Louisiana Tech University Logo

College of Engineering & Science - Louisiana Tech University

Mechanical Engineering

2009 Barnwell Senior Design Contest

Joseph H. Barnwell Mechanical Engineering Senior Design Contest

May 8, 2009

The 2009 Barnwell Senior Design Contest for Mechanical Engineering students was held in conjunction with the 2009 COES Senior Design Conference. There were ten Mechanical Engineering design teams who competed for at total of $1,500 in cash prizes. Here are abstracts of their design presentations.

Earthquake Simulation Room

Team Members: Colton Holmes, Josh Kaufman, Jesse Mathes, Joshua Nordman, Stefan Pichon

Project Sponsors: ULS Serves Service Learning Grant, Louisiana Tech Student Affairs, Community Trust Bank, First National Bank, Ruston Chamber of Commerce, Mathes Farms, and Do-It Best

Our project is the Earthquake Simulation Room for the Idea Place on campus. It is a service learning project because the Idea Place is a non-profit organization that promotes math and science in young students. The Earthquake Simulation Room is an eight foot by eight foot by six foot wood structure that will be mounted to four precision aluminum rails. Linear motion will be provided by an electric linear actuator. This actuator will shake the room up to a velocity of 12 in/sec. The motion profile of the room will be guided by a control system that will be provided by the linear actuator vendor. The Earthquake Simulation Room will have a maximum occupancy of four participants. The safety of these participants is our number one concern; therefore, we have installed safety belts to restrain the participants. Other safety concerns addressed are prevention of pinch points and physical separation of moving parts. All applicable codes and standards were adhered to during design and construction.

Since our project is a service learning project, we have acquired grants from the University of Louisiana System and the Louisiana Tech Student Affairs. Other funds were donated by local businesses including Community Trust Bank, First National Bank, Ruston Chamber of Commerce, Mathes Farms, and Do It Best.


Ruston Police Automatic Target Turning System

Team Members: James Kordsmeier, Sam Paradise, Matt Periera, Michael Werling

Project Sponsors: Ruston Police Department, Lincoln Parish Sheriff's Department, U.S. Steel, AWC Incorporated, Bethany Air, Bank of Ruston, Community Trust Bank, Dr. Thomas Carey M.D.

The Executives Plus Senior Design Team responded to a proposal by the Ruston Police Department to design, construct, and install a target turning system for the RPD/Lincoln Parish firing range. The goal of the project was to develop a system that will effectively train police officers in decision making exercises and aid in overall shooting abilities. The scope of this project included the installation of five of a total twenty-five target turners that will eventually populate the Simsboro outdoor shooting range. The power and control system has the capacity to drive the entire range. The system can turn the targets ninety degrees upon response of a hand-held remote controller. Targets may be turned individually or in groups. The control system can use preloaded training programs or custom programs created in the field.

The target turning mechanism consists of a custom steel structure that houses a pneumatically powered rotary actuator and solenoid. Each of these structures holds one silhouette target and is grouped into five banks of five. The driving force for the rotary actuators and solenoids is a combination of pneumatic and electric power. The source of the power systems is contained within a secure room behind a bullet-proof barrier. This power-house also contains the programmable logic controller that transmits signals to the actuators. The range master operates the hand-held remote control console that communicates wirelessly with the PLC. Through this system setup, the range master has complete control over the activity of the entire range.

As part of this project the design team is required to satisfy all foreseeable end-user concerns. To accommodate this, the team has created several service manuals including maintenance, repair, and fabrication. The group has also made the system very reliable and robust. One instance of this is that the rotary actuators will absorb virtually no vertical loads. Most importantly, the system is extremely safe. The team has eliminated the chances of ricochet by designing the system so that it is entirely concealed below a bullet-proof barrier, except for the targets.

The Executives Plus Design Team would like to sincerely thank all of the project sponsors including: Ruston Police Department, Lincoln Parish Sheriffs Department, U.S. Steel, AWC Incorporated, Bethany Air, Bank of Ruston, Community Trust Bank, Dr. Thomas Carey M.D., and all other sponsors.


Ruston Police Mobile Target Transport System

Team Members: Nathan Davis, Kaleb Hamby, Sandi Love, Chris Karamales

Project Sponsor: Ruston Police Department

Police departments train their officers in order to protect civilians and keep order in our cities. In order to do this, police departments must provide and maintain the proper facilities and equipment that can simulate realistic combat situations. Our goal is to create a mobile target transport system that can carry real life dummy targets as well as paper targets in order to simulate a moving person. Because it will hold targets, the robot will be able to withstand rounds from handguns, shotguns, and frangible rifle rounds with its bullet-proof armor and run-flat tires. The use of the robot will be able to simulate charging scenarios that requires an officer to make split second decisions such as shoot/no-shoot or hand-to-hand combat with night sticks. The robot will be required to operate off-road in various types of terrain and under all weather conditions. Indoor scenarios will also be accomplished using the robot because of its mobility through doorways and around corners. Once the mobile target transport system is complete, the Ruston Police Department will be able to properly and safely train their officers so that they will be prepared for real life scenarios.


Manual Pump for Pressure-Driven Microfluidics

Team Members: Joshua Alexander, Eric Burke, Gerard Rau

Project Sponsor: Dr. Niel Crews, Louisiana Tech COES

Microfluidic and Lab-on-a-Chip technologies typically require the precise pumping of small liquid volumes at low flow rates. Existing pumps are predominantly electromechanical, making them unsuitable for situations where electrical power is unreliable or unavailable. A significant need exists for a hand-powered pump that is able to operate for extended time periods with only minimal physical effort.


Floating Waterfowl Trap

Team Members: Ryan Harrigill, Garrett Johnson, Casey Torrey, Josh Wille

Waterfowl researchers typically need to capture live ducks for research on movements, survival, productivity, habitat use, and many other research questions. Most waterfowl managers believe that duck production during the breeding season is the most critical time period for regulating duck populations, so research has focused on breeding waterfowl in the prairie pothole region of US and Canada. Unlike during the winter, breeding ducks are spaced out on small wetlands and they rarely eat much grain, so conventional bait traps and rocket nets are largely ineffective at capturing ducks. Waterfowl researchers need more effective traps for capturing ducks during the spring and summer nesting season.

Prairie ducks often seek loafing areas in open water. Presumably, such sites are preferred because they offer safety from land-based mammalian predators and afford good visibility to spot avian predators. This penchant for "hauling out" on floating structures suggests that it would be feasible to build a floating trap to capture waterfowl.

Design needs:
1) The trap needs to be lightweight, so that one or at most two people can transport the trap on a pickup truck and in the field using an ATV with a small trailer.
2) The trap must have a remote triggering mechanism. In most cases researchers are only doing work on one species for a particular project, so they will want to actuate the trap only when the correct target species is on the trap pad.
3) The trap should be designed to avoid physical damage to the ducks.
4) Waterfowl researchers are typically working on a low budget, so low cost building supplies are important.


ASME Student Design Competition: Mars Rocks! - Team Red Rover

Team Members: Daniel Lindsay, Stephen Maciasz, Andrew Olson, Andrew Welch

Following NASA's recent success with their Phoenix Mars Lander, the next design challenge is to build a remotely controlled vehicle capable of retrieving and delivering rocks to designated locations. The final objective is to determine if life exists or has ever existed on Mars and how this might affect life on our planet. The 2009 ASME student design competition will attempt to build such a vehicle subjected to a set of stringent design constraints. The vehicle must fit into a box measuring 370 mm x 165 mm x 165 mm, and it must be able to traverse wooden obstacles. Our vehicle makes use of a VEXplorer electronics kit and ramps to complete the objectives. It is powered by readily available 9 Volt batteries, and tracks aid in moving our vehicle smoothly around the course. A detailed course description is available outlining the location and orientation of all obstacles and rock locations as well as the designated drop zones for the rocks. A scoring system is given and takes into account many factors including difficulty of rock retrieval, accuracy of delivery, parking, weight, battery life, course violations, and time. Student sections from all over our ASME district will come together in Arlington, Texas to compete and decide whose rover will win! Refer to www.redroverteam.com for more information about the current progress of our project.


Aerial Video Capture Device for Search and Rescue

Team Members: Adam Samaha, Michael Simmons, Arthur Szczepkowski, Chris Stauts


ASME Design Contest: Mars Rocks! - Team Lugnuts

Team Members: Nathan Burkhalter, Matt Catha, Evan Johnson, Jess Lockey

Our senior design project is the ASME Mars Rocks Design Project. In this project, a robot is to be designed that can scale objects (2 x 4s) placed in specific locations as well as collect rocks placed at specific points on a course and place them into a target area. There are certain criteria that the robot must meet in order to be eligible for use in the competition. Some of these constraints include things such as: size restraints, power source constraints, and course constraints. The robot is to gather every rock on the course and return to its holding chamber in the shortest amount of time. The robot is not to move or destroy any obstacle on the course as this will lead to automatic disqualification. The robot will be judged based on a formula where weight, power supply, time, and times driving out of bounds entail point deductions, and rock placements within a target and a parking bonus entail point additions. The basic idea behind this robot is to create the lightest, most energy-efficient robot that can scale obstacles as well as collect, store, and dispose of a rock payload in the shortest amount of time all while obeying the rules of the competition as set by ASME.


Cryogenic Heat Exchanger

Team Members: Gill Bryant, Charles Clayton, Devan O'Dell, Abishek Rao

When discussing space travel there is, and always has been, a desire to lift as much payload as possible at the lowest cost possible. In order to increase the performance of rocket engines a colder, denser propellant can be used. Recently, a customer approached Stennis Space Center with the desire to test with 145 Rankine LOX, which is outside of the capability of bubbling, the current method of sub cooling LOX.

This project consists of designing a heat exchanger which uses Liquid Nitrogen at 140 Rankine as the cooling fluid to cool 11,000 gallons of Liquid Oxygen at 163 Rankine within a twelve hour time frame. To design the heat exchanger, the required heat transfer rate was calculated using the quantity of LOX needed to be cooled, the heat gained from the atmosphere, and the cooling time. Using the required heat transfer, the effectiveness was found and used in the Bell-Delaware method to determine the specifications of the heat exchanger.

It was found that a two-pass shell and tube heat exchanger was the best alternative when considering the costs of the required materials. The design consists of a 10 inch diameter shell approximately 8.2 feet long with 86 tubes of 5/8 inch diameter. A two pass shell and tube heat exchanger prototype was designed with the same mathematical model in order to test the validity of our design method. The prototype has a 3 inch diameter shell that is 30 inches long with 12 tubes of 1/4 inch diameter. The data collected from the prototype test will then be compared to the predictions of the model to assess the precision of the predictions.


Pressure Deflection System

Team Members: Joel Burnum, Ryan Roberson, Brogan Smith

The Institute for Micromanufacturing is constructing Micro-electrical-mechanical systems (MEMS) to extract mechanical energy from a deflecting silicone membrane. These membranes act like a piston in an automotive engine and react to a pressure difference between the sides of the membrane. There is a need to be able to predict the performance of these membranes so testing has to be done to establish pressure/deflection relationships. At this time there is no device available on the market to perform these tests.

The goal of our design is to be able to apply a measurable pressure behind a silicone membrane so that deflection can be measured using a laser vibrometer. Our device will measure the pressure and send a signal to an external data acquisition unit which will display deflection versus pressure in a data sheet. From there we will be able to determine accurate pressure/deflection curves for different sized membranes.

To accomplish our goal, our team has designed a system consisting of three major components including a pressure actuator, membrane mount, and pressure transducer. The combination of these components will effectively secure the membrane, and apply and measure a pressure behind the membrane.