News and Events

/News and Events/

Senior Design Showcase for Spring 2018

The Senior Design Spring Showcase concluded on April 19th after two semesters of hard work. Teams of engineering students from various disciplines were challenged for their Capstone project to design, build, and test a project arranged in their Senior Design course.

The Capstone is designed to test all of their fundamental engineering knowledge before shipping them out into the real world. Students were judged and scored on metrics involving design practice, the final product, and ability to communicate their idea to outside parties.

Thank you to Professor Kurt Stresau, Dr. Mark Steiner, and all of the other associated faculty who helped coordinate the event and congratulations to the students for completing such a monumental achievement.

To see a few photos from the event, enjoy our gallery below:

2018-05-09T15:39:40+00:00 May 9th, 2018|Categories: News|

Florida Conference on Recent Advances in Robotics 2018 at University of Central Florida

The University of Central Florida’s College of Engineering and Computer Science is hosting the 31st Florida Conference on Recent Advances in Robotics, FCRAR 2018 at the UCF Main Campus.

The Conference will begin at 9:00 AM on Thursday, May 10th, 2018 and end at 1:30 PM on Friday, May 11th, 2018.

Conference Venue:
University of Central Florida
Harris Corporation Engineering Center (HEC)
4000 Central Florida Blvd., Orlando, Fl. 32816-2933

Register for the FCRAR Conference at: Registration

Tentative Conference Schedule:

May 10th
May 11th
8:30: Check-in
9:00: Opening, logistics
9:30: Invited Talk 1
10:30: Networking Break
11:00: Session 1 (P1~6)
12:00: Invited Talk 2
12:30: Working Lunch
13:30: Session 2 (P7~12)
14:30: Invited Talk 3
15:00: Networking Break
15:30: Invited Talk 4
16:00: Session 3 (P13~18)
8:30: Check-in
9:00: Session 4 (P19~24)
10:00: Invited Talk 5
10:30: Invited Talk 6
11:00: KSC Talk and Demo
12:00: Working Lunch / Awards Conference Highlights
Chair: Sang-Eun Song, Ph.D.
Interventional Robotics Lab:
Coordinator: Yaela Marks, Ph.D.
2018-05-04T14:46:39+00:00 May 4th, 2018|Categories: Events|

Seminar Series: Structural Architectures for Giant Coilable Spacecraft

The UCF Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department continues the Seminar Series by welcoming Dr. Sergio Pellegrino on Friday, April 20th from 1:30-2:30 PM in ENGR II, Room 103. Dr. Pellegrino will present his topic “Structural Architectures for Giant Coilable Spacecraft”.

(Abstract) New kinds of spacecraft, with specifically optimized architectures, may be the best answer to society’s need for cost-efficient space-based infrastructure. Instead of the traditional spacecraft bus, mostly filled with electronic systems, and attached to large deployable appendages that provide power, communication and other functions, alternative structural architectures can provide more efficient, integrated solutions.

In this talk, I will focus on a novel spacecraft architecture, currently under development by the Space Solar Power Project at Caltech, that has the specific purpose of collecting sunlight, converting it into RF power, and radiating it in a narrow beam. This architecture was inspired by kirigami, the extension of Japanese paper-folding that also includes cutting of the paper. Its realization involves thin shell structures that are folded into a tight nested coil. Fundamental research in the mechanics of coiling and uncoiling of thin shells, and the analysis of stress concentrations in coiled thin shell structures with complex geometries will be presented.

Dr. Sergio Pellegrino is Joyce and Kent Kresa Professor of Aeronautics and Civil Engineering at the California Institute of Technology, Senior Research Scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Co-Director of the Space Solar Power Project. He received a Laurea in Civil Engineering from the University of Naples and a Ph.D. in Structural Mechanics from the University of Cambridge. He was on the faculty at the University of Cambridge prior to joining Caltech. Dr. Pellegrino is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of AIAA and a Chartered Structural Engineer. He is currently the President of the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures (IASS) and the founding chair of the AIAA Spacecraft Structures Technical Committee. Dr. Pellegrino has authored over 300 technical publications, and received several awards including ICE James Watt Medal, AIAA Gossamer Spacecraft Forum Best Paper Award, IASS Tsuboi Award, ASME/Boeing Best Paper Award, and ASME Mechanisms and Robotics Committee Best Paper Award, Pioneers’ Award from the University of Surrey, and NASA Robert H. Goddard Exceptional Achievement Team Awards. His area of research is the mechanics of lightweight structures, focusing on packaging, deployment, shape control and stability, novel concepts for future space telescopes, spacecraft antennas, and space-based solar power systems.

2018-04-17T13:07:49+00:00 April 17th, 2018|Categories: Seminar Series|

Seminar Series: Mechanical Suppression of Pathological Tremor via External Artificial Muscles

The UCF Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department continues the Seminar Series by welcoming Mr. Chris Kelley on Friday, April 6th from 1:30-2:30 PM in ENGR II, Room 103. Mr. Kelley will present his topic “Mechanical Suppression of Pathological Tremor via External Artificial Muscles”.

(Abstract) Pathological tremor is the involuntary, approximately rhythmic motion of body parts that stems from a nervous system disorder. These involuntary motions decrease the quality of life of those afflicted. Typical treatments such as medications and surgery are not always effective and have inherent risks and side effects. Despite its neurological origin, the ultimate output of tremor is a mechanical motion; therefore, it is possible to mechanically suppress tremor. Mechanical tremor suppression has the potential for perfect cancellation of tremor with minimal risk.

However, two key factors affect the performance and feasibility of mechanical tremor suppression: the device must avoid influence on voluntary motion and be compatible with the human body. To address the latter, this study proposes the use of soft actuators for tremor suppression; specifically, dielectric elastomer stack actuators are an intriguing solution since they have similar mechanical properties as human muscle. This study employs an agonist-antagonist actuator pair to target suppression at a single joint. This work develops two tremor suppression controllers that have tradeoffs among robustness, control effort, and their effect on voluntary motion. Numerical and analytical simulations demonstrate the potential of a dielectric-elastomer-based tremor suppression system. The proposed system offers significant theoretical improvements in user comfort, device profile, and scalability—all factors that currently prohibit the clinical use of mechanical tremor suppression.

Mr. Chris Kelley is a Doctoral Candidate at UCF working in the Structural Dynamics and Adaptive Structures Lab. Chris received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 2013 and his MS in Mechanical Engineering from UCF in 2016. He has worked on several research projects at UCF, including piezoelectric-based vibration reduction and modeling of composite laminate plates with embedded piezoelectric material. Chris’ interest in the movement of the human body coupled with his background in smart materials research led to his doctoral research project: mechanical tremor suppression using soft actuators. So far, his work has produced four conference presentations and three journal publications. Overall, Chris’ research interests include biomechanics, controls, and dynamics.

2018-04-02T16:36:57+00:00 April 2nd, 2018|Categories: Seminar Series|

Seminar Series: Challenges and Opportunities of Quality Improvement in Big Data Environment

The UCF Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department continues the Seminar Series by welcoming Dr. Jianjun Shi on Friday, March 23rd from 1:30-2:30 PM in the Barbara Ying Center. Dr. Shi will present his topic “Challenges and Opportunities of Quality Improvement in Big Data Environment”.

(Abstract) The rapid advances in cyber-infrastructure ranging from data enabled design and manufacturing, sensor technology, and communication networks to high-powered computing have resulted in temporally and spatially data-rich environments. This big data era brings significant challenges and great opportunities for quality improvements in advanced manufacturing systems. With massive data readily available, there is a pressing need to develop new methodologies and associated tools for quality improvement that will enable and assist (i) the development of unified data fusion models with multiple sources and stages of a contemporary complex engineering systems, (ii) the extraction of pertinent knowledge about the design and operations of these systems, and (iii) the exploitation of the acquired knowledge for data-enabled optimal design, analysis, and control.

This presentation will discuss research opportunities, challenges, and advancements in data fusion for quality improvement in an advanced manufacturing system. Examples of on-going funded research projects, including airplane fuselage assembly, nanomanufacturing scale-up, high dimensional streaming data, causation modeling and root cause diagnosis in manufacturing, will be used to illustrate the frontiers of data fusion research areas. All project examples are coming from real industrial production systems with the real data acquisition/analysis, new methodological R&D motivated by real engineering problems, and validation/implementation in real production systems. The presentation will discuss the motivation of the R&D efforts, research challenges, new methodology development, validation/implementation, and potential impacts. Some discussions will be also be given on how to develop such research opportunities and funded research projects via collaborative efforts of academia, industry, and government.

Dr. Jianjun Shi is the Carolyn J. Stewart Chair and Professor in H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, with a joint appointment in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology. Prior to joining Georgia Tech in 2008, he was the G. Lawton and Louise G. Johnson Professor of Engineering at the University of Michigan. He received his B.S. and M.S. in Automation from the Beijing Institute of Technology in 1984 and 1987, and his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan in 1992.

2018-03-21T13:12:20+00:00 March 21st, 2018|Categories: Seminar Series|

Seminar Series: Routine Hypersonic Flight: The Final Frontier of Aeronautics

The UCF Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department continues the Seminar Series by welcoming Dr. Kevin G. Bowcutt on Tuesday, March 20th from 9:30-10:30 AM in HEC, Room 101. Dr. Bowcutt will present his topic “Routine Hypersonic Flight: The Final Frontier of Aeronautics”.

(Abstract) Efforts to develop technologies enabling hypersonic flight have been ongoing since the late 1940’s. During this time substantial advancements have been made in hypersonic propulsion systems such as scramjets, high-temperature structural materials and thermal protection systems, and advanced vehicle design methods and tools. Taken together, these advancing technologies are moving mankind ever closer to achieving routine hypersonic flight, which will enable dramatically faster military missions and global transportation, and substantially more affordable space transportation.

This presentation will address the key technical aspects and challenges of hypersonic vehicle design and will summarize progress made in maturing technologies critical to the development of practical hypersonic systems. The successful X-51A flight test program will be highlighted. The presentation will conclude by describing a vision for hypersonics.

Dr. Kevin G. Bowcutt is a Boeing Senior Technical Fellow and Chief Scientist of Hypersonics for The Boeing Company, with 35 years of experience. He is an AIAA Fellow, a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He holds BS, MS and Ph.D. degrees in aerospace engineering from the University of Maryland. Dr. Bowcutt is an internationally recognized expert in hypersonic aerodynamics, propulsion integration, and vehicle design and optimization. Notable accomplishments include developing the viscous-optimized waverider, originating the concept and optimizing the design of the X-51A scramjet-powered vehicle, working on the Space Shuttle Columbia accident investigation simulating wing aero-thermal-structural failure, designing the HIFiRE 4 flight test vehicle, and giving a TEDx talk on hypersonics. Dr. Bowcutt leads Boeing’s efforts to design advanced hypersonic missiles, airplanes, and space-plane concepts.

2018-03-21T14:05:08+00:00 March 16th, 2018|Categories: Seminar Series|

Seminar Series: Multiphysics and Multiscale Simulation of Materials Processing by Meshless Methods

UCF Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department continues its Seminar Series by welcoming Dr. Božidar Šarler on Friday, March 9rd from 1:30-2:20PM in ENG II, Room 103. Dr. Šarler will present his topic “Multiphysics and Multiscale Simulation of Materials Processing by Meshless Methods”.

(Abstract) The structure of a novel meshless solution procedure for calculation of solid and fluid mechanics problems, coupled with the electromagnetic fields, is presented. The multiphysics solution framework is coupled to multiple scales by incorporating the cellular automata and the phase-field concepts of microstructure evolution. The solution procedure is defined on a set of nodes which can be non-uniformly distributed. The domain and boundary of interest are divided into overlapping influence areas. On each of them, the fields are represented by the collocation with radial basis functions or by least squares approximation on a related sub-set of nodes present in the influence area. In the case of cellular automata modelling, the transition rules are defined for the states of the set of nodes in the influence area. The timestepping is performed in an explicit way. All governing equations are solved in their strong form, i.e no integrations are performed. The polygonisation is not present. The large deformation and growth problems are handled by node redistribution and activation of additional nodes, respectively. The solution procedure can be easily and efficiently adapted in node redistribution and/or refinement sense, which is of utmost importance when coping with fields exhibiting sharp gradients such as phase field variable or enthalpy in phase-change problems. Step by step benchmarking of the method is represented, followed by some large scale industrial examples such as the grain structure formation in continuous casting of steel, turbulence modelling with solidification, electromagnetic casting of aluminium alloys, etc. The results of the new approach are compared with the analytical solutions, well documented bench-mark solutions and commercial packages. The method is extremely simple to code and accurate, allowing straightforward parallelization. Besides this, the inclusion of complicated physics can be performed in a straightforward manner, reducing the development time. The coding in 2D or 3D is almost identical. Applications to several large scale industrial problems are shown, particularly in the field of thermomechanical processing of steel and aluminum alloys. A selection of 20 related representative references of the team is given.

Professor Božidar Šarler is Chair of Department of Fluid Dynamics and Thermodynamics at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, University of Ljubljana. He is also Head of Laboratory for Simulation of Materials and Processes at the Institute of Metals and Technology in Ljubljana, Slovenia. He has worked outside Slovenia cumulative for more than four years as a researcher at Centre of Nuclear Studies, Saclay; University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Nuremberg; Argonne National Laboratories, Chicago and as a visiting professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas; University of Pierre and Marie Curie, Paris; Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw and University of Parthenope, Naples. He is holding adjunct professor position at University of Southern Queensland, Australia and Taiyuan University of Technology, China. Academies, USA.

2018-03-06T16:56:12+00:00 March 6th, 2018|Categories: Seminar Series|

MAE Student Named One of Aviation Week’s 20 Twenties to Watch

The Aviation Week Network and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) have introduced the 2018 class of 20 Twenties. This group of university students has demonstrated not only their ability in in technology classes; they also have set the standard for giving back to society and articulating the value of the research they have done to date.

Representing undergraduate and master’s degree programs in the U.S., Canada and the UK, these students were selected from among more than 50 finalists from three continents and 35 universities.

In addition to participating in outreach activities to high school students on behalf of the student chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, Estafania Bohorquez volunteered with the Central Florida chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. She also participated in Engineers Without Borders.

Bohorquez’s research has been focused on propulsion and engine materials, specifically thermal barrier coatings. She worked in collaboration with DLR, the German research center for aeronautics and space, to test samples of sand-infiltrated coatings through 3D confocal Raman imaging to develop coating life prediction.

She interned with Siemens Power & Gas and the Walt Disney Co. Bohorquez also served as a research project lead for the NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium.

Hear more from Estafania and her work with DLR in Germany in episodes five and six of the Lend Me Your Engineers podcast.

2018-03-01T09:37:01+00:00 March 1st, 2018|Categories: News|

Junkyard Wars – Return of Rube Goldberg

Engineers Week (E-Week) at UCF wrapped up last Friday with the third annual Junkyard Wars competition, hosted by Theta Tau – Rho Gamma Chapter at UCF. Teams of engineering students were challenged to design and build a Rube Goldberg machine using only the provided tools and materials.

The machines were required to complete 10 steps or energy changes and launch a foam rocket or a spherical ball into a bucket in order to demonstrate “Man’s exploration into space” at the end of the chain reaction.

Kevin Berry and Larry Nielsen judged the machines for the third straight year. They were joined by first-time judge Bill Pearson from Engineering Research and Consulting (ERC), Inc., Test and Operations Contract (TOSC) at Kennedy Space Center. The teams were scored on creativity, reliability, teamwork, ingenuity, and machine functionality. The winning team (“Omegatrons”) walked away with $200, which they pledged to support Relay for Life of UCF. Second and third place received $100 and $50 respectively.

Makayla Lourcey, Mechanical Engineering, and Kendall Mackey, Mechanical Engineering, coordinated the event.

To see more photos from the event, visit the MAE Flickr page.

2018-02-27T10:30:17+00:00 February 27th, 2018|Categories: News|

Seminar Series: 3D Vision Testbed for Shape Memory Polymer Composite Characterization and Pitch Control of Small Unmanned Aerial Systems

UCF Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department continues its Seminar Series by welcoming Kenneth Thompson on Friday, February 23rd from 1:30-2:20PM in ENG II, Room 103. Mr. Thompson will present his topic “3D Vision Testbed for Shape Memory Polymer Composite Characterization and Pitch Control of Small Unmanned Aerial Systems”.

(Abstract) Shape memory polymers are an emerging material, which have many interesting applications in morphing wings, biomedical stent, deployable structures and self-repairing structures. These materials have a variety of methods to actuate the shape memory effect: one popular method is to create a composite material with an embedded carbon nanotube paper to actuate the shape memory polymer via resistive heating. The creation of this composite alters the mechanical properties of the shape memory polymer. The temperature and deflection of the structure are required to characterize the composite’s properties for use in control. A testbed consisting of six RGB webcams and one thermal imager is created and used to characterize the thermal properties of the shape memory polymer composites leading to the ability to use these materials in precision control applications.

In recent years, there has been much interest in biology to develop new sensing and control technologies for use in flight control systems. One bioinspired concept of particular interest is the microscale distributed flow sensor array, which is an analogue to mechanosensor arrays distributed over wing surfaces of many animals including birds and bats and are implicated in stable and controlled flights even during unsteady wind conditions. In this work, a fixed-wing micro aerial vehicle is simulated in AVL, and the surface pressure pattern is constructed using the information sampled by an array of onboard micro-scale pressure sensors. The relationships between the pressure field pattern, free-stream airspeed, angle of attack, and side slip angle are analyzed. A nonlinear robust controller is designed that regulates the difference between the desired and actual pressure field patterns, and its asymptotic stability is proven. It is shown in simulation that both disturbance rejection and command tracking capabilities are achieved using this method for pitching motion controls.


2018-02-23T11:25:16+00:00 February 23rd, 2018|Categories: Seminar Series|