Also participating was mechanical engineering Professor Bahram Nassersharif. He too had been challenged by the president and was happy to comply.
The professor and the deans challenged Provost Donald DeHayes and his staff to take part as well.
To learn more about ALS or donate, visit the ALS Association.
Amtrol, West Warwick, RI.
Amgen, West Greenwich, RI
Advanced Interconnections, West Greenwich, RI
A.T. Cross, Lincoln, RI
L.L. Bean distribution center, Freeport, ME
Pratt & Whitney, Hartford, CT
Rogers Corporation, Rogers, CT
Slater Mill, Pawtucket, RI
Staples fulfillment center, Putnam, CT
Baku State University, Azerbajan
Bishop Hendricken, RI
Bristol High, RI
Chariho High School, RI
Classical High School, RI
Cumberland High, RI
East Greenwich High School, RI
East Providence High School, RI
Holbrook High School, MA
LaSalle Academy, RI
Middletown High School, RI
Milford High School, MA
Narragansett High School, RI
|Needham High School, MA
North Kingstown High School, RI
Old Rochester Regional High School, MA
Parkmont High, DC
Pilgrim High School, RI
Ponagansett High School, RI
Providence College, RI
Robert College, Turkey
Roots College International, Pakistan
Saratoga High School, RL
South Kingstown High School, RI
St. George’s School, RI
The MET School, RI
The Prout School, RI
Westerly High School, RI
Mechanical engineering student Mike Pinto combines his passion for planes with cutting-edge research in composite materials that will allow the next generation of aircraft to travel farther on less fuel.
Mike Pinto grew up making model airplanes with his brothers. Years later, he’s studying composite materials at the University of Rhode Island in hopes of parlaying the innovative research into a new generation of real aircraft.
The mechanical engineering Ph.D. student from Milford, Mass. is exploring composite materials under extreme environments using equipment and expertise unavailable anywhere else. Cameras here can record explosions at hundreds of thousands of frames per second, allowing researchers to see a literal blow-by-blow replay of a blast and its impact on a composite material. A 2,000-gallon pressure vessel provides the opportunity to study real underwater explosions rather than merely simulate them.
“There’s nowhere else in the country where I can do this type of research right now,” Pinto, 23, says.
For companies like Boeing, the research is crucial to their future. Boeing’s latest plane, the 777 Dreamliner, relies on lightweight composite materials for most of its body. Rival Airbus’s A350 XWB also extensively depends on composites. Both aircraft makers hope to improve quality and save airlines money by building planes that are lighter and fly father on less fuel.
Pinto wants to be part of the team that develops the next generation of aircraft that depend on composite materials. To get there, Pinto is looking not at the sky but deep underwater.
Using the College of Engineering’s pressure vessel, Pinto spends his days creating underwater explosions and implosions, essentially the opposite of an explosion. The work offers unique insights into how materials hold up under extreme environments. The knowledge is transferable to planes flying high above the ground that also face high pressures and extreme forces. Plus, Pinto says it’s fun work that offers a chance to break ground.
“There’s so much that can be done with composites,” he says. “Most of the work that’s been done in industry has been trial and error. That doesn’t lead to good design processes.”
Pinto arrived at the University of Rhode Island with a bachelor’s and master’s from the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. At UMass, he studied under Vijaya Chalivendra, a former student of URI mechanical engineering Professor Arun Shukla, Pinto’s doctoral adviser.
Pinto says at URI he’s been blown away by the access to the pressure vessel, super high-speed cameras and Shukla’s decades of expertise. The son of two schoolteachers, Pinto says his time in Kingston fulfils his passion to leverage math and physics to solve problems.
He’s also sought to solve problems outside of the classroom. Through a local martial arts school, Pinto raised money to provide breakfast to low-income children in Rhode Island. His troupe routinely performs demonstrations at fundraisers and Pinto is always encouraging donations for local food banks.
On a lighter note, he’s taken up cooking and on a quest for the perfect scone.
Why do it all?
“The more challenging the project, the better,” Pinto says.]]>
Raw sewage from the school no longer flows into a nearby river. Instead, the waste works its way through a filtration system made of local materials and not dependent on electricity, which is unreliable in the remote village high in the mountains of northwest Guatemala.
Various teams of students spent school years designing the system under the guidance of civil and environmental engineering Associate Professor Vinka Oyanedel-Craver. In the summers, they traveled to Guatemala to assist with construction and teach residents how to maintain the system. They arrived at the urging of the Ixtatán Foundation, a Virginia-based nonprofit that supports education projects in developing nations and asked URI to tackle the wastewater project in San Mateo.
“In the United States there are few times where engineers do a project and have such a close interaction with the beneficiaries,” Oyanedel-Craver says. “With this project, the students saw that engineering impacts people. It’s not just a paper you sign and submit.”
This year, the professor brought five students to the country: Louis Barone of North Providence, R.I., Jessica Damicis of Richmond, R.I., Max Grabinski of Williston Park, N.Y., Andy Shepard of Simsbury, Conn. and Joshua Wolf of South Easton, Mass. All are pursuing degrees in civil and environmental engineering except Wolf, who is a mechanical engineering student.
This year’s team had the satisfaction of completing the project, but not without a moment of panic.
The students spent the previous year designing a secondary filtration system dependent on local sand. Low cost and easy to maintain, the system would remove organic material and bacteria, and prepare the water for reuse in agriculture. When students arrived in San Mateo and opened the bags of sand, they were rock solid. Lime had mixed with water and made the sand unusable.
Far from the resources of a college campus and nowhere near a home-improvement store, the students improvised. They realized that stones could substitute for sand. They drew up new plans, procured stones, and turned a wooden garbage bin and section of wire fencing into a rudimentary gravel sieve.
“I don’t think any of us is the kind of person that would give up that easy,” Damicis says, who first visited the village in 2011. “It was exciting to have a challenge.”
It turned out to be a physical challenge and well as mental exercise. The stones that arrived on a flatbed truck were all different sizes. Students sifted through them, bagged them and lugged them up a hill to the worksite.
“Coming in freshman year I definitely didn’t see myself lugging rocks up a hill in Central America,” Barone says. “I thought it was cool to have that experience. There wasn’t a moment when I thought, ‘What did I get myself into?’”
At the worksite, students spent two weeks mixing concrete and arranging pipes to complete the trickling filter. Local residents and Stephen Andrus, a project manager at GZA GeoEnvironmental Technologies in Providence, R.I., assisted.
As the system neared competition, Damicis taught local high school students about its operation, a task she excelled at thanks to her fluent Spanish. Damicis is simultaneously pursuing a Spanish degree and an engineering degree as part of the University’s International Engineering Program, which includes a year studying and interning abroad.
Damicis says the program and her most recent visit to Guatemala inspired her to look at engineering from a global perspective. Moreover, it’s given her new view of different cultures and the challenges facing developing nations.
“San Mateo gave me a lot more appreciation about the physical labor that goes into these projects,” she says. “A lot of the stuff that works on paper doesn’t always work in the real world.”]]>
To inspire the next generation of engineers you can tell them about engineering. Or, you can show.
On a sunny day in late July, about 50 young people from around the world carried model trebuchets outside to a lawn at the University of Rhode Island. Arming them with Ping-Pong balls, the students competed for the most accurate launch. It was an exercise in understanding how to engineer a design, build it and make it work.
For the students in the Summer Engineering Academy, the day of trebuchets was par for the course. Under the direction of mechanical and industrial engineering Professor Manbir Sodhi, students gathered for an introduction to engineering via a real world, hands-on approach.
“In engineering, sometimes you don’t know what to do and then you think about it,” says high school sophomore Tharun Somasundar, 14, of East Greenwich, R.I. “When you figure it out that feeling of euphoria is really good.”
Encouraging excitement about engineering through activities was the goal of the four-week summer camp that ended July 25.
“If you’re an engineer, you like to see something made. That’s important for an engineer and that’s why we structure the academy with hands-on activities,” Sodhi says.
Besides trebuchets, students learned CAD, built and used 3-D printers, made electronic dice with LED lights, coded robotic software and learned about the history of engineering. They also headed to local businesses, including Amgen in West Greenwich, R.I. There, plant employees ushered them through the drug production lines and explained how the pharmaceutical company develops proteins as the basis of disease-fighting drugs.
The trip marked the first time many students saw a high-tech manufacturing facility and their first opportunity to meet engineers solving real problems.
Nina Gardner, 17, of Kingston, R.I., admired the complexity of the Amgen plant and its R&D facilities. Long interested in engineering, the trip helped solidify her desire to enter the field after high school. To couple her passion for engineering and her desire to travel, Gardner said she’s considering applying to the University of Rhode Island for its International Engineering Program. The program combines degrees in a foreign language and engineering as well as a year abroad studying and interning.
“The International Engineering Program at URI sounds really good and interesting,” Gardner said.
Some students thought the URI engineering program sounded so interesting they traveled halfway around the world to experience it. A group of students hailed from Turkey and Azerbaijan. In previous years, students have come from Germany, India, Mexico and Pakistan, making the academy a global experience.
This year, Ilayda Buyukdogan, 17, of Robert College, Istanbul, Turkey, saw the Engineering Academy advertised in her school and, on the recommendation of friends who had attended, enrolled.
After time in the College of Engineering’s facilities and field trips to local companies, Buyukdogan discovered a love of engineering, attracted by the opportunity to work on engaging projects that can influence society.
“I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be an engineer,” Buyukdogan says. “Now, I decided I want to be an engineer.”
Although Buyukdogan will return to Turkey, Sodhi’s work to inspire the next generation of engineers will not stop. During the academic year, he organizes a pre-college engineering program at the Providence Career and Technical Academy and Mount Pleasant High School, both in Providence, R.I.
“The students have fun and I see them grow,” Sodhi says. “That’s rewarding both for me and the students.”]]>
2015 Dates TBA
This session introduces students to the different disciplines of engineering. A brief introduction to the history of engineering will be studied. The process of engineering design will be examined by following the design and construction of objects encountered in everyday life including a bridge, and automobile, a toy and some household objects. Engineering calculations used for designing some of these objects will be worked out. Common manufacturing processes will be studied. Students will design using the computer. Careers in engineering will be explored and practicing engineers will meet with the students to discuss their careers.
2015 Dates TBA
Working in small teams, students will use the Arduino processor to control a variety of devices including LEDs, motors, servo motors, vision and acoustic sensors and encoders. Using a programming language (which will be taught as part of this program), these devices will be integrated to make robots. The robots will be used to complete specific tasks of increasing complexity such as pick-and-place, obstacle course navigation, robot races etc. Each student will be given her/his own hardware to keep after the conclusion of the course. Suitable for high school seniors and and college freshmen.
The Weekend Program offers students a chance to see regional engineering and cultural landmarks. Visits are often to New York City, Boston, Providence, New Haven, New London, Newport RI, Jamestown and other local places of interest.
Residence hall housing is available for an additional fee.
Not only do you learn a great deal about the various types of engineering, but you also become great friends with people from all over the world. – Jake, New York
Scholarships are available to partly offset the course fees for students with demonstrated financial need. Please contact Professor Sodhi at firstname.lastname@example.org or +1.401.874.5189 for an application.
Students with disabilities will be given special accommodation.
Email email@example.com or call +1.401.874.5189.
Please use our online application to apply. Your seat will not be confirmed until payment is received. e-Campus accounts will be created for students enrolled in the Summer Academy. Bills may be viewed by logging into the student e-Campus account then going to Main Menu -> Self Service -> Campus Finances. Payment may be made through e-Campus, by mailing a check (6 Rhody Ram Way Kingston, RI 02881, please include student name and ID) or in person at Enrollment Services in Green Hall.]]>
An explosion hitting metal causes its temperature to spike by thousands of degrees. It happens so fast, blink and you’ll miss it. In fact, no existing camera can detect the dramatic temperature change, making research into how materials hold up in extreme environments difficult.
University of Rhode Island mechanical engineering Professor Arun Shukla plans to change that. Armed with a $75,000 grant from the Rhode Island Science and Technology Advisory Council awarded in July 2014, he’s sketching out a super high-speed imaging system. As envisioned, the device will rely on infrared to record the temperature of a surface at 10 million frames per second. By way of comparison, a mid-range digital camera records about 4 frames per second.
The device will also detect changes across an area of just 2 square millimeters, about the twice the size of a pinhead, with a spatial resolution of 10 millionth of a meter. Within that area, Shukla hopes to measure the temperature in five distinct regions.
“No one has measured these temperatures on this scale until now,” Shukla says. “If this works, we will open up avenues for us to do work where temperatures rise very, very fast.”
That’s of great interest to defense officials interested in understanding how armor holds up to explosions. Defense researchers could also utilize the equipment to precisely measure the heat spots in explosives to better understand their impact.
On an academic level, a high-speed imaging system opens the door to better understanding shear banding, an intense strain that can cause materials to buckle.
Shukla will use the funding from the council to work with Brown University to construct a prototype infrared imaging system. Shukla will bring his years of expertise in studying how materials behave in extreme conditions. Brown University, led by engineering Associate Professor Pradeep Guduru, will lend its experience in designing circuity and will fabricate the computer chips that will power the device.
The team says that the device would be unprecedented and attract further research to Rhode Island. Eventually the idea could be commercialized and sold to others.
“Most of the equipment that’s on the market doesn’t come close to making measurements this quickly,” Shukla says. “We could change that.”]]>