, weather and crop data from sensing technology to provide critical crop answers for California wine growers and producers, programming for criminal incident report analysis, incorporating local statistics into volume rendering on the GPGPU, healthcare data analysis, and analyzing customizable topics and anomalies that occur in real-time via social media networks Twitter and Facebook. If you have CUDA programming experience or an intense interest to learn it, please indicate this on your application form. We also plan to have a project that will assist first responders in accident extrication procedures.

The ideal candidate will have good working knowledge of modern web development technologies, including client-side technologies such as HTML5, SVG, JavaScript, AJAX, and DOM, as well as server side components such as PHP, Tomcat, MySQL, etc. Experience in visualization or computer graphics is a plus. The project will likely be based on the D3 ( web-based visualization toolkit; prior experience using D3 or other visualization APIs for the web is particularly welcome.

Of the past undergraduate students that have worked in the center, five of their research projects have led to joint publications in our laboratory and at many of our areas' top venues. Sample projects include visual analytics for law enforcement data, health care data and sports data. Students will be assigned individual projects based on the center's needs which will be determined at a later date. To learn more about the VACCINE Center go to the website provided below.

More information: