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Mechanical Engineering Seminar

When: Friday, April 12, 2024
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Where: > See description for location
Description: Mechanical Engineering (MNE) SEMINAR

April 12, 2024

2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Science and Engineering (SENG) 110

SPEAKER #1: Menaka Konara, MS in Mechanical Engineering (Advisor: Dr. Kihan Park)

Optically Controlled Microrobots for Biomedical Applications

Microrobotics has evolved as an interesting research area with the development of new microfabrication techniques and the applicability of these micro units to real-world applications. At the macro scale, a robotic system can be identified as a machine that can be programmable to carry out pre-defined tasks. However, the characteristics of their counterparts at the micro/nanoscale are slightly different. Therefore, different approaches are taken when it comes to the design and fabrication of these units. The importance of micro/nano scale robots has been identified with the development of microfluidic devices for biomedical applications. They have shown promising functionalities that can be advantageous when it comes to specific applications such as cancer treatment and diagnosis in a non-invasive manner. Among the other types of micro-robotics, the light-actuated microrobots are widely studied for its promise of biocompatibility, real-time control, live feedback, etc. With regards to optically controlled microrobots, they utilize tightly focused laser beams for micro/nano-scale motion. These laser beams create optical traps that allow manipulation of micromachines in complex microfluidic environments. Real time control of these micromachines can be an important tool for biomedical applications. Further, muti-functional microrobots and swarm of microrobots have a great potential to deliver results not only for in vitro but also for future in vivo applications. In this presentation, optically controlled microrobots and their applicability for biomedical applications will be presented.

SPEAKER #2: Joshua James Banez, MS in Mechanical Engineering (Advisor: Dr. Mehdi Raessi)

Advancing the AST Probe Calibration Process through Computational and Experimental Analyses and Novel Fixture Design

Ametek Brookfield's Advanced Sensing Technology (AST) probe calibration process currently takes over 109 hours to fully complete, which is very long and costly. By shortening the calibration process, lead-times on AST instruments could be decreased, more probes could be calibrated, and the cost to manufacture would be reduced. AST probes are high-tech and precise measurement tools used in a variety of applications to report temperature and viscosity of the desired fluid. The calibration process for such an instrument requires time in an environmental chamber for three different cycles: the burn-in cycle, the air cycle, and the oil cycle. The burn-in cycle is a 27-hour process that cycles the temperature to set a base for the AST probes. The probes are then put through a 16-hour calibration where the probes are suspended in air and then a 66-hour calibration where the probes are submersed in a calibrated oil standard. The solution chosen to speed up calibration required re-design of the current tray fixture for holding the oil in the calibration cycle. The current fixture takes up a lot of mass in the system during both the air and oil cycles of the calibration process. This mass leads to a greater heat capacity in the system which, in turn, adds to the time it takes for the system to come to steady state at each calibration point. The project involved both designing a new fixture and analyzing the time that could be saved in the calibration cycle. Experimental testing with prototypes was then used alongside the simulation to provide more accurate results. Using a combined knowledge of heat transfer, thermal systems, design, and manufacturing engineering this project was able to create a novel fixture that reduced the heat capacity in the system by 31.65% during the oil calibration. This led to an estimated time savings of 33 hours, or 50%, for the just oil cycle from the simulation analysis. The prototypes were machined and experimentally tested to show an actual time savings for the oil cycle of 29.8 hours resulting in an oil cycle that takes only 54.85% of the current time. The new design delivers similar levels of accuracy in the calibration process, while significantly shortening the process.

For more information please contact Dr. Hangjian Ling, MNE Seminar Coordinator (

All are welcome.

Students taking MNE-500 are REQUIRED to attend!

All other MNE BS and MS students are encouraged to attend. EAS students are also encouraged to attend.
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