Category Archives: Mechanical Engineering

News and Updates from Mechanical Engineering. For more news and information about the department, please visit:
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Mechanical engineers receive best poster award

Xiao and Barlow pose with their winning poster.

Xiao and Barlow pose with their winning poster.

On October 29, mechanical engineering major Stan Barlow, E17, and Ph.D. candidate Xiao Xiao attended the American Society for Gravitational and Space Research Conference in Cleveland, Ohio. They received the Best Poster – Young Investigator Award from the NASA Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS).

Xiao and Barlow won the award for their poster titled “Density Measurement for Industrial Turbine Blade Superalloys,” which they worked on with Associate Professor Douglas Matson and Ph.D. candidate Justin Rodriguez.

 

Messner writes on autonomous cars

Bill Messner, John R. Beaver professor of mechanical engineering, recently wrote about advancements in autonomous car technology and about the future of these self-driving vehicles. Messner opined that “the prospect of greatly reducing accidents, injuries and deaths due to reckless driving, drunk driving, distracted driving, impaired driving, speeding and road rage means that increasingly automated cars will be a fact of life in the years ahead.”

Read the full article in The Conversation and the Boston Business Journal.

Tufts in Talloires: Flying out with determination

This summer, two students from the Bridge to Engineering Success at Tufts (BEST) program blogged their experiences from Tufts in Talloires, a six-week summer program that offers students a dynamic group of courses taught by Tufts faculty in Talloires, France. In addition to coursework, a wide variety of optional outdoor activities, weekly hikes into the Alps, field trips, and organized events offer each student the opportunity to explore the unique Haute-Savoie region of France. 

By Hernan Gallegos

Ready to step off the mountain.

Ready to step off the mountain

“Trois… Deux… Un… Allez!”

Not even three steps into my walk, I realized I wasn’t walking anymore – I was gliding. Suspended only by a parachute, I did what others always say not to do: I looked down. I could see the trees, Lake Annecy, Talloires, the city of Annecy, and even my own home! While my guide was concentrating on the air currents, I had time to reflect on my experiences.

I have analyzed several things throughout my time in France. Through my courses, excursions, and the many people in the program, I realized there was no way for me to use my engineering mind. Personally, I’m glad that this program enforced more of a liberal arts mentality. In the long run, this mentality affected me big time.

As I felt motion sickness from the air currents, I dwelled on the events that arose from this program. Some were enjoyable, while others were questionable. However, I don’t regret being involved in the program. It showed me the world we actually live in and that I know what I can be working towards as an engineer. Being suspended in the air reinforced my passion to become an aerospace engineer, but with a twist.

As I landed on my butt, I thought, “What if I wasn’t exposed to these experiences in Talloires? Would I be the same?” I realized that I wouldn’t. This exposure showed me that as an engineer, I should still remember the humanities as well, or else things will go corrupt within my mind. This entire experience further emphasizes a quote that I strongly believe and that others should understand as well:

“Engineering without humanities is insanity.”

P.S. I’m very glad to have traveled with my fellow BESTie, Michelle Chan!

Hernan Gallegos is a rising sophomore from Atlanta, Georgia, majoring in mechanical engineering.

Tufts in Talloires: My melting pot, le version français

This summer, two students from the Bridge to Engineering Success at Tufts (BEST) program are blogging their experiences from Tufts in Talloires, a six-week summer program that offers students a dynamic group of courses taught by Tufts faculty in Talloires, France. In addition to coursework, a wide variety of optional outdoor activities, weekly hikes into the Alps, field trips, and organized events offer each student the opportunity to explore the unique Haute-Savoie region of France. 

By Hernan Gallegos

Hernan and friends in Menthon St. Bernard after a swim in the lake.

Hernan and friends in Menthon St. Bernard after a swim in the lake.

To be honest, I probably would have had a horrible time here in Talloires if I was alone. The experience of being here is amazing, but if I was here by myself, I would have been miserable. I didn’t experience that due to one major reason — well, several individual ones. The friends I have reunited with, and the new ones I’ve met, keep me going. We have all kept each other going throughout these six weeks outside of our comfort zones.

I did not expect to build this close of a connection with each one of these people I now call friends. I shouldn’t be surprised, since we all have a similar identity. We are first-generation students and young people of color. We come from all across the country. From California to Maine, we each bring something to our very own melting pot.

We usually plan things the day when we want to hang out. Great timing, I know.  But once we get together, an ample amount of hilarious jokes and memorable moments take place. Whether hanging out and swimming in the lake, or eating at a great Italian restaurant, we have all become a big family. A common notion that comes up between us is our experiences within our daily lives. What I can mention, since these are very special moments for us, is that after we share our stories, we strengthen our bonds with one another.

These bonds continue to grow as we approach the end of the program. I can happily count on these people, these friends, to be there for me and vice versa. I know this sounds like a complete cliché, but it’s something that I stand by and strongly believe. Tufts University will soon see this bond in action back on campus. Together, we cannot fail.

Hernan Gallegos is a rising sophomore from Atlanta, Georgia, majoring in mechanical engineering.

Tufts in Talloires: Dancing to your heart’s desire

This summer, two students from the Bridge to Engineering Success at Tufts (BEST) program are blogging their experiences from Tufts in Talloires, a six-week summer program that offers students a dynamic group of courses taught by Tufts faculty. In addition to coursework, a wide variety of optional outdoor activities, weekly hikes into the Alps, field trips, and organized events offer each student the opportunity to explore the unique Haute-Savoie region of France. 

By Hernan Gallegos

The site of Hernan's improv class.

The site of Hernan’s class on dance, movement, and the creative process.

If I were to tell you to close your eyes and dance like no one is around, would you do it? How about in a room with 15 others? That, mi amigo, was the introduction to my “Dance, Movement, and Creative Process” course.

Within the first few classes, every student enrolled felt some form of discomfort with certain activities within the course.  Wouldn’t you feel the same way when you are expected to move around the room like noodles from a ramen cup? I was as stiff as those noodles before being cooked. I didn’t understand the purpose until I read the required readings.

Improvisation was the main aspect of the course—how we move within our own boundaries, both mentally and physically. At first, I took improvising as its literal definition: “create and perform spontaneously or without preparation.” But after reading the articles, I was compelled to view improvisation as a multivariable process. My engineering mind obviously kicked in, thinking of multivariable calculus.

The mind isn’t the only thing that contributes to improvising. The people, feelings, sounds, and atmosphere all contribute to one’s idea of improvising. It isn’t something procedural. It’s something that goes along with the ideas of an engineer, but with a more human twist.

The more time I spend in this course, the more human I feel. At first, I thought many of the ideas contradicted those of an engineer. But thinking more into it, I feel like it helps give more of an open perspective for an engineer. For me, it is a way of escaping the engineering mentality and remembering that I am still human with many uncertainties. Knowing that, I can use that mentality to go headfirst into the world. Huh, doesn’t that sound familiar?

Hernan Gallegos is a rising sophomore from Atlanta, Georgia, majoring in mechanical engineering.

Tufts in Talloires: Engineering goggles

This summer, two students from the Bridge to Engineering Success at Tufts (BEST) program are blogging their experiences from Tufts in Talloires, a six-week summer program that offers students a dynamic group of courses taught by Tufts faculty. In addition to coursework, a wide variety of optional outdoor activities, weekly hikes into the Alps, field trips, and organized events offer each student the opportunity to explore the unique Haute-Savoie region of France. 

By Hernan Gallegos

Bus stop in Talloires - Hernan

Waiting at the L’ecole bus stop in Talloires.

“Où allez-vous?”

“Annecy,” is what I responded when asked by the driver of the bus. Walking up the seamlessly big steps, my roommate and I found seats close to the front. For me, I wanted to see what the bus saw through its big headlights.

Minutes into the ride, we came across the first stop: L’ecole (the school). Going down the main road from the stop, one will end up at Le Prieuré (The Priory), otherwise known as the Tufts University European Center. It’s a 500-year-old building that contains antiques from since it was built. “How has this building lasted so long?” I wondered. Passing this stop, we went straight to Annecy.

Driving along the long road, I observed many old buildings, various roundabouts, and sharp turns. It made me wonder how a charter bus can get through so many obstacles on the road. Someone had to design it, right? How precise the angles of each turn, diameter and circumference of the roundabouts; the materials used for the aging buildings… Thinking about all this opened my engineering mind.

I cannot escape my engineering mentality, so being in Talloires further enforces my need to become an engineer. Observing and analyzing many of the things that Talloires and Annecy have, I realized that many of these features could not be here without someone coming up with various plans to create “perfect” things.

That word is in quotations since nothing is perfect, but it’s close to it, in this case. The creators made sure their creations lasted for a long time. I want to be a part of that. I want to create something that will last for centuries; that will help generations to come. To me, that is engineering: to help others within the community. My community.

Hernan Gallegos is a rising sophomore from Atlanta, Georgia, majoring in mechanical engineering.

2016 Summer Scholars announced

The Tufts Summer Scholars program has announced the 2016 Summer Scholars. Each year, the program awards funding to a select group of rising juniors and seniors from across Tufts academic disciplines, to carry out ten-week independent research projects. The program is administered by the Office of Undergraduate Education.

Congratulations to all our engineering summer scholars! See below for the full list.

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Tufts in Talloires: The hiking engineer

This summer, two students from the Bridge to Engineering Success at Tufts (BEST) program are blogging their experiences from Tufts in Talloires, a six-week summer program that offers students a dynamic group of courses taught by Tufts faculty. In addition to coursework, a wide variety of optional outdoor activities, weekly hikes into the Alps, field trips, and organized events offer each student the opportunity to explore the unique Haute-Savoie region of France. 

By Hernan Gallegos

Hernan - post 2When I heard that I would be hiking, I knew how I felt—uncertain. I’ve never hiked before, and the thought of walking over tough terrain in inclement weather made me feel uncomfortable. Once we (the students) started, I surprisingly enjoyed the somewhat difficult walk. It was a simple task, and the sound of the gravel under my feet helped me continue the hike with ease.

Once arriving at the top, we encountered a fork in the road. We first traversed onto the path that lead us to a waterfall. I did not think much of it, but once we arrived, I was shocked. I admired the waterfall’s natural beauty, how it rushed from the beginning of the drop to the end. I felt like I could have stayed all day.

After that small encounter, we walked the other path; there was a perfect view of Lake Annecy. I looked out from that viewpoint and felt the beauty emerge from the lake. I never thought to see such beautiful things throughout the hike. So we continued walking towards our final destination, St. Germain’s Cave.

Once inside the cave, I reflected on the hike. I wondered why this trip resonated so much with me. Then I made the connection between hiking and engineering, that there are many uncertainties with many of life’s problems. It makes it difficult for people to approach these problems. But if you dive into the uncertainty-filled problems with confidence, the answer will forge itself. This hike helped me view engineering as more than just something procedural. It gave me a sense of a more humane perspective.

I am glad to say that hiking is something I look forward to now with confidence!

Hernan Gallegos is a rising sophomore from Atlanta, Georgia, majoring in mechanical engineering.

Tufts in Talloires: First week outside of “home”

This summer, two students from the Bridge to Engineering Success at Tufts (BEST) program will blog their experiences from Tufts in Talloires, a six-week summer program that offers students a dynamic group of courses taught by Tufts faculty. Students enrolled in this program choose two courses from a selection of undergraduate offerings. In addition to coursework, a wide variety of optional outdoor activities, weekly hikes into the Alps, field trips, and organized events offer each student the opportunity to explore the unique Haute-Savoie region of France. 

The view from Hernan's host's flat, alongside Lake Annecy in Talloires, France.

The view from Hernan’s host’s flat, alongside Lake Annecy in Talloires, France.

By Hernan Gallegos

I had various amounts of emotions, both good and bad, rushing through my mind. I am not surprised since this was my first time traveling outside the country – overseas, to be exact. As an aspiring engineer, first-generation college student, and, most importantly, a young person of color, I was not aware of how I should have felt. Honestly, I was not expecting to be able to travel as far from my home city of Atlanta, Georgia, but this opportunity came to me. Thus, I began to travel outside the U.S. straight to my first destination, Turkey.

My first stop was amazing. My entire time there, I felt a different cultural atmosphere compared to Boston or Atlanta. This exposure was something that I did not know how to react to, so I just went along with this feeling of uncertainty. From walking along the stone streets of Turkey to taking the tram in Leipzig, Germany, I started to feel more at home. Which is a funny term to use since I was not native to neither of these locations. Once I reached Talloires, France, I felt like I returned “home.”

My first view of Talloires was Lake Annecy. Everyone who traveled here with me was in awe of its blue beauty and the nature surrounding it. By the time I start walking around, I met up with old and surprisingly new friends. I have had a snippet of what my courses will be like, my host’s way of living, and what France has to offer (so much cheese!!!). I am walking into a new, unknown world. As an aspiring, first-generation, person of color, engineer, I am ready to see what the next six weeks have in store for me.

Hernan Gallegos is a rising sophomore from Atlanta, Georgia, majoring in mechanical engineering.

Zenyuk researches hydrogen fuel cells

Widespread use of electric vehicles could offer relief from pollution, says Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Iryna Zenyuk, and hydrogen fuel cells present the option for a cleaner, more efficient power source. However, the water byproduct created inside a hydrogen fuel cell compromises the cell’s efficiency.

Tufts Now covers the work being done by Zenyuk and colleagues as they develop new ways to see how water droplets form inside a fuel cell’s tiny cathode layer.