Undergraduate Research | Trinity University

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Undergraduate Research

The department of engineering science offers students financial aid, mentorship, collaboration opportunities, and courses which focus on research in a variety of areas. Sample some of the recent research conducted by engineering majors at Trinity University.

Verified Multi-Point Acceleration Using a Non-Contact Videogrammetry Approach

Over the past several years, a system for the non-contact measurement of harmonic and transient acceleration of both rigid and flexible bodies has been under development and testing. Our system consists of three synchronized 640 x 480 pixel monochrome progressive-scan cameras each operating at 200 frames per second. The cameras monitor position at multiple locations on an object by tracking high-contrast targets that have been attached to its surface, through a process known as videogrammetry. Acceleration of each target is obtained by filtering and then twice differentiating the three-dimensional position sequence calculated from the tracking data. The ability of this system to calculate accelerations of harmonic motions (up to 20 Hz) has been verified, and work on the measurement of accelerations of transient motions is ongoing. The ultimate application of this project is to enable estimation of full-field acceleration of moving biological systems such as humans or flying birds.

Students: Aaron Sims, Sean Kienle, Bryan Weems
Professor: Jack Leifer 

Measurement and Passive Reduction of Vibration Transmission in String Trimmers

It has been well documented that over long periods of time, people who regularly operate hand-tools powered by small internal-combustion engines can become affected by a debilitating set of clinically irreversible effects, collectively referred to as hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS). Although HAVS cannot be cured, the onset of the disorder can be delayed or, in fact, prevented, by restricting either the duration of the exposure and/or the magnitude of the vibration transmitted from the tool to an operator's hands and arms (per OSHA and similar standards). We are quantifying the effects of various passive damping approaches for reducing the magnitude of transmitted vibration in string trimmers, with the ultimate goal of retrofitting these types of tools to decrease the likelihood of HAVS in full-time grounds-maintenance workers. The idea for this work stems from a stated need of Goodwill Industries, our NPA (non-profit agency) collaborator over the past several years. We are currently assessing various approaches for measuring the vibration present in the handle of a typical string trimmer with and without passive damping.

Students: Paurakh Rajbhandary
Professor: Jack Leifer

Transport Phenomena in Film Evaporation

Evaporation plays an important role in a great variety of practical applications. Some examples are painting and coating, toxic spill abatement, and fuel-air mixing for combustion applications.

The general goal of this research program is to improve the understanding of the transport phenomena that control evaporation, which involves a complex coupling between thermal and mass diffusion and the bulk flow (convection) of both the liquid and vapor phases. Gravimetric, imaging, and spectroscopic techniques are used to investigate the evaporation process for a variety of experimental conditions that are chosen to promote or retard one transport mechanism over the others.

This research program has been funded by the National Science Foundation (2003-2007) and the Petroleum Research Fund (2005-present) and is interdisciplinary, involving students and faculty from the engineering science and chemistry departments.

Professor: Peter Kelly-Zion