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College of Engineering & Science - Louisiana Tech University

Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical Engineering Senior Design Project

Joseph H. Barnwell

Mechanical Engineering Senior Design Contest

May 5, 2006

The 2006 Barnwell Senior Design Contest for Mechanical Engineering students was held in conjunction with the 2006 COES Senior Design Conference. There were twelve Mechanical Engineering design teams who competed for at total of $1,500 in cash prizes. Here are abstracts of their design presentations.


SAE Aero Design Team

Team Members: Kimberly Shepard, Josh Byram, Chad Payment, and Richard Guttenberg

The purpose of our design project was to design and build an airplane capable of entering the SAE Aero Design Competition. Some of the basic requirements were that the wingspan be 94.488 inches (+/- 0.500 inches), that we use an O.S. 0.61 FX engine, and that the airplane be capable of carrying a payload in the form of plates in a cargo area with dimensions of at least 3 inches by 5 inches by 16 inches. The airplane was also required to takeoff in 200 feet or less and to complete a figure eight around the field before landing in a 100 foot takeoff zone. The goal of the competition is to maximize the weight of the payload that the plane can safely carry.

We based our design on a total weight of approximately 25 pounds, including both the airplane and the cargo weights. The design includes a chord length for the wing of 12 inches using an Eppler 197 cambered airfoil with the required wingspan. It has a tail chord length of 6 inches with a wingspan of 24 inches using an Eppler 168 symmetric airfoil at a slightly negative angle of attack.

Automated Etch Station

Team Members: Jason Vise, Chris Ingold, Jarrod Donnell, Eric Williams
Project Sponsor: Space Photonics, Inc.

MEMS devices are revolutionizing technology by allowing mankind to operate machines with negligible friction losses. Dr. O'Neal is currently designing nano-drills and MEMS-based energy scavenging power devices. In order to build these devices, Dr. O'Neal requires a working wet etch station to etch away different sections of the devices. Our objective is to design and build a working automated etch station for Dr. O'Neal's MEMS projects. We need to design a basket that will allow the etching of multiple dice during one process as well as increase the yield of the entire process.

We had originally hoped to use a die basket that had a Gel-Pak film that would hold the die in place. We conducted an experiment with the film only to find that is was not HF resistant. Our second idea was to create a basket that could be squeezed together with spring loaded handles. The die would sit in grooves and the walls of the grooves would tighten around the dies in the channel. However, after analyzing the basket in ANSYS we found that the required force to create deformation is much too large. Our new basket idea is a basket that contains grooves and uses a screw and nut that runs through the basket squeezing the walls together and holding the dies in place. Through research on the Internet and through supplier catalogs in the Institute for Micromanufacturing, we have found all the materials we need for construction. A separatory funnel rack on the VWR website will be used as the base of the station. It fills the needs required with little addition. The reservoirs used will be funnels with shut off valves on the end that can be found on the VWR website.


Automated LBL Assembly Station

Team Members: Kristin Ginn, Ryan Kinler, Stephen LeBlanc, Brandon Albritton

The goal of this design project is to design, construct, and test a station which automates the electrostatic layer-by-layer process. This process involves dipping a charges substrate alternately between cationic and anionic solutions. These charges solutions adhere to the substrate and eventually build up a microlayer with specific properties and can be used for specialized applications. This process is, however, tedious to perform by hand and difficult to control the quality of the microlayer assembly. The station designed for this project automates this process with a supporting table, a robotic arm, computerized control system, and computerized user interface. The station provides control of substrate dipping times and the number of dipping cycles to be completed.

UV Mask Aligner

Team Members: Gabriel Towolawi, Mohammed Al-Sayyari, and Wayne Ward

The objective of our project is the design, construction, and testing of a device that will provide alignment between emulsion printed masks (transparency type masks) and 4 inch silicon wafers. The device will be used in the Nanosystems and Microsystems teaching lab for performing ultraviolet (UV) photolithography. Photolithography is a Latin word which means light-stone-writing. It is an optical process of transferring a geometric pattern from a mask to a substrate (silicon wafer). This process is used to make semiconductors, print circuit boards and micromechanical devices e.g. transistors. The device will provide alignment between the mask and substrate by movement in the X, Y, Z and circumferential directions. When the mask and substrate are properly aligned, the device should place the mask and substrate into contact and maintain the alignment. The device must work with the ultraviolet exposure station that is located in the Microsystems lab. This project involves designing a device that integrates with the UV exposure stations in the Nanosystems and Microsystems lab. Currently, the process is aligned by hand and verified by the human eye, which is highly inaccurate. Then, the mask and wafer are moved under the UV lamp for exposure, which creates more possibility for misalignment. We aim to eliminate the human error involved with the current photolithography process.

Silicon Micro Fuel Cell Test Station

Team Members: Eric Langley, Michael Haftmann, James Pipes, and Tribal Naharki 

Fuel cell technology continues to grow in search of new ways to produce electrical current. The fuel cell completely sidesteps the current practice of using fossil fuels which helps eliminate pollution. Simply stated a fuel cell uses acid and a few conductive metal layers to produce a very small electric current. The only by-products of fuel cells are water and heat, which are both harmless to the environment.

The purpose of this project is to develop a more suitable method for the organization and collection of data gained by testing PEM fuel cells. Using a better method for data acquisition will allow comparable notes to be gained which may accurately demonstrate better fuel cell media characteristics. To meet this objective our group has designed a testing station that not only tests the fuel cell's voltage, current, and temperature but that also will test multiple fuel cells at once. Testing multiple fuel cells will be highly advantageous in comparing different media. This comparison will allow its user to use different concentrations of formic acid as well as different gases, such as oxygen, in order to reach optimum efficiency for any given PEM fuel cell.

LPG Storage Facility

Team Members: Josh Morgan and Keith Caskey
Project Sponsor: Martin Underground Storage, Inc.

Martin Underground Storage, Inc. is a division of Martin Resource Management, Inc. that stores LPG's, liquefied petroleum gases, which are both received and distributed via a pipeline and trucks. This is accomplished by the use of both above ground storage tanks as well as storage wells in a salt dome.

However, Martin is in need of more storage space to accommodate its growing needs. Our design team sought to meet this need by constructing a new separate system. This task included determining the appropriate size of several pumps, storage tanks, and piping to connect everything together.

This system included two pumps, one pump for truck loading, and one pump for product injection into the storage wells. The truck loading pump was sized to be able to load a truck in less than 20 minutes to avoid excessive down time for the driver. The injection pump had to be quite large in order to accept the high flow rates during pipeline shipments as well as to be able to displace the salt water in the storage well.

Pipeline shipment size was also a factor in determining the appropriate amount of above ground storage. Since it is not feasible to inject product into the storage wells as fast as it is received during a shipment, an appropriate amount of tank storage was needed to accompany the injection pump in order to receive as much of the shipment as possible.

In order to connect the system, a network of piping had to be installed. This included several different sizes of pipe along with valves to isolate specific lines and relieve valves to relieve excessive pressure.

This system is currently in the construction phase and should be operational very soon.

Engine Valve Train Demonstration

Team Members: Bradley Mitchel, Matthew Morse, Andrew Scott, and Justin Lambert

Our group has been selected to help students gain practical knowledge of how an engine head functions. In order to accomplish this task, we are to take an actual Honda 4 cylinder, 16 valve engine head and design different lab procedures for students to work through in various engineering classes. The idea is to have labs designed to help wrap the student's brain around the actual operations of the engine head. For instance cam design vs. lifter motion, torque required to rotate just the camshaft and other interesting labs that will help give students a better comprehension of engine head functions.

The head assembly of an automobile engine is a very critical part of the engine. Many people, including engineers, have no idea how an engine head operates. By giving students hands on experience and a great visual demonstration, they can get a better understanding of what an engine head does and also how it works.

To make this engine head a good learning tool, we will design lab procedures to be performed by the students to allow them some hands on experience with the engine head. Once the stand is built and operational, we are going to further investigate which lab procedures are best and validate several that can be used in the classroom.

Some serious brainstorming went into the lab designs for this project. We knew that the engine head was going to be mounted on a portable stand and that there will be an electric motor as well as a manual hand crank on the engine head. The brainstorming was needed to help in the creation of seven practical lab designs. There was a desire to prioritize these designs so that we would be sure to incorporate the best designs into our project. By using weighted rating method we determined which lab designs were more important to the project based on certain design criteria that were decided on by the group.

Low Impact Hurdle Design

Team Members: Cintrell Wright, Steven Bearden, and Eric Fontenot

For our senior design project, we are to design a mechanism that is to be assembled to a hurdle, thus creating a low impact hurdle. The low impact hurdle will be used to prevent the hurdle from toppling into another competitor's lane and to reduce injury to an athlete. The hurdle must abide by all criteria set by the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) and our sponsor, Dr. Henry Cardenas. The IAAF requires that a hurdle topple under a load of 3.6 to 4 kilograms, which is a static load. According to Dr. Cardenas, the hurdle must be based on a spring release principle. The device must be durable, cost efficient, and adjustable to different height settings. Using these regulations, the low impact hurdle must act in the same manner as a regular hurdle.

After reviewing all potential designs, we selected the "Plunger Design" to effectively produce the low impact hurdle. This design abided by all required criteria and our Engineering Design Specification (EDS). It consists of a breakaway concept that is almost exclusively internal. A plate will be attached to the front of the upright using two bolts. The bottom of the plate will be attached to the base with a hinge. The upright will remain intact and the plunger will be placed inside the upright. The plate with the detent will be attached to the base in the same manner as the plate attaching the upright.


SAE Aero Design Team 2

Team Members: Andrew Neilson, Mark Sheaffer, Brad Purvis, and Mack Phillips

Any design problem has certain regulations and constraints that cannot be changed for a number of different reasons. In the case of the aero design project, the Society of Automotive Engineers supplies nearly forty pages of rules and regulations for the competition. The objective of the aero design competition is to design an aircraft that can lift as much weight as possible given the design constraints. For example, the requirements for the regular class specify motor size, wing span, and weight limits. These are the constraints we are most concerned with because they set the ground rules that our aircraft must be designed around. Yet, all constraints must be strictly adhered to because failure to do so would result in automatic disqualification from the competition.

The wing of the aircraft must be attached to the fuselage and not move from their original position. This means that no lighter-than-air or rotary wing aircraft such as helicopters will be allowed. The wing span shall be 94.488 inches +/- .500 inches and is defined as the maximum overall width of the aircraft. The aircraft must be powered by a single, unmodified, O.S. .61FX engine with E-4010 Muffler. Neither the engine or the muffler may be modified in anyway except, 1) Remote needle valves, including needle values that may be adjusted in flight, 2) Tubes that redirect the exhaust flow may be affixed to the exhaust pipe. The fuel tank must be accessible and may be pressurized by a stock fitting on the engine muffler only.

The completed aircraft with fuel, cargo, and everything needed to operate, may not weigh more than fifty five (55) pounds. The payload must consist of a support assembly and payload plates. The payload can not add strength to the structural integrity of the aircraft. The payload must be carried and fully enclosed inside a rectangular block measuring 3x5x16 inches.

Design of a Two-Stage Vacuum Pump

Team Members: Lem Wells, Heith Collins, and Yulia Leontieva
Project Sponsor: Thomas Industries

Thomas Industries, a division of Gardner-Denver, is the world leader in pressure and vacuum technologies and has sponsored this project which seeks to design and produce a prototype of an improved performance linear drive air pump. The design requirements call for a 125% performance increase over the current product line--2.0 cfm open flow and 0.2 cfm flow at 18 in Hg vacuum. 



Team Members: James McKeever, Jon Needham, and Brandon Wood
Project Sponsor: Mr. Bill Lowery

The Nomis project is an adaptive design that will incorporate an optical stabilization system (OSS) with existing optical technology to create a new class of rifle scopes. The operation of this new scope will be much like the operation of a digital video camera. The Scope uses the same stabilization system such that the image viewed in the rifle scope is stabilized from unwanted movement; meaning that even though the gun is moving, the image remains still in the scope.

The idea is to retrofit existing rifle scopes with this new stabilization technology. Acquiring the target through a traditional rifle scope is a skill that usually takes several years to master. Furthermore, the higher the magnification level on the scope, the more difficult it is to make an accurate shot. Target acquisition becomes even more difficult without the use of a bench rest, which is the case in many hunting situations. The Nomis device will make it easy to acquire the target and make an accurate shot from any shooting position.

The Nomis project uses the Canon Vari-Angle-Prism (VAP) as the stabilization system. The VAP is the same stabilization system used in binoculars. The VAP detects movement in two directions and adjust the pitch of the optics to adjust for that movement. These adjustments make the image stable in the optics while the actual point of focus is moving at some frequency.

By knowing when the image is being corrected, the Nomis device can deliver accurate shots to the target. To make this determination, a laser light is passed through the VAP to a target (photocell) on the other side. When the laser contacts the photocell, the image is not being corrected. This is referred to as the zero correction condition. When the Nomis device is in this state, it is time to fire the gun.

To simulate the firing of the Nomis device, a projection laser and buzzer are coupled to the trigger mechanism. When the Nomis fires, a laser beam is projected to the target simulating the travel of the bullet. A buzzer also sounds to signal the shooter that a shot has been fired.

Sealing Service Laterals

Team Members: Chris Kemp, Greg Hester, and Jerry Hawkes

A water utility manager had two basic options when it came to the pipeline infrastructure; either to fix the leaks or replace the piping system. Technology has started to give the water utilities more options. Pipeline assessment and rehabilitation are two developing fields. Pipeline rehabilitation has the potential of saving money when used for water main renewal. However, when a pipeline is rehabilitated, a cured-in-placed pipe (CIPP) is placed on the inside of the pipe. When it is rehabilitated, all connected pipelines are covered up by the CIPP. Once these service laterals are covered up, they have to be reconnected. The current method is to cut off the water, dig down to the pipe, cut the pipe, drill the hole out, weld the pipes back together and fill in the hole. There is a need for a no-dig (or above ground) installation method because the cost of reconnecting each service lateral increases with each year. Overall, the objective of this project is to design a method of material removal to re-establish the connection, a water-tight fitting that will keep water from flowing in between the original water main pipe and the new CIPP, and a process to do the entire operation from the water meter. The primary focus is entirely on service laterals with a 1-inch pipe diameter.