The Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) is a unique opportunity for undergraduate students to engage in hands-on research while using critical thinking, collaboration and entrepreneurial skills to help solve major societal challenges.

Summer 2018 Mechanical Engineering SURP Participants

Intelligent Mobility Course Development

Zachary Dworaczyk is a graduate mechanical engineering student with a general concentration. Dworaczyk worked with Professor Charles Birdsong to develop the mechanical design of the chassis on a small-scale autonomous vehicle. Originally, the chassis, which holds all the electronic components including the suspension and steering, was designed and manufactured out of a nylon polymer. Originally, the chassis, which holds all the electronic components including the suspension and steering, was designed and manufactured out of a nylon polymer. Because of the vibrations in the vehicle from motors and rotating parts, the chassis was beginning to chip and fail. Dworaczyk’s goal for the summer was to investigate the effect of chassis stiffness and consider other materials and designs to increase the reliability and function of the existing nylon polymer chassis. Dworaczyk compared a variety of materials and designs to optimize performance, cost and ease of manufacturing. 

The end goal for this autonomous vehicle project is to be part of the first undergraduate course in intelligent mobility.

Boundary Layer Data System

Zachary Wilson is a senior mechanical engineering student concentrating in mechatronics and will be starting the blended mechanical engineering graduate program in the winter 2019 quarter. Wilson worked with Professor Russell Westphal to design the first-ever Boundary Layer Data System instrument that can acquire non-flow measurements. 

The prototype that he designed can acquire mechanical strain and acceleration measurements for static and dynamic structural data during in-flight testing of an aircraft. Wilson served as the lead designer and also was tasked with the software design, hardware selection and implementation, and testing of the prototype. Through this project, Wilson learned the C++ programming language, how to design a printed circuit board and gained experience in operating a wind tunnel.