S.U.R.E. Projects 2018


Faculty Mentor Undergraduate Students Research
Aaron Altman, mechanical and aerospace engineering

Feasibility Study on Potentially Revolutionary Highly Distributed Lift Configuration

Conventionally configured aircraft wings are costly and difficult to manufacture, transport and install on aircraft because of their sheer size. Additionally, at airport terminals, much of the space that airplanes occupy results directly from its large wingspan. Since aerodynamic lift is a strong function of the wing surface area, the size of the wing planform is determined based on the amount of lift desired (or weight to offset). Theoretically (Reynolds scaling aside), the amount of lift produced by the mono-wing of an aircraft should remain the same if that mono-wing area was divided into many smaller wings placed along the fuselage provided they are adequately spaced. These mini-wings can be easily and much less expensively mass-produced, can have higher effective aspect ratio, can be made lighter, can improve maneuverability and can improve damage tolerance. The proposed work would involve comparing the lift and drag of a baseline conventional AR (Aspect Ratio) 4 rectangular mono-wing with several rapid prototyped distributed lift configurations in the University of Dayton Low Speed Wind Tunnel.

Kimberly Bigelow, biomechanical

Assessing Human Performance through Biomechanical Tools

Military personnel, first responders and elite athletes have occupations that must utilize a combination of physical and cognitive abilities to respond rapidly and appropriately to dynamically changing and unknown environments. Predicting an individual's likelihood of successful performance becomes very important, but it is a complex task. Our lab, in partnership with our collaborators, has recently begun to utilize biomechanical tools to better assess the physical attributes that contribute to performance and examine how these differ between individuals of different skill levels. By having individuals wear an Xsens system, comprised of 17 individual inertial measurement units, motion and position is  tracked during various physical assessment drills. The data that is obtained helps provide insight into what the subtle differences in individual approaches are. We are looking to continue to grow our research in the area of human performance to better understand the role biomechanics can play in helping provide insight into what attributes make someone a "performer" and using that information to develop ways to better assess and train individuals. 

Don Comfort, chemical and materials engineering

Cloning and Expression of Recombinant Foot Mussel Proteins

This project will apply molecular biology and microbial culture skills to clone, recombinantly express, and purify mussel foot proteins. Mussel foot proteins are highly adhesive due to the need to hold the mussel in place within the tidal zone. These foot proteins bind to rocks and have also been shown to coordinate with metals such as iron, which makes them of interest for biotechnological applications such as rust inhibitors. The use of molecular biology to clone and produce these proteins creates a means to generate significantly larger quantities of protein for study and potential commercial applications. The proteins generated as part of this study will be compared against native (from mussels) proteins to understand differences that may exist between the recombinant protein expressed in bacteria (E. coli) and those of native foot proteins. Over the course of the summer, students will work on one or more phases of the project, potentially learning basic molecular biology skills for gene cloning, microbial cell culture for protein expression, and/or purification techniques. These skills are highly transferrable and will benefit students interested in bioengineering.
Kristen Comfort, chemical and materials engineering

Generation of Enhanced Cell Systems for Nanomaterial and Biomedical Therapeutic Evaluation

Nanomaterials (NMs) hold tremendous potential to improve quality of life through applications spanning everyday consumer products to biomedical therapeutics. This surge in NM utilization has resulted in significant degrees of NM waste and increased rates of human exposure, generating the need to ensure the safety of NM-based applications. As NM behavior is dependent upon local environmental factors, this creates a challenge for standard cell-based assessment to produce reliable data, as they lack physiological accuracy. This work strives to overcome these limitations by transforming a standard cellular model into one more representative of a human system, thereby developing an environment more representative of real-world exposure scenarios. Through utilization of this enhanced model for NM safety assessments, we will be able to accurately characterize NM behavior and resultant bioresponses accurately and efficiently. The objective of this work is to design, generate, and validate an enhanced microenvironment model (EMM) for biologically accurate evaluation of NM behavior and safety. To accomplish this, we propose to construct and implement the EMM, which retains the advantages of cell-based systems but incorporates the key physiological elements of: 1) a multiple cellular compartment model, 2) dynamic flow connecting all cellular compartments and 3) inclusion of a circulating immune line. The EMM will be challenged with silver NMs (AgNMs) followed by evaluation of NM behavior, pharmacokinetic profiles and induced biological responses, including cellular stress, inflammatory responses and genetic modifications: thereby validating our hypothesis that the EMM displays differential behavior from traditional in vitro systems.

Sandy Furterer, engineering management, systems and technology

Improving Healthcare Process Management through Systems Engineering Modeling

Applying Systems Engineering Enterprise Architecture fundamentals to the healthcare industry can create a process architecture reference model to aid in the industry’s process management efforts. Process architecture maps enable the streamlined capture of the important elements that are needed to design and improve healthcare processes. This can enable healthcare organizations to jump start their process management efforts by beginning with this standard process architecture reference model, and then, adjusting the models for their specific process variances.  Additional process architecture maps will be developed to extend the current processes to include: emergency services and inpatient processes. 

Sidaard Gunasekaran, mechanical and aerospace engineering

Affecting Drag of a Wing through Periodic Actuation of Smart Material in its Wake

The intention is to affect the amount and the distribution of vortex shedding in the wake of 2D NACA 0012 wall-to-wall model through intentional actuation of a flexible Polyvinylidene Difluoride (PVDF) material in an inverted configuration (trailing edge fixed). The amplitude and frequency of the oscillations of the smart material at different downstream distance locations in the wake of the wing will be changed to determine effect of the actuation in the flowfield around the wing at different angles of attack. Force based experiment and Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) will be conducted between the trailing edge of the wing and the leading edge of the oscillating PVDF to quantify the changes observed because of the oscillation of the wing. The experiments will be conducted at the University of Dayton Low Speed Wind Tunnel.
Allison Kinney, mechanical and aerospace engineering

Comparison of Rearfoot and Non-Rearfoot Walking and Running

Analyzing the movement of the foot is a complex problem as the foot has many segments that represent the rear, middle and forward sections of the foot and toes. Because of this, multi-segment foot modeling has emerged as a growing area of research in the biomechanics community. It is unknown if multi-segment foot models provide improvements in accuracy that outweigh the increased complexity. The goal of this project is to collect biomechanical experimental data from participants performing rearfoot and non-rearfoot walking and running strike patterns. Motion, force and muscle activity data will be recorded while the participants perform rearfoot and non-rearfoot walking and running in the University of Dayton’s Motion Analysis Laboratory. Using the data collected, we will compare the walking and running motions using different foot models.
Don Klosterman, chemical and materials engineering

Fabrication and Testing of Fabric-Reinforced Composite Materials

This project will involve the fabrication and testing of advanced composite materials. The use of advanced composites in society has increased over the past several decades in applications such as automotive, aerospace, marine, energy and sporting goods. Examples include car body panels, aircraft (such as the new Boeing 787), boats, wind turbine blades and skis. These materials are comprised of continuous fibers of carbon or fiberglass, which are bonded together with epoxy resin. The fibers are usually purchased in the form of woven, braided or stitched fabrics, which are then combined with epoxy resin and cured to a solid structure. There is a wide variety of fabric types available, which makes it difficult to determine which one to use for a given application.

OBJECTIVE: The goal of this project is to develop lab-scale methods for characterizing a wide variety of carbon and glass fabric materials for the following important technical issues: a) drapability (ability to conform to a curved surface during the lay-up process), b) permeability (ability to be infused with liquid epoxy resins during the curing process) and c) mechanical performance. The student on this project will have access to a variety fabrics and epoxy resin. The student will be trained on how to fabricate flat panels using the vacuum assisted resin transfer molding (VARTM) process. Also, the student will conduct mechanical testing of the cured panels using 3-point bending. The goal is to evaluate and compare the various fabrics for their drapability, permeability and mechanical properties. Ultimately, this information will be used to help engineers determine their best applications.
Drew Murray, mechanical and aerospace engineering

Center of Mass Estimation and Tracking for Humans

Accurately locating the center of mass (CoM) of a human is a notoriously difficult challenge for two reasons. First, the CoM is dependent on the widely varying densities and dimensions of all body parts. Second, the CoM changes its location relative to the person based on how her limbs are configured. The Statically Equivalent Serial Chain (SESC) is a quick and inexpensive way to locate and track the CoM of a human being that is under development at the University of Dayton. The student will participate in the DIMLab with the advisers and other graduate students to perform two central tasks. In the first task, the student will learn how to calibrate the sensors and operate the equipment and software for SESC creation. The student will then conduct a variety of tasks associated with improving accuracy and speed of the SESC creation process. In the second task, the student will refine the design of and construct an inexpensive mannequin whose mass is properly distributed to match that of a human. This mannequin will allow for testing and process development at a new level of accuracy.

Kevin Myers, chemical and materials engineering

Solids Suspension via Mechanical Agitation with Reduced Baffling

A common processing industries operation is suspending solids in a liquid using mechanical agitation (think of a kitchen blender set on low speed, but thousands of times larger). One example is suspending catalyst in a reactor to promote desired product formation. To conserve resources, a significant emphasis in this area is to get more out of a process without increasing capital and operating expenses. One way to do this is using more solids, but this makes achieving good agitation difficult as agitator impellers are designed to promote fluid motion (like the propeller on a motor boat), but solids decrease this liquid motion. Additionally, use of more solids requires larger agitators, leading to increased costs. A promising approach is to reduce the baffling in the vessel. Baffles are used to reduce swirling that occurs with a rotating impeller in a low-viscosity liquid (such as occurs when stirring coffee or soup with a spoon). Little is known about suspending large amounts of solids with limited or no baffling, so this in an area where an immediate impact can be made. We have performed studies with reduced baffling that indicate it can work well in operations such as blending miscible liquids or suspending small amounts of solids, but this work has not been extended to the industrially prevalent situation of high solids systems. This project will identify optimal conditions for solids suspension with reduced baffling and provide the basis for agitator design under these conditions.

David Myszkya, mechanical and aerospace engineering

Design of Morphing Wings for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

The objective of this research project is to generate and develop multiple concepts for mechanisms that provide specific changes in shape. A particular focus will be placed on aircraft wings. Similar to birds of prey, aircraft with wings that are able to alter their shape are particularly attractive for their ability move between high maneuverability to high lift to low drag configurations. The research involves traditional rigid-body linkages and an introduction to tensegrity (structures comprised of cables and struts). The project will best suit those interested in SolidWorks and mechanical design.

Tim & Megan Reissman, mechanical engineering

Advancing Assistive Technology through Biomechatronics and Biomechanics

Classic assistive technology, such as canes, walkers, and orthoses, have been demonstrated to improve overall mobility of their users. However, little is known outside the clinic or the laboratory on precisely how everyday life walking patterns are effected by such devices. Within this project we aim to both develop and verify an attachable device suitable for monitoring cane users in their everyday lives. The result will be a technology that enables advanced biomechanics analyses to be performed based on "take-home style" studies. In this project, students will learn how to design and program an autonomous monitoring system (based on an open-source programming platform - Arduino) and verify the system's measuring capabilities through performing and analyzing correlations with human subject testing in a motion capture laboratory.      

Kellie Schneider, engineering management, systems and technology

Using Operations Research to Fight Hunger in Dayton

The Foodbank, Inc. serves as a central warehouse for the collection, storage, and distribution of food to more than 100 local agencies that provide food to over 70,000 Miami Valley residents. As such, The Foodbank operates and maintains a fleet of trucks that are used for multiple purposes, including donation delivery, donation collection, and mobile food pantries. A number of constraints limit the use of the trucks including dock time restrictions at retail donors, truck size, design, and location compatibility. This project focuses on the use of operations research methodologies to improve the management of the fleet by optimizing truck assignment and routing decisions. In addition, this work seeks to develop a framework for updating these decisions in real-time to account for the uncertainty inherent in non-profit work.

Denise Taylor, civil and environmental engineering and engineering mechanics

CSO Water Treatment with Peracetic Acid

Combined sewer overflows (CSOs) are a concern in many municipalities of the Great Lakes States. During storm events, engineered treatment of the discharged water reduces the likelihood of releasing excessive bacteria into receiving streams and rivers. This project focuses on the potential use of an alternative disinfectant called peracetic acid (PAA) for a cost effective treatment “on call” when needed for treatment of storm water. Experiments will be tailored to identify potential differences in mechanism of disinfection interferences including adsorption/absorption, interfering reactions, or sheltering of the bacteria. The end goal is to identify the conditions under which PAA disinfection alone is feasible, and to quantify the conditions under which additional treatment is needed during CSO events. The student working on this project will gain knowledge of municipal water infrastructure, environmental water quality testing skills, and may contribute to implement options in Cincinnati.

Erick Vasquez & Yvonne Sun

Listeria Metabolite Analysis

Listeria is a dangerous foodborne pathogen, and its metabolic responses to environmental conditions are critical in its disease transmission. By analyzing Listeria metabolites, such as ethanol and short chain fatty acids, the impact of environmental variables on disease transmission can be understood. In this project, along with the Biology Department, an Engineering student will establish an appropriate analytical characterization technique for the characterization of aqueous metabolites produced by the foodborne pathogen using a Gas Chromatography with Headspace equipment.


School of Engineering

Kettering Laboratories 565 
300 College Park 
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 0254