Engineering Research Module

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.

 

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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 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 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 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 GilchristUCD 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 Princeton News.

Click to download Bianca Acot’s Poster Presentation  (pdf).


Claire McFarland, Washington University St Louis carried out her research in the laboratory of Dr Nan ZhangUCD 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 (pdf).


Taylor Chapman, Yale University carried out her research in the laboratory of Professor Andrew KeaneUCD School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering and Mr Michael Power, 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 (pdf).


Dylan Logan, University of Massachusetts, Amherst carried out his research in the laboratory of Dr Nan ZhangUCD School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering and analyzed 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 opensource. 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 (pdf).


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 (pdf).


Colin Marchus, University of Idaho carried out his research in the laboratory of Dr Nan ZhangUCD 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 (pdf).


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 (pdf).


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 (pdf).


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 (pdf).