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Engineering Research Module

(opens in a new window)The MEEN30170 Introduction to Engineering Research module is available exclusively to UCD Engineering Study Abroad students.

This module introduces students to the principles of engineering research through attachment to an active research group in the College of Engineering & Architecture. Students will become active members of a research group and work under the direction of the group’s Principal Investigator. Students will learn about the research focus of the group and conduct independent research into the scientific literature of relevance to the group’s activity. They will shadow a member of the research team and carry out a research project encompassing one or more engineering capabilities. Based on the research activity of the research group, students will learn about research methodologies and what is needed to progress basic research ideas towards higher technology readiness levels. Using data generated by themselves and/or the group, students will learn how to analyse the research data and communicate their findings effectively and take appropriate action. Students will also learn how to write a scientific abstract and a scientific report as well how to make a scientific presentation in the context of engineering research.

Read below for some examples of Research Projects undertaken by UCD Engineering Study Abroad students.

Andrew Johnson from Washington University, St Louis

Andrew Johnson from Washington University, St Louis worked with Dr Mark Pickering from the UCD School of Medicine on a project Measuring Microplastics in Oceans via Impedance Spectroscopy. Andrew’s research aims to use readily available materials to design a mass-producible method of detecting microplastics in Earth’s oceans that can be validated by existing methods.

Click to download Andrew's Poster Presentation

David D’Alessando from Washington University, St Louis was supervised by Dr. Kevin Nolan from the UCD School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering on a project titled CFD Analysis of a Formula One Car to Determine the Halo’s Effect on the Car’s Performance. In 2018, Formula One mandated that the halo, a ring-shaped frame mounted above the driver’s head in the cockpit, be implemented to increase drivers’ safety.

Click to download David's poster presentation

Gabriela Kogler from Washington University, St Louis was supervised by Dr. Adam Boyce on a project titled The Solid Mechanics of Solid-State Lithium-ion Batteries from Changing the Charge Rate and Elastic Modulus of the Electrolyte within the Cell. The increasing need for energy storage solutions has spurred demand for high-performance, long-lasting, and low-cost batteries, with solid-state batteries (ASSBs) emerging as a promising alternative to lithium-ion batteries due to their safety and potential for high energy density. 

Click to download Gabriela's Poster Presentation.

Matthew Cheifetz  from Washington University, St Louis, supervised by Dr. Kevin Nolan from the UCD School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering carried out An Analysis of a ball suspended by a jet of air using high-speed schlieren. The objective of this experiment was to better understand why a ball levitates when exposed to a jet of air from below. More specifically, an investigation was conducted about the airflow properties and patterns that contribute to this levitation effect. 

Click to download Matthew's Poster Presentation.

Olivia Landriscina  from George Washington University was supervised by Professor Peter Kennedy from the UCD School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering on a project based on Digital Delta Sigma Modulators and MASH Equations. The first step in understanding what DDSMs are is understanding what DSMs are in general. A delta-sigma modulator is an electronic circuit used to convert analogue signals into digital data.

Click to download Olivia's Poster Presentation.

Pauline Lucas from ECAM Rennes, France was supervised by Dr. Kevin Nolan from the UCD School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering. Her project titled Flow measurement Application: spot wave device for Surf. In recent years, the sport of surfing has attracted a phenomenal number of adherents, but its practice requires specific weather conditions on the coasts. However, new solutions allowing surfing all year round, whatever the conditions, are appearing thanks to the creation of wave pools. 

Click to download Pauline's Poster Presentation.

Rebecca Farrar from Smith College worked on a Sex-based Comparison of Subcortical Regions in the Human Brain under the supervision of Dr David MacManus from the UCD School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering. The purpose of this project is to identify, through digitally rendered MR images of the human brain, significant differences in the volume of individual subcortical regions between female and male brains.

Click to download Rebecca's Poster Presentation.

Sadie Karp from Washington University, St Louis worked on a project titled Improving Building Energy Modelling and Analysis Processes using the graph database Neo4J under the direction of Dr James O’Donnell from the UCD School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering. The objective of the project is to evaluate if graph databases are suitable to run queries that detect differences between building models and examine the impacts of these differences on energy consumption.

Click to download Sadie's Poster Presentation.

Virginie Boussard from ECAM Rennes, France investigated the toroidal propeller for drones with Dr. Kevin Nolan from the UCD School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering. The aerodynamics of drones heavily rely on their propellers. This study examined two different types: traditional two-blade propellers and toroidal fans. The research aimed to investigate the airflow around moving propeller blades, utilizing a laser-based Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) system.

Click to download Virginie's Poster Presentation.

Willson Smith from Texas Tech University worked on a project on Modal Analysis of Medical Devices during Orthopaedic Operations. The conventional method of manually drilling during hip fracture repair poses risks of unstable fixation and potential vascular damage. This research seeks to explore a secure and user-friendly approach using robot assistance to automate bone drilling.

Click to download Wilson's Poster Presentation.

Yasmein Asfour from George Washington University worked under the guidance of Professor Nikolaos Papakostas from the UCD School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering on a project titled Automated Counting and Inspection System. This project centres on automated counting and inspection tasks in manufacturing using the Intel RealSense D455 camera, a robotic arm, and MATLAB. Provided with a pallet of drills from the ATA Drills group, the objective is twofold: firstly, to develop a method for accurately counting the drills, and secondly, to identify any defects present.

Click to download Yasmein's Poster Presentation.

Austin Younger from Rochester Institute of Technology

Austin Younger from Rochester Institute of Technology worked with Dr Kevin Nolan from the UCD School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering on a project that analysed rocket engine nozzle flow via a 2 mirror schlieren assembly.

The primary goal of this research was to employ the use of a schlieren machine to image and catalogue supersonic flow patterns of pocket engine nozzles, while using pressurized air as the fluid medium.

Click to download Austin's Poster Presentation

Bennett Schmitt from the University of Notre Dame

Bennett Schmitt from the University of Notre Dame worked with Dr Veronica Sofianos from the UCD School of Chemical & Bioprocess Engineering on a project to Catalyze a Green Hydrogen Future: Investigating Iron-Nickel Borides as Nanocatalysts for Water Electrolysis. His work investigates the synthesis and characterization of iron nickel borides and explores their capacity as electrocatalysts for hydrogen and oxygen evolution reactions in green hydrogen production.

Click to download Bennett's Poster Presentation

Eric Seng from Duke University

Eric Seng from Duke University worked with Dr Anton van Beek from the UCD School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering on a project Using Generative AI Models to Design Novel Shapes.

In order to optimize the design of complex shapes, there can be a larger number of variables which can lead to difficult optimization problems. Simplifying to a smaller dimensional latent space can dramatically increase the efficiency of the optimization.

Click to download Eric's Poster Presentation

Anoosh Tauqir from George Washington University

Anoosh Tauqir from George Washington University worked with Dr Kevin Nolan from the UCD School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering on a project titled Using Blender and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to Create 3D Landscapes and Model Extreme Climate Events. In this study, the ways in which heavy abstract ideas such as climate change from the scientific and engineering community can be communicated to citizens and policymakers were explored.

Click to download Taugir's Poster Presentation

Georgette Encinas from George Washington University

Georgette Encinas from George Washington University worked with Dr Yuan Hu from the UCD School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering on a project Exploring the Technology behind Omniscan SX: A Comprehensive Overview of its Functionality and Applications.

Click to download Georgette Encinas' Poster Presentation

Emma Kroll from Washington University St Louis

Emma Kroll from Washington University St Louis worked with Professor Lizbeth Goodman from the UCD School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering on a project Exploring the use of Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality to Aid Brain Injury Recovery. With the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Virtual Reality (VR), we are just scratching the surface of how we can use these technologies to aid the population.

Click to download Emma Kroll's Poster Presentation

Sydney Norstad from Washington University St Louis

Sydney Norstad from Washington University St Louis worked with Dr Eoin O'Cearbhaill from the UCD School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering on a project on Additive Manufacturing Technology Modeling Portal and Hepatic Veins for Embolization. Embolization is a medical procedure that restricts blood flow to a specific area of the body, such as a tumour, by blocking a blood vessel.

Click to download Sydney Norstad's Poster Presentation.

Jasmine Davy from Washington University St Louis

Jasmine Davy from Washington University St Louis worked with Professor Fengzhou Fang and Research Mentor Mingyue Shen from the UCD School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering on a project around the Electropolishing Effects on Laser-based Powder Bed Fusion 316L Stainless Steel.

Click to download Jasmine Davy's Poster Presentation.

Gillian Fuhrmeister from George Washington University

Gillian Fuhrmeister from George Washington University worked with Dr James O'Donnell from the UCD School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering on a project which evaluated Embodied Carbon Calculations for Heating Concepts in an Irish detached house.

Click to download Gillian Fuhrmeister Poster Presentation.

Samson Adler from the University of Michigan

Samson Adler from the University of Michigan worked with Dr Mert Celikin and Research Mentor Theo Mossop from the UCD School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering on a project around the Heat Treatment of Metastable β Ti-Nb-Ta Alloy for Biomedical Applications.

Click to download Samson Adler's Poster Presentation.

Cyrus Li from Virginia Tech

Cyrus Li from Virginia Tech worked with Dr Mark Pickering from the UCD School of Medicine on a project titled Proof of Concept: Designing a Particle Image Velocimetry Chamber for Fluid Motion Visualization.

Click to download Cyrus Li's Poster Presentation.

Allison Goehringer from Duke University

Allison Goehringer from Duke University worked with Prof Denis Dowling and Alison Clarke from the UCD School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering on a project titled Reinforcing 3D Printed Polymers with Continuous Stainless Steel Fiber BundleThe goal of this project was to investigate for the first time the feasibility of 3D printing continuous steel fiber ex-situ in a nylon matrix and evaluate its material characteristics.

Click to download Allison Goehringer Poster Presentation

Christopher Leite from Stevens Institute of Technology

Christopher Leite from Stevens Institute of Technology worked with Prof David Browne from the UCD School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering on a project titled CASTING METALLIC GLASSES. Due to its noncrystalline structure, its mechanical properties have been found useful for space applications.

Click to download Christopher Leite Poster Presentation

Sawyer Johnson from University of Colorado, Boulder

Sawyer Johnson from University of Colorado, Boulder worked with Dr Kevin Roche from the UCD School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering on a project titled Classifying Different Types of Plastic using FTIR SpectroscopyThe main goals of this project were to see if FTIR is effective when these plastics become multilayered and have exterior printing and if they are still easily identifiable.

Click to download Sawyer Johnson Poster Presentation

Florian Kisters from DHBW

Florian Kisters from DHBW, Stuttgart worked with Dr James O'Donnell from the UCD School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering on a project titled Energy model simulation of modern heating concepts for an Irish domestic house. The question of the used energy systems has become even more important because of the current energy crisis. Therefore it is interesting to investigate the chances of heat pumps for domestic houses in Ireland.

Click to download Florian Kisters Poster Presentation

Alanis Wilson-Ehrenthal from University of Colorado, Boulder worked with Dr Vincent Hargaden from the UCD School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering on a project titled DesignPlan: Graphical User Interface Prototype. It entailed an educational tool for use of facility layout planning software’s and the literature review and development of GUI prototype.

Click to download Alanis Wilson-Ehrenthal Poster Presentation

Brendan Kornatz from Vanderbilt University worked with Dr Kevin Nolan and Dr Luca Biancofiore from the UCD School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering on a project titled Viscoelasticity Characterization. His research covered an experiment done to characterize the torque, shear-rate, and other attributes of two non-Newtonian fluid mixtures, in order to help computers model non-Newtonian fluids.

Click to download Brendan Kornatz Poster Presentation

Carly Ward from Syracuse University worked with Dr Kevin Nolan and Dr Conan McCaul from the UCD School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering on a project titled Investigation into the Role of Tube Crimping in Medical Devices for Failed Epidural Analgesia. The goal of her research was to determine if any or enough crimping occurs within an epidural catheter that would cause complications using various catheter types.

Click to download Carly Ward Poster Presentation

Jack Ward from Washington University, St Louis worked with Dr Malachy O’Rourke from the UCD School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering on a project titled The Segmentation and Flow Velocity Visualization of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm. The goal of his research was to gain familiarity with the segmentation and flow visualization of a patient with an abdominal aortic aneurysm using 3D Slicer and Ansys Fluent.

Click to download Jack Ward Poster Presentation

Jenna Rogge from Washington University, St Louis worked with Dr David McKeown from the UCD School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering on a project titled EIRSAT – 1 Thermal Analysis. EIRSAT-1 is the Educational Irish Research Satellite 1. It is a 2U CubeSat being developed as part of the European Space Agency's Fly Your Satellite programme.

Click to download Jenna Rogge Poster Presentation

Jonah Goldman from George Washington University worked with Dr Lizbeth Godman from the UCD School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering on a project titled Critical Review of Eye Tracking Technology in the Study of Autism. In order to successfully connect with children with autism, one of the most important keys in therapy is to hold their attention to reinforce skills like emotional mimicry and eye contact.

Click to download Jonah Goldman Poster Presentation

Kha Trinh from St Olaf College worked with Dr Niall English from the UCD School of Chemical & Bioprocessing Engineering on a project titled Molecular Dynamics Simulation of a new effective inhibitor for CO2 Hydrate Formation. This project aimed to qualitatively understand and examine the potency of TETA from the microscopic perspective with the assistance of molecular dynamics (MD) simulations.

Click to download Kha Trinh Poster Presentation

Zachary Shuler from Syracuse University worked with Dr Donal Holland from the UCD School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering on a project titled Modelling Pneumatic Inflatable Actuators (PIA). Pneumatic Inflatable Actuators (PIA) are devices that can be used in soft robotic actuators.

Click to download Zachary Shuler Poster Presentation

 

Garrett DiRienz from Vanderbilt University worked with Ryan Paetzold and Dr Christopher Musgrave from the UCD School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering on a project titled Flexible Filament 3D Printing for Tensile Testing Equipment Validation. Tensile testing is a fundamental procedure for material testing and a material’s tensile strength is widely used as a simple yet effective predictor for its behaviour. Read more about Garrett’s research output on his poster presentation.

  Click to download Garrett DiRienz’s Poster Presentation

Eric Tkach from Lehigh University worked with Dr Mert Celikin from the UCD School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering on a project titled Thermal Debinding Treatments of Polypropylene and PLA. The concept of adding metal powder to a polymer to injection mould or 3d print a metal part has become common for metals such as copper or iron. Read more about Eric’s research participation on his poster presentation.

Click to download Eric Tkach’s Poster Presentation

Grace Al-Sheikh from Syracuse University worked with Dr Kevin Nolan from the UCD School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering on a project titled Tracking Surgical Port Leaks with Particle Image Velocimetry. Laparoscopic Surgery is a minimally invasive procedure commonly used in hospitals around the world. The procedure involves making a few small incisions in the patient’s abdomen and preforming the surgery through ports. While designed to seal around the instruments inserted when under pressure, these ports often leak gasses and particles into the surgeon’s field. This research sought to experimentally validate velocity and path projections by utilizing particle image velocimetry software. 

  Click to download Grace Al Sheikh’s Poster Presentation

Amanda McVeigh from Syracuse University worked with Dr Philip Cardiff from the UCD School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering on a project titled Solids4foam Documentation. Solids4foam is a toolbox for the open-source software OpenFOAM. With this toolbox, the software has the capabilities for solid mechanics and fluid solid integrations. This research is an extension of documentation for this software. The goal is to create an easy-to-use online data base for the toolbox Solids4foams that is well organized and can be maintained for future updates.

Click to download Amanda McVeigh’s Poster Presentation

Zoe Cruse from the University of Colorado, Boulder worked with Dr Kevin Nolan from the UCD School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering on a project titled Analysis of Smoke Particles During Laparoscopic Surgery. Laparoscopic surgery is a minimally invasive abdominal surgery where the patient’s abdomen is inflated with CO2 and specialized instruments are used to perform the surgery through a set of ports. This research examined the fluid flow of smoke through a simulated laparoscopic field with the goal of finding the optimal port for smoke extraction.

Click to download Zoe Cruse's Poster Presentation

Hannah Juul from the University of Colorado, Boulder worked with Prof Michael Gilchrist from the UCD School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering on a project titled SLM 3D printing for Moulds. For this project, selective laser melting (SLM) was used to 3D print stainless steel powder to make very small and accurate moulds for plastic inserts. The objective of the project, currently, is to 3D print micro features in the form of ridges on a base plate with accuracy. The main objective is perfecting the 3D printing and post-printed polishing processes to make sure that ridges can be made small enough and accurate enough to be used as a mould later.

Click to download Hannah Juul's Poster Presentation

Josh Falejczyk, University of Alabama worked with Dr Paul Cuffe from the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering on a project entitled "Exploring Spectrogram-based Audio Signal Representation and Synthesis". This research explored what occurs to an audio signal if its spectrogram data was extracted, converted from a raster representation to a vectorized one, and synthesized back into audio. The implications of this research may not only offer unique audio signal augmentations, but also alternative methods of audio signal storage. Josh will continue to collaborate with Dr Cuffe on this work going forward.

Click to download Josh_Falejczyk’s Poster Presentation (pdf).


Makenzie Ferguson, University of Alabama worked with Dr Kevin Nolan from the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering. The project was entitled “Analysis of Gas Leakage during Laparoscopic Surgery”. Makenzie performed detailed post-processing of an extensive database of Schlieren video data of gas leaks during simulated surgery using porcine cadavers. The work was conducted in collaboration with surgeons from the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital and a manuscript is being prepared for publication.

Click to download Makenzie_Ferguson’s Poster Presentation (pdf).


Haley Barnes, Georgia Tech also worked with Dr Kevin Nolan from the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering on a project entitled “CAD Modelling of a 3D Printed Solution to CO2 Leaks in Laparoscopic Surgery". Haley developed novel flow geometries for surgical trochars to passively divert gas leaks away from theatre staff to reduce risks associated with surgical smoke and aerosol. A theoretical analysis was conducted in conjunction with experimental measurements on a proof of concept device. Such a passive system would eliminate the need for active smoke management devices and reduce the workload on the surgical team.

Click to download Haley_Barnes' Poster Presentation (pdf).


Bianca Acot, Princeton University carried out her research in the laboratory of Professor Michael Gilchrist, UCD School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering. She did an analysis of traumatic brain injuries using Kinovea (Phase 1) and the University College Dublin Brain Trauma Model (Phase 2). Overall, Bianca’s project is an example of a methodology for performing forensic reconstructions of sports-related head impacts to improve helmet testing and elucidate the mechanics of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Bianca aims to continue her research under the mentorship of Professor Michael Gilchrist when she returns to Princeton and use her analysis on rugby head impacts using finite element for her undergraduate thesis project.  Bianca continued her UCD work for her thesis when she returned to Princeton. Professor Gilchrist acted as her external advisor along with two academic advisers from Princeton.  

Bianca managed to get a conference publication (CMBBE, September 2021, Germany) and was featured on the front page of the  (opens in a new window)Princeton News.

Click to download Bianca Acot’s Poster Presentation


Claire McFarland, Washington University St Louis carried out her research in the laboratory of Dr Nan Zhang, UCD School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering who is searching for the best method to print human cardiovascular vessels. Claire investigated the best method of cell depositing during the 3D printing process – bioprinting. Her research focused on four main processes; extrusion based; droplet-based; laser-based and digital light processing (DLP) and concluded that DLP was the most effective method.

Click to download Claire McFarland’s Poster Presentation


Taylor Chapman, Yale University carried out her research in the laboratory of Professor Andrew Keane, UCD School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering and Mr Michael Power, (opens in a new window)UCD Energy Institute. Taylor’s project focused on the documentation of energy management systems and the DUtrain power system handler. The goal of Taylor’s project was to provide documentation of the DUtrain PSH for users that included relevant background information, network set-up within the lab, and execution of network applications.

Click to download Taylor Chapman’s Poster Presentation


Dylan Logan, University of Massachusetts, Amherst carried out his research in the laboratory of Dr Nan Zhang, UCD School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering and analysed the capability and utility of open source motion tracking software Kinovea and blender for research application. Dylan’s work was motivated by his desire to find a suitable and capable motion tracking and modelling software that was offered open source. His goal was to find something robust that people could gain access to for free and could learn during schooling and it would still be practical for them after research. 

Click to download Dylan Logan’s Poster Presentation


Hayden Simmons, Washington University St Louis carried out his project in the laboratory of Professor Lizbeth Goodman in the UCD School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering and Mr James O’Connor in the SMARTlab. Hayden explored the viability of utilizing smart home devices in aiding communication with patients with Locked in Syndrome (LIS). Smart home devices are those that use the internet and various non-physical switches to function. For example, the popular Amazon Alexa enables its users to activate connected devices by voice and motion controls.

Click to download Hayden Simmon’s Poster Presentation


Colin Marchus, University of Idaho carried out his research in the laboratory of Dr Nan Zhang, UCD School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering who is searching for the best method to print human cardiovascular vessels. Colin investigated 3D bioprinting and bioinks for the creation of vascular structures.

3D bioprinting is a relatively new field of research that has only been around for a little over 15 years. Because of this so much is unknown when it comes to the possibilities behind bioprinting. The main topic of Colin’s research focused on investigating the possibilities of printing functioning vascular structures.

Click to download Colin Marchus Poster Presentation


Kathryn Jaroszynski, George Washington University carried out her project in the laboratory of Professor Lizbeth Goodman in the UCD School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering. Kathryn analysed the biomechanical and neurological controls associated with Sit-to-Stand (STS) transfer.  Sit-to-Stand movement is defined as a rapid transition from a large base of support (BOS) in a stable position, to a smaller BOS in a less stable position. Kathryn carried out a detailed literature review during her project to further understand the STS transfer and process. 

Click to download Kathryn Jaroszynski Poster Presentation


Sydney Krivitsky, Washington University St Louis carried out her project in the laboratory of Professor Lizbeth Goodman in the UCD School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering and focused her research on the safety precautions and modification of furnace lid for the use of magnesium heating. Modification of the furnace lid is to allow for magnesium to be placed in the furnace without opening the full lid and being able to remove the small amount of magnesium with the cauldron to then pour into the cast. Her goal was to make a new lid, that would replace the original with the hole for the magnesium heating.

Click to download Sydney Krivitsky’s Poster Presentation


Alexander Thill, University of Alabama carried out his project in the laboratory of Professor Lizbeth Goodman in the UCD School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering where he investigated Drone Fluid Dynamics and the Qualitative Analysis of High-Velocity Fluid Packets. Computational analysis of airflow through and around drone propellers is an emerging field, but some work done already shows the potential for improving drone design using CFD. The object of his own research was to illustrate these pockets of high velocity, where they are created, where they can move, and how they originate and dissipate through physical means. Alexander attempted to do this for a single propeller, as he did not have access to a multi-rotor UAV.

Click to download Alexander Thill’s Poster Presentation

UCD College of Engineering and Architecture

Room 122 & Room 126, UCD Engineering and Materials Science Centre, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland
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