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Mechanical Engineering Spring 2017 Newsletter

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I'm always amazed by our School.  I'm amazed by our students, who race drones and create inventions and build solar-powered cars. I'm amazed by our faculty, who pioneer 3D forensic technology and make trucks more fuel-efficient and get recognized in magazines.  And I'm amazed by our alumni, who are changing the world as engineers, entrepreneurs, and even astronauts.

And of course, all of this wouldn't be possible without your support. As you read about the impact of our Purdue Mechanical Engineers, consider how giving to Purdue might multiply that impact, especially on Purdue Day of Giving, April 26. Together, we're helping to move the world forward.

Anil Bajaj

William E. and Florence E. Perry Head of Mechanical Engineering
Alpha P. Jamison Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Anil Bajaj bust
Students go hands-on
Purdue Hosts First Ever Intercollegiate Drone Races

The Purdue Drone Club hosted the first ever intercollegiate indoor drone races in January, with Ohio State and Illinois. Each race is an exhilarating 2 minutes, as the small quadcopters can fly at nearly 80 miles per hour. Pilots maneuver the drones while wearing goggles, receiving live wireless video from the drone's point of view. The club was founded by ME student Tyler Landers, with faculty advisor (and ME assistant professor) David Cappelleri.  Video...
Drone closeup
Engineering Roller Coasters in Virtual Reality

How do you learn to design multi-million dollar roller coasters? And how do you test those coasters, even before they're built? For the last decade, Purdue ME professors Jeff Rhoads and Chuck Krousgrill have taught ME497: Roller Coaster Dynamics. The basic physics principles of inertia, centripetal acceleration, and gravity are put to the test in the most daunting of real-world applications: a thrill ride. Students design the underlying structures, but also come up with a theme and create an exciting story and environment for potential theme park guests. After presenting their projects, students use Oculus Rift goggles to experience the sights and sounds of their rides in VR. Video...
Virtual reality roller coaster
Systems and Controls Curriculum Revitalized by a Robot Grand Prix

The principles of systems, measurements, and controls build the foundation for the entire engineering field, playing a vital role in electronics, robotics, engines, manufacturing, and numerous other fields.  Purdue ME faculty redesigned the controls curriculum to be more hands-on, including a semester-ending grand prix of autonomous robots. Full story...
Working with a robot
Slow Mo Guys visit Purdue

Internet stars The Slow Mo Guys visited Purdue recently to film some engineering-themed video segments for their hugely popular YouTube channel. One of the videos filmed at Zucrow Labs involved destroying a computer with a combustion tube, which shoots out flames at more than 4,000 miles an hour. Another focused on the acoustic properties of the World's Largest Drum. Watch...
Purdue's big drum
Sophomore Design Students Showcase Their Prototypes

A self-propelled snow shovel. Rapid-fire nail dispenser. Bedside table that folds under your bed. In Purdue's sophomore-level design class, ME263, students put their design and prototyping skills into practice immediately: inventing a new product, doing market research, building a prototype, and pitching the product in person. What will sophomores come up with this year? Video...
Showing off designs
Amazing alumni
Ukari Figgs: Basketball Champion and Mechanical Engineer

Ukari Figgs is a legend at Purdue University, as the MVP of the 1999 National Champion Women's Basketball team. But she's just as proud of her work as a Mechanical Engineer, which she showcases every day at Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Georgetown, Kentucky.  Full story and video...
Ukari Figgs on and off the court
Jessica Traver Named to Forbes "30 Under 30" List

Jessica Traver (BSME '14, MSME '17) has been highlighted in Forbes "30 Under 30," a list highlighting pioneers and entrepreneurs under 30 years old. She cofounded a company call IntuiTap Medical, creating a device that streamlines the spinal tap procedure.  At Purdue, Jessica studied biomechanics under Dr. Eric Nauman.  Full story...
Traver portrait
National Society of Black Engineers started at Purdue in 1975

Today, Tony Harris (BSME '75) is a successful entrepreneur in California. But in 1971, he was a kid from the south side of Chicago who wanted to be an engineer, but had never taken a calculus class. His experiences at Purdue led him and 5 other Boilermakers ("The Chicago Six") to form the National Society of Black Engineers, which now has more than 30,000 members in 350 chapters around the world. Video...
NSBE group photo
Spacewalker: Jerry Ross

In his 17-year career as an astronaut, Jerry Ross holds the unique distinctions of making seven trips into space, and conducting nine spacewalks. He is also a Mechanical Engineer, getting his bachelors and masters at Purdue. Even as a child in Crown Point, Indiana, he knew that he was going to attend Purdue, become an engineer, and work for the space program. Video...
Ross in space
Jack Clark, Master of Aluminum

Jack Clark (BSME '81) spent 28 years with Alcoa, so the man knows his aluminum.  He's currently Senior Vice President of Manufacturing Excellence and Chief Technical Officer for Constellium, a worldwide aluminum manufacturer. Jack says his degree in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue helped him master not just the technical aspects of his job, but the cultural and managerial aspects as well. Video...
Clark photo at the Mechanical Engineering building
Chaitanya Bhat: Sweet Sounds of Engineering

A native of Bangalore, India, Chaitanya Bhat came to Purdue University as a graduate student in mechanical engineering, researching the acoustic properties of diesel engines at Herrick Labs. At the same time, he has always had a love for North Indian (Hindustani) classical music. Now he can pursue his two favorite kinds of sound: as an acoustical engineer for Honeywell in Bangalore, and as a performing musician in concerts and recordings. Full story (with music!)...
Bhat at the microphone
Research achievements
Purdue's Continuous Tableting Line

For students pursuing careers in the pharmaceutical industry, it can be difficult to put theories and computer models into practice. At Purdue, they can actually operate a Continuous Tableting Line: a full downstream production plant creating up to 1600 pills a minute.

Video | More about Particle Science
Purdue Receives $5 Million Grant to Study Connectivity for Tractor-Trailers

Purdue University is leading part of a national effort to reduce vehicle fuel consumption by 20 percent through automated systems that interconnect cars and trucks. ME professor Greg Shaver leads a project focusing on Class 8 trucks (tractor-trailers), and will work with team members Cummins Inc., Peloton Technology, Peterbilt Motors Co., the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and ZF TRW. Full article...
Working on an engine
3D Forensics System Easily Captures Footprints, Tire Tracks

Forensic investigators will soon be able to use real-time 3D imaging to capture footprints and tire tracks, thanks to the efforts of Song Zhang (associate professor of mechanical engineering) and his team at Purdue. They have developed a compact device that anyone can use, delivering accurate high-resolution 3D images that can help investigators identify the smallest features of a shoe print in soil or snow.

Video | Full article
Purdue Partners with India's Science and Engineering Research Board

Purdue University entered into a partnership agreement with India’s Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), the country’s equivalent to the U.S. National Science Foundation. The memorandum of understanding will establish an important link between India's science community and Purdue researchers and students. Purdue has the largest enrollment of Indian undergraduate students of any U.S. college or university. Full article...
Members of India's science and engineering board
Experiment Brings Pool Boiling into the Classroom

Heat transfer isn't the easiest concept to teach -- many of the dynamics can't be shown in a classroom setting.  That's the goal of this new apparatus, designed by Issam Mudawar (Betty Ruth and Milton B. Hollander Family Professor of Mechanical Engineering).  With a live camera projected in a classroom, students can physically see the concepts of pool boiling, nucleate boiling, critical heat flux, and the Leidenfrost effect. Video...
Boiling in progress
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