ME 755-756 - Senior Design Project

A two-semester senior design project course (ME 755-756 or TECH 797) must be completed by the end of the senior year by all undergraduates who are planning to receive their bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering. The purpose of this requirement is to allow every ME student to gain experience in a substantial design or experimental research project.

Partial list of some of the most popular senior projects:

Remote Controlled Airplane (Aerocats)

The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) sponsors an annual competition during the first week of April to design, build and compete with a remote airplane. The design restraints are changed each year.  In 2012-13, the team was required to complete three missions: a distance race in 4 minutes, a simulated passenger flight where the plane had to carry 15 simulated passengers around a set course, and participate in a race to 100 meters altitude carrying a payload of 2 liters of water which had to be discharged at 100m. 


Formula SAE Vehicle

The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) sponsors an annual international competition that requires students to design, build and compete with mini Formula-1 race cars.  Approximately 150 universities are usually involved in these competitions.  The cars have to meet several requirements specified by the SAE, such as maximum engine displacement (610 cc).  Strict safety requirements are established by the SAE and are enforced in the design and throughout the competition.  ME students have organized the UNH Precision Racing Team and club and have designed and built a Formula SAE racing vehicle as part of the ME/ECE senior design project course since 2002.  View Website...



Baja SAE Vehicle

Each year the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) sponsors a Mini Baja competition for undergraduate engineering students throughout the United States and Canada.  The objective of the competition is to give engineering students a chance to practice what is learned in the classroom.  The premise behind the competition is that an engineering design team has been given the project of producing a vehicle prototype for evaluation as a production item.  The intended sales market is the non-professional weekend off-road enthusiast.  The vehicle must be safe, fun to drive, easily maintained, and be capable of negotiating rough terrain.  Each vehicle will be judged on the engineering design, safety, and cost.  The performance of the vehicle is demonstrated at the annual competition, where the vehicle is evaluated in such areas as acceleration, land maneuverability, strength, and endurance.  Such events as chain pulling, and braking may be used to evaluate the vehicle.  Following these events each vehicle is entered into a four-hour endurance race.  The competition winner is determined based on the total points accumulated at the conclusion of all events.  The engineering challenge to the design team is to design and fabricate a prototype vehicle that best meets these goals. 


TurboJet Engine

The Turbojet Engine Team built a turbojet engine out of an automotive diesel turbocharger. The engine will run on diesel and propane. 


Laser Optimization Module

Narrowing of laser wavelength is important in the polarization of gas for medical applications as well as military defense systems. While this task has been completed using a single emitter, it has never been done with multiple in the same system. Using conceptual drawings from Xemed physicists, Dan Sargent (class of 2013) was tasked with the design and construction of a multiple emitter system. Through a range of concepts, a system that could be constructed in the real-world was designed with the precision required for functionality. Though few parts have been completed due to complexity and long lead times, this proof-of-concept project will be a forerunner in the future of laser technology.

FPF Skier and Biker Aerodynamics Force Balance

The FPF Force balance team was tasked with designing and constructing a force balance that has the capacity to measure drag force on both a bicyclist and an alpine skier.  The force balance was constructed to rest in pre-existing structures in the Flow Physics Facility, the world's largest low velocity/high Reynold's number wind tunnel.  The balance can measure drag in the direction of wind flow. This project allows athletes to minimize body drag via 'in-situ' testing as well as maximizing equipment performance.


Lignocellulosic Ethanol Biorefinery

An efficient method of transporting biomass for the production of ethanol is via pipeline.  The goal of this project was to to understand the fluid properties of the liquefied biomass necessary in order to help engineers design the infrastructure needed to produce and pump the product from farms to ethanol refineries.

Lungs Project

The main goal of this project was to develop a mathematical model that describes the micro-mechanics of aqueous lung tissue. The model was verified and tested computationally. This project was inspired by the need to provide physicians with additional lung pressure-volume information and to investigate the role of surfactants in repiratory distress syndrome.  Chris Boamah-Mensah (class of 2013) is pictured below at the University Research Conference.  

Artificial Mitral Valve Flow Dynamics

Approximately 3 million people in the United States suffer from mitral regurgitation, and if left unchecked it will lead to heart enlargement and eventually heart failure. Mitral regurgitation (MR) occurs when blood from the left ventricle leaks back into the left atrium. This can be surgically corrected by installing an artificial mitral heart valve to function as a check valve between the two chambers. The purpose of this project was to obtain an in-depth understanding of the flow dynamics for an artificial mitral heart valve to more accurately replicate a human mitral valve. The 2012-13 team used particle image velocimetry, which used tracer particles imbedded in a flow and a pulsed laser paired with a CCD camera, to capture images at two different positions. These two images were then correlated to generate a downstream map of the flow giving both direction and speed of groupings of particles.


NASA Magnetospheric MultiScale (MMS) Mission TableSat 1C

The NASA Magnetospheric MultiScale (MMS) mission (to be launched in 2014) consists of four spin-stabilized space crafts flying in precise formation.  The MMS space crafts, which have 60 m long wire booms protruding from their circumference, were analyzed using the UNH MMS TableSat IC, a limited 3-DOF rotation table top simulator of the MMS spacecraft.  A PID and LQR controller were implemented on the TableSat IC to observe the effects of spin rate and nutation control on the experimental satellite platform and scaled booms.

Continuous Bending Under Tension

The purpose of this project was to design and construct a material testing machine.  This machine will be used to investigate how Continuous Bending Under Tension (CBT) improves the formability of high strength and low density alloys.  The CBT process involves submitting a metal specimen to a constant tensile force while simultaneously passing the specimen through a series of rollers to provide a bending force.  The design of the CBT machine was focused on component durability when subjected to the maximum applied forces.   Adaptability for different specimen sizes and research purposes was also factored into the design.


Trash Adapt - Healthier, Cleaner, Smarter Communities

The TrashAdapt compactor was designed to operate in developing country communities.  The team designed the device to be simple, easy to maintain, require minimal effort to operate, and to be easily constructed. When implemented, the device will encourage better health in the surrounding community due to a better waste-disposal infrastructure.

The UNH Rocket Cats team built a high powered rocket and payload for UNH's first appearance in the NASA University Student Launch Initiative (USLI) competition. They were required to safely deliver a scientific or engineering payload to exactly one mile above ground level. The objective was to create a low cost data network that can be deployed rapidly over a large area. Throughout the competition, team members worked directly with NASA engineers in the design, construction and testing of the rocket. 


Ski Design and Fabrication

The purpose of this project was to analyze and design snow skis by developing an understanding of the mechanical properties of the core make up.  The core of the ski can be characterized by the wood and composite layers that make up the majority of the ski itself.  The main goal of the project was to maximize the stiffness to weight ratio of the final ski design while maintaining durability, and exceptional dampening properties.

QuadSat B for the NASA Magnetospheric MultiScale (MMS) Mission

As part of a NASA Magnetospheric MultiScale Mission funded research project, the senior project team was tasked to design an autonomous flight controller capable of stabilizing a quadrotor. In designing the controller, a range of topics and fields were reviewed and studied including control methods, spacecraft dynamics, Euler angles, micro-controllers, sensing equipment, and navigation. The primary controlling method used linear quadratic regulator (LQR) paired with the kinematic and dynamic equations. An Arduino micro-controller was used to implement the designed controller and in turn provide the specific thrust output necessary for each of the four motors. Sensor feedback was essential in determining state errors and providing the proper response from the compensator. Sensing equipment included a 9-degree-of-freedom inertial measurement unit (IMU) and ultrasonic transmitters and receivers.


UNH LunaCats - NASA Lunabotics Mining Competition

NASA's Lunabotics Mining Competition is an international university-level competition designed to engage and retain students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). NASA will directly benefit from the competition by encouraging the development of innovative lunar excavation concepts from universities. These concepts presented by the teams could be applied to an actual lunar excavation device or payload. The challenge is for students to design and build a remote controlled or autonomous excavator that can collect and deposit a minimum of 10 kilograms of lunar simulant within 15 minutes. The complexities of the challenge include the abrasive characteristics of the lunar simulant, the weight and size limitations, and the ability to control the lunabot from a remote control center.



AMSC Ic Test Streamlining

The purpose of the AMSC Ic Test Streamlining proejct was to create some type of apparatus that would efficiently test the critical current (Ic) of superconducting wires.  Previously, a makeshift method of repetitively soldering current leads and voltage taps to 40 separate wires was required to ensure adequate performance of the wires.  With this project, these processes have been streamlined into a simple "test box" which uses compressive force rather than the soldered connections to shorten test time.

Asteroid Mitigation Project

As of April 2013, there are approximately 10,000 discovered near Earth objects. About 860 of these are asteroids with a diameter of one kilometer or larger. Any asteroid that has a diameter of two kilometers or larger will cause a global catastrophe if it impacts Earth. One method of asteroid mitigation is impacting the asteroid with a ballistic to perturb its orbit. This project attempted to determine the feasibility of modeling an asteroid collision with a ballistic underwater to mimic a zero gravity environment. An underwater test bed was designed to model an asteroid collision. The goal of this test was to analyze the precise moment of impact, in addition to immediately before and after the collision. In order to conduct this test, a model asteroid was designed, and mechanisms were created for the ballistic and launching mechanism. The data was acquired through a microprocessor and an inertial measuring unit (IMU). This data will be confirmed visually through video and object tracking software as well as through analytical modeling predictions. 

NASA Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission- Tablesat IID

The purpose of the UNH TableSat IID project was to create four small-scale, earth-bound satellite prototypes which would be able to travel autonomously in a synchronous tetrahedral formation along a predetermined flight path. Each satellite model possesses the ability to maneuver freely on a horizontal plane while simultaneously rotating about an axis normal to the plane (three degrees of freedom). Additionally, data collection and collision detection instruments had to be incorporated into the models to allow each satellite to record information from its surroundings and relay that information back to a user terminal. This would enable the user to then analyze the data and allow the satellites to identify possible obstructions in the flight path and adjust accordingly in order to avoid any undesirable contact.

The goal of this project is to give NASA engineers a model which would act as a proof of concept experiment to simulate the motion, formation flight, and data acquisition of the actual Magnetosphere Multiscale (MMS) satellites in space. Each TableSat IID model is composed of four core subgroups which must work in conjunction with one another in order to produce a model which will fulfill the criteria outlined above. These subassemblies include a satellite platform, propulsion system, rotation system, and an electrical hardware/software system. The satellite platform consists of the satellite bus, which houses all the components of the propulsion, rotation, and electrical hardware systems, and the tripod base, which enables the satellite to travel across the horizontal plane. The propulsion system allows the satellite model to translate along the horizontal plane while the rotation system allows the satellite to spin about the axis normal to the horizontal plane. The electrical hardware enables the satellite to collect the data and link the physical motion of the satellite directly to the input commands from a user terminal. The software component enables an operator to supply commands to the devices to retrieve output, supply a flight plan, and begin device initialization.