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Department ofMechanical Engineering


The Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) and Prototyping Lab consists of two machine shops and a prototyping area. One machine shop is dedicated to student use for University-directed design and research projects. The second is a teaching lab used for undergraduate and graduate instruction. Both are equipped with modern machine tools such as lathes and milling machines. The milling machines all have two-axis computer numerically controlled (CNC) capability. The teaching lab also houses both a 3-axis Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) vertical milling machines (VMC) and a CNC lathe. Commercial CAM software is available to aid programming of the computer controlled equipment. The prototyping area is equipped with a rapid prototyping system that utilizes fused deposition model (FDM) to create plastic prototypes from CAD-generated models. Also featured in this area is a LaserCAMM CNC laser cutting system for nonmetallic materials.

The Fluid Dynamics/Thermal Science Lab contains equipment to illustrate the principles of fluid flow and familiarize students with hydraulic machines, refrigeration cycles, and their instrumentation. The lab also contains a subsonic wind tunnel equipped with an axial flow fan with adjustable pitch blades to study aerodynamics. Research tools include modern non-intrusive flow measurement systems.

The Heat Transfer Laboratory contains equipment to describe three modes of heat transfer. The temperature measurement of the extended surface system allows students to learn steady state conduction, and the pyrometer enables measurement of emitted power by radiation. The training systems for heat exchanger and refrigeration system are also placed in the lab.

The Instrumentation Lab contains seven computer stations equipped with state-of-the-art, PC-based data acquisition hardware and software systems. A variety of transducers and test experiments for making mechanical, thermal, and fluid measurements are part of this lab.

The Materials Laboratory contains equipment for metallography and optical examination of the microstructure of materials as well as instruments for mechanical properties characterization including tension, compression, hardness, and fatigue testing. The Materials Laboratory also has a tube furnace for heat treating at controlled heating rates.

The Micro Scale Heat Transfer Laboratory (MSHTL) develops state-of-the-art and thermal transport in thin films experimentation in processes such as micro-boiling and spray cooling. Today, trends indicate that these processes are finding interesting applications on drop-on-demand delivery systems, inkjet technology, and fast transient systems. 

The Robotic Systems Laboratory is an interdisciplinary laboratory specializing in the design, control and teleoperation of highly capable robotic systems for scientific discovery, technology validation, and engineering education. Laboratory students develop and operate systems that include spacecraft, underwater robots, aircraft and land rovers. These projects serve as ideal testbeds for learning and conducting research in mechatronic system design, guidance and navigation, command and control systems, and human-machine interfaces.

The Vibrations and Control Systems Lab is equipped with two flexible test systems. One is capable of single or multi DOF modes, free or forced motion, and adjustable damping. The other is an inverted pendulum. Both systems can be controlled by a wide variety of control algorithms and are fully computer connected for data acquisition and control.

The 2009 Solar Decathlon House is a highly instrumented testbed for study of photovoltaic and solar thermal systems, as well as general home control systems. Projects include development of a carbon meter, investigation of the impact of micro-invertors on performance, and control of a solar thermal driven vapor absorption chiller.