Mercer Summer Engineering Experience (MeSEE)

Introduction

The Mercer Summer Engineering Experience (MeSEE) is a program for students interested in working with a faculty in a small group setting. These experiences range from real-world engineering projects to fundamental research. These experiences can also initiate or complement Mercer University Research that Reaches Out and Mercer On Mission projects. Summer 2017 MeSEE opportunities are listed at the bottom of this page.

Eligibility

To be eligible for this program you must be currently attending Mercer University or be admissible to Mercer as a transient or exchange student.

Invitation/Selection

Individual faculty build their teams. To build these teams, faculty need to be aware of interested students. Students are expected to reach out to faculty via email or phone calls to discuss their interest in joining the faculty's team. MeSEE faculty members are listed on the right. The faculty, in coordination with the Associate Dean's office, will be responsible for enrolling the students in the correct MeSEE.

Dates

A MeSEE is generally designed for the full Mercer summer term. The MeSEE Program begins May 22, 2017 and ends July 26, 2017. 

Time Commitment

MeSEEs are designed as a hands-on experience with a minimum of 150 hours of lab, small group, and individual research time.

Credits and Lab Fees

MeSEEs are offered as a 3 credit course with a $300 lab fee. The 3 credit offering can count towards degree progress as a technical elective for most engineering specializations at Mercer. Please review with your academic advisor.

Pay

MeSEEs are not paid intern positions.

Contact

For more information or questions, contact Dr. Scott Schultz at 478-301-2840 or schultz_sr@mercer.edu.

 

Summer 2017 MeSEE Opportunities

EGR MAE 491L.394MESEE – Dr. Afshar / Dr. Mihut

Study of the Mechanical Behavior of Polymer Nanocomposites Exposed to Harsh Environmental Conditions

Polymer nanocomposites (PNC) are preferred candidates for marine, aviation, transportation and civil infrastructure. PNC materials offer high strength and stiffness-to-weight ratio and great resistance to electrochemical corrosion. However, during their use PNC materials can be exposed to harsh environments (i.e. UV radiation, moisture, erosion and fatigue loading) which can significantly degrade their mechanical properties and preclude their further use.

During the course of this project, students will design and build different equipment for fabrication of PNC samples. Students will prepare PNC materials (e.g. nano-clay epoxy) and inject the prepared materials into the fabricated molds to form PNC samples with the required dimensions.

To simulate the effects of UV and moisture in a repeatable manner and avoid the uncertainties associated with the variation in outdoor exposure conditions, specimens are pre-conditioned in lab. Exposure to UV and moisture (i.e. aging) is performed using a UV radiation/condensation (Q-Lab QUV/se) accelerated weathering chamber. Different exposure scenarios are considered to explore the deleterious individual and combined effects associated with the long-term exposure to UV radiation and moisture. The change in mechanical properties of PNC materials during the exposure are measured by performing compression, erosion and shear tests on polymer nanocomposite samples. The surface morphology of specimens is also monitored by optical microscopy during the environmental exposure.  Ceramic and metallic coatings will also be applied on the surfaces of samples in order to investigate the protective ability of coating systems. Testing of mechanical properties will be performed in the same conditions as for the uncoated specimens.

Afshar_a@mercer.edu    Mihut_dm@mercer.edu

EGR ISE 491L.393MESEE – Dr. Biswas

Study of Urban Road Networks and Traffic Operations in Macon and Surrounding Areas

The research project will investigate the urban road traffic network topology and illustrate different urban road networks in Macon and surrounding areas. Also, this study will estimate the impacts of heterogeneous traffic operation on urban streets for better traffic planning. Recently, the investigation of heterogeneous traffic operation has gained more attention in the field of urban planning and simulation studies. Therefore, it is important to investigate the existing pattern of urban topology of Macon and surrounding area to design better and safer traffic operations.

This study will evaluate the existing urban road networks using GIS, observe and collect data for traffic operations and interactions on existing urban road networks, model the traffic patterns using simulation modelling software and analyze data to build better logistics on the urban road networks.

Biswas_p@mercer.edu

 

EGR TCO 491L.391MESEE (ONLINE) – Dr. Brewer & Dr. Watson
User-Centered Design and Usability Testing of Jungle Data Archive
During this MESEE, students will work on the design of a Jungle Data Archive (JDA) while they learn to conduct a remote project.  Students will participate in this MESEE solely online.

The JDA is a portable digital archive that is being developed to provide medical mission teams with realtime, wireless access to local patient records in the extreme environmental conditions of a tropical jungle. This summer, students will develop and test the user interfaces that clinical personnel will use to store and retrieve patient information with the JDA.

To accomplish the goal of developing user interfaces that are useful, usable, and desirable, students will work with remote stakeholders to understand the interface requirements, design user interfaces, and test the resulting user interfaces with remote stakeholders. The ideal class will consist of a diverse group of interests. The summer project will consist of web and information design, prototyping, testing, and iteration. Students will work with subject matter experts from the Medical school to test and validate design ideas.

At the end of the summer, students will have gained real experience in two skills that are very important to engineering professionals: 
       1. establishing and maintaining highly functioning virtual teams, and
       2. designing and testing products from a remote location
The course is limited to no more than 7 students.
Brewer_pe@mercer.edu    Watson_rb@mercer.edu

EGR ECE 491L.391MESEE – Dr. Choi

See Dr. Choi for details.

Choi_ta@mercer.edu

EGR ECE 491L.392MESEE – Dr. Ekong

Mobile App Development for Teaching STEM

Students will do the following:

  • Conduct research into the State of Georgia academic standards for science/technology at Middle School level.
  • Use MIT App Inventor (a simple program, originally developed by Google) to develop learning modules that teach students how to build apps; each activity in the modules will meet one or more of the GA standards criteria.
    App Inventor assumes no prior knowledge of programming.
  • The learning modules will be used in a summer STEM workshop for girls.
    Students will be required to help in running/teaching the workshop.

Interested students should be very comfortable working with young people from underrepresented groups.

Ekong_d@mercer.edu

EGR MAE 491L.392MESEE – Dr. Hill

Impact Erosion Behavior of Multilayer Metallic Nitride Structures Deposited on Different Substrates

The research project will investigate the effect of surface preparation on the erosion behavior of aluminum alloys, steels, polymers, and epoxies.  Samples will be initially prepared with different surface roughness and evaluated using the profilometer.  Sand/water mixtures to be circulated and erosion rates measured on the samples to see the effect of various parameters (fluid velocity, particle properties, impingement angle, target location, etc.) on the erosion rates on the surface.

Samples will be further exposed to heat treatment and the influence of heat treatment upon the erosion will be evaluated. Furthermore, multilayer structures consisting of alternating ceramic (metallic nitride) and metallic coatings of hundreds of nanometer thickness size will be deposited on aluminum and steel substrates using the DC high vacuum magnetron sputtering deposition equipment. The surface roughness and thickness of deposited thin films will be characterized using the profilometer. The chemical composition of the structures will be characterized using the X-Ray diffraction analysis. All samples will be evaluated using the impact erosion tester for the optimum coating composition.

Hill_sd@mercer.edu

EGR ISE 491L.392MESEE – Dr. Hollingshed

Applied Lean Six Sigma Concepts

During the 10-week period students will focus on learning specific Lean Six Sigma concepts and applying them to simulated and real life projects.  Lean Six Sigma (LSS) is a process improvement methodology which is focused on increasing process speed and reducing process failures and defects using statistical analysis.  The course will focus on using LSS tools on small simulated projects and real life mini-projects.

Hollingshed_md@mercer.edu

EGR MAE 491L.393MESEE – Dr. Mihut / Dr. Hill

Water Purification and Antibacterial Effects of Metallic Nanoparticles Deposited Using DC High Vacuum Magnetron Sputtering on Filtering Materials

Water and water purification is an important problem that is confronting our generation at a global level. The research will test the antibacterial effect of metallic nanoparticles deposited on microsize filtration materials. Filtering materials will be coated with metallic nanoparticles for an increased time and respectively thickness by using the DC High Vacuum Magnetron Sputtering System. The thickness of deposited structures will be in-situ monitored using a quartz crystal microbalance and ex-situ analyzed using a profilometer. The deposited structures will be microscopically investigated to observe the adhesion of metallic nanoparticles to the substrate, their distribution and the overall surface morphology. The chemical composition of the structures will be characterized using the X-Ray diffraction analysis.

The structures will be further on tested for their antibacterial effect. The deactivation rates for fecal coliform and Escherichia coli will be measured with varying metallic compositions and thicknesses.

The testing media containing the bacterial samples will be water collected from different local water resources (e.g. lakes and rivers). The water will be initially tested for the bacterial content as collected. After the water sample passes through the metallic deposited filtering system the remaining targeted bacteria will be quantified.

Mihut_dm@mercer.edu   hill_sd@mercer.edu

EGR ISE 491L.391MESEE – Dr. Moody

Actual and Perceived Force Requirements to Activate Controls as a Function of Age

Safe and usable design of products, especially those to be used by people who are elderly or living with medical conditions such as arthritis or neuropathy must take into account the strength capabilities of a variety of populations. Unfortunately, there is very little data available to help guide product designers. One measure of concern for product designers is the required force to initiate buttons and switches on products – too little force required and there is a danger of accidental activation, while too much force required can make it difficult or painful to operate the device. During this summer’s MeSEE, students will launch a pilot research program aimed at developing a database of the perceived and actual force required to activate control buttons in everyday settings as a function of age. The actual force exerted will be determined by a sensing system, while the perceived force will be based on participant rating of the amount of force required. In this way, we can begin to identify not only maximum force exerted but also data on force requirements that are comfortable for the person using the control. The fingertip pressure sensing system that will be used to measure the actual force exerted was developed as a Senior Design project, and the actual force will be correlated with the respondents’ reporting of the perceived force.

Students in the summer project will develop and conduct a preliminary study that will set the stage for a larger research project. They will be responsible for developing and conducting a study on the correlation between perceived and actual force required to activate a control. To develop the study, they will conduct a review of the existing literature on the effects of aging and certain medical conditions on hand strength, anthropometric study procedures, strength measures, and other background knowledge. They will then work with people in the Macon and Middle Georgia community to identify and recruit a representative sample of community members who they believe will provide a good baseline group to participate in the study. The results will contribute to the ergonomic body of knowledge on human strength measures, as well as provide the foundation for future research that will address a real need in the area of safe and usable product design for a large and growing segment of the population.

Moody_le@mercer.edu

EGR ISE 491L.394MESEE – Dr. Radharamanan

Design, 3D Printing, Additive Manufacturing, or Industrial Engineering hands-on projects

See Dr. Radha for details.

Radharamanan_r@mercer.edu

EGR MAE 491L.391MESEE – Dr. Sumner

Design, Analysis and Testing of an Axial-Flow Hydraulic Turbine

A team of students will design, build and test a 6-in diameter 1-kW hydraulic turbine and/or a 4-in diameter 500-W hydraulic turbine.  The device will convert a water source with an available head of 15 feet to generate electrical power via a permanent-magnet alternator.   Design point operation will be optimized for a specifically selected electrical power generator/alternator.  Construction and testing will support the investigation of design point performance, assessment of the accuracy of design predictions, and consideration of the design practically in rural areas of underdeveloped countries where a natural water flow source is accessible.

Sumner_lb@mercer.edu