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Writing a Research Paper

Asme journals digital submission tool guidelines and information, writing a research paper or technical brief.

Only original contributions to the engineering literature are accepted for publication; work should incorporate substantial information not previously published.


If a submission contains excerpts from other copyrighted material (including without limitation any diagrams, photographs, figures or text), it is the responsibility of the authors to acquire in writing all necessary rights from third parties to include those materials in a submission. In addition, appropriate credit for that third-party material must be included in footnotes, figure/table captions, Acknowledgements, References or Bibliography. This is part of the Terms and Conditions of the Copyright Transfer Agreement required form each author prior to publication of an accepted submission.

Resources The Office of Research Integrity has the following guide that may be a useful reference: Avoiding Plagiarism, Self-Plagiarism, and Other Questionable Writing Practices: A Guide to Ethical Writing.

Accuracy It is of the greatest importance that all technical, scientific, and mathematical information contained in the paper be checked with the utmost care.

It is ASME policy that SI units of measurement be included in all papers. When U.S. customary units are given preference, the SI equivalent should be provided in parentheses or in a supplementary table. When preference is given to SI units, the U.S. customary units should be provided in parentheses or in a supplementary table.

A research paper should not exceed 12,000 words. Beyond this amount, a mandatory excess-page charge can be assessed. These charges are described here: Publication Charges .

To estimate figures and tables:

  • 1 journal page = 1000 words
  • Half-journal page or a single column = 500 words
  • Half-column = 250 words
  • Quarter column = 125 words.

The Editor reserves the right to send papers that exceed the length limitation back to the author(s) for shortening before initiating the review process.

Elements of a Paper

The basic elements of a paper or brief are listed below in the order in which they should appear:

  • author names and affiliations
  • body of paper
  • acknowledgments
  • nomenclature
  • figures and tables

Text: 9 or 10 pt. Times Roman medium (or equivalent typeface), justified, with single line spacing

The title of the paper should be concise and definitive.

Author Names and Affiliations

It is ASME policy that all those who have participated significantly in the technical aspects of a paper be recognized as co-authors or cited in the acknowledgments. Author name should consist of first name (or initial), middle initial, and last name. The author affiliation should consist of the following, as applicable, in the order noted:

  • university or company (with department name or company division)
  • mailing address
  • city, state, zip code
  • country name (other than the U.S.)
  • e-mail (university or company email addresses should be used whenever possible)

An abstract (250 words maximum) should open the paper or brief. The purpose of the abstract is to give a clear indication of the objective, scope, and results so that readers may determine whether the full text will be of particular interest to them.

The text should be organized into logical parts or sections. The purpose of the paper should be stated at the beginning, followed by a description of the problem, the means of solution, and any other information necessary to properly qualify the results presented and the conclusions. The results should be presented in an orderly form, followed by the author'/s conclusions.

Headings and subheadings should appear throughout the work to divide the subject matter into logical parts and to emphasize the major elements and considerations. Parts or sections may be numbered, if desired, but paragraphs should not be numbered.

Equations should be numbered consecutively beginning with (1) to the end of the paper, including any appendices. The number should be enclosed in parentheses and set flush right in the column on the same line as the equation. It is this number that should be used when referring to equations within the text. Equations should be referenced within the text as "Eq. (x)." When the reference to an equation begins a sentence, it should be spelled out, e.g., "Equation (x)."

Formulas and equations should be created to clearly distinguish capital letters from lowercase letters. Care should be taken to avoid confusion between the lowercase "l"(el) and the numeral one, or between zero and the lowercase "o." All subscripts, superscripts, Greek letters, and other symbols should be clearly indicated.

In all mathematical expressions and analyses, any symbols (and the units in which they are measured) not previously defined in nomenclature should be explained. If the paper is highly mathematical in nature, it may be advisable to develop equations and formulas in appendices rather than in the body of the paper.

All figures (graphs, line drawings, photographs, etc.) should be numbered consecutively and have a caption consisting of the figure number and a brief title or description of the figure. This number should be used when referring to the figure in text. Figure references should be included within the text in numerical order according to their order of appearance. Figures should be referenced within the text as "Fig. 1." When the reference to a figure begins a sentence, the abbreviation "Fig." should be spelled out, e.g., "Figure 1." A separate list of figure numbers and their respective captions should be included at the end of the paper (for production purposes only). ASME accepts .tiff (.tif) or .eps file formats for figures.

  • TIFF (Tag Image File Format) is for bitmap images (spatially mapped array of bits).
  • EPS (Encapsulated Postscript) is for vector graphics (mathematical expressions of geometrical primitives).

Images created in Word can opened in Adobe Acrobat and saved as .tif or .eps

Figure files greater than 15MB should be checked to see if layers were merged.

All tables should be numbered consecutively and have a caption consisting of the table number and a brief title. This number should be used when referring to the table in text. Table references should be included within the text in numerical order according to their order of appearance. Tables should be inserted as part of the text as close as possible to its first reference — with the exception of those tables included at the end of the paper as an appendix. A separate list of table numbers and their respective captions should be included at the end of the paper (for production purposes only).

Video Files

Currently, the ASME Journal Tool does not accommodate the submission of video files. Authors can contact the Editor by email if they have video files. If accepted by the Editor for review, ASME will provide information for transferring the files by FTP.

Video files should augment a figure that is included in the paper since they will be included as part of the peer-review of the paper, and if accepted for publication, part of the archival version of the paper.

The following file formats can be accepted for video files:

Supplemental Material

Go to “ Supplemental Material ” for information on this.


Acknowledgments may be made to individuals or institutions not mentioned elsewhere in the work who have made an important contribution.

Funding Information

Funding information provided will be placed at the end of the Acknowledgment section.


Nomenclature should follow customary usage. For reference, consult American National Standards Institute (ANSI) recommendations. The nomenclature list should be in alphabetical order (capital letters first, followed by lowercase letters), followed by any Greek symbols, with subscripts and superscripts last, identified with headings.

Sample Nomenclature

  • Pages must be paginated.
  • Highly technical terms or phraseology must be explained and defined.
  • The use of the first person and reference to individuals should be made in such a manner as to avoid personal bias.
  • Company names should be mentioned only in the acknowledgments.
  • All papers should be concise regardless of length.
  • Long quotations should be avoided by referring to sources.
  • Illustrations and tables must be kept to a practicable minimum.
  • Detailed drawings, lengthy test data and calculations, and photographs not integral to the understanding of the subject, should be omitted.
  • Equations should be kept to a reasonable minimum, and built-up fractions within sentences should be avoided.
  • Spell out all acronyms on first use. Put the acronym in parentheses immediately after the spelled-out term.
  • All lines of the initial submission must be numbered.

Within the text, references should be cited in numerical order according to their order of appearance. The numbered reference citation within text should be enclosed in brackets.

Example: It was shown by Prusa [1] that the width of the plume decreases under these conditions.

All references must include a DOI.

In the case of two citations, the numbers should be separated by a comma [1,2]. In the case of more than two references, the numbers should be separated by a dash [5-7].

Note: ASME primarily uses the Chicago Manual of Style for reference format. Authors are encouraged to seek out precise instructions via: http://www.ChicagoManualofStyle.org. ASME does not allow references to Wikipedia.

Sample References

References should be listed together at the end of the paper; footnotes should not be used for this purpose.

References should be arranged in numerical order according to the sequence of citations within the text. Each reference should include the last name of each author followed by initials.

Website Content

  • [2] Wayne, John “John Cowboy Videos 2009,” YouTube video, 7:00, November 13, 2009, http://www.you tube.com/ watch?v= aBcDeFgH9yz.
  • [3] “Apple Privacy Policy,” last modified February 4, 2009, accessed July 19, 2010, http://www.apple.com/intl/en/privacypolicy.html.
  • [17] “WD2000: Visual Basic Macro to Assign Clipboard Text to a String Variable,” revision 1.3, Microsoft Help and Support, last modified November 23, 2006, http://support.microsoft.com/kb/212730.
  • Note: If a site ceases to exist before publication, or if the information is modified or deleted, this must be included: [8] As of February 22, 2013, Sullivan was claiming on her website that … (a claim that had disappeared from her page by March 4, 2013).

Journal Articles and Papers in Serial Publications

  • [3] Adams, Z., 2014, “Bending of an Infinite Beam on an Elastic Substrate,” ASME J Appl. Mech., 3, pp. 221-228.
  • [9] Zhang, T. W., Khun, C., Liu, Q., and Miller, A. P., 2011, “Self-Healing Techniques,” Nature, 332(6662), pp. 888-892.

Textbooks and Monographs

  • [10] Gibson, T.A., and Tucker, M. T., 2008, The Big Book of Cellular Studies, John Wiley and Sons, NY.

Chapter Within a Book

  • [32] Stevens, T. T., 1999, “Stochastic Fields and Their Digital Simulation,” Stochastic Methods. T. A. Sulle, and M. Siiu, eds., Martinius Publishers, Dordrecht, Germany, pp. 22-36.

Individual Conference Papers/Papers in Compiled Proceedings/Collection of Works by Numerous Authors

  • [21] Wions, T. T., and Mills, C. D., 2006, “Structural Dynamics in Parallel Manipulation,” Proceedings of the IDETC/CIE, New Orleans, LA, September 10-13, 2005, ASME Paper No. DETC2005-99532, pp. 777-798.

Theses and Technical Reports

  • [1] Oligaria, T. T., Fredy, C. W., Popullo, A. Z., and Tucker, M. A., 20111, “Characterization of PKM Dynamics,” SAE Technical Paper No. 2011-02-8345, 07ATC-96.
  • [25] Mollen, T., P., 2014, “Use of General Nonlinear Material in Articulated Systems,” Ph.D. dissertation, University of Boston, Boston, MA.
  • [27] Clinton, D., 2013, “Review of Rocket Technology,” NASA Report No. NASA RE-8842.

Books Consulted Online

  • [23] Smith, John, 2014, A Dog’s Life in Berlin. Oxford University Press, New York. Doi: 10.1055/acprof.oso/97890.0394.000.

Citing ASME Journal Titles

In order to improve the accuracy of citation data collection, ASME is standardizing on the following abbreviations for the titles in the ASME Journal Program. Authors should use these abbreviations for ASME titles in their references:

Applied Mechanics Reviews Appl Mech Rev
Journal of Applied Mechanics J Appl Mech
Journal of Biomechanical Engineering J Biomech Eng
Journal of Computational and Nonlinear Dynamics J Comput Nonlin Dyn
Journal of Computing and Information Science in Engineering J Comput Inf Sci Eng
Journal of Dynamic Systems, Measurement and Control J Dyn Syst-T ASME
Journal of Electronic Packaging J Electron Packaging
Journal of Energy Resources Technology J Energ Resour
Journal of Engineering for Gas Turbines and Power J Eng Gas Turb Power
Journal of Engineering Materials and Technology J Eng Mater
Journal of Fluids Engineering J Fluid Eng
Journal of Fuel Cell Science and Technology J Fuel Cell Sci Tech
Journal of Heat Transfer J Heat Trans
Journal of Manufacturing Science and Engineering J Manuf Sci E
Journal of Mechanical Design J Mech Design
Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics J Mech Robot
Journal of Medical Devices J Med Devices
Journal of Micro and Nano-Manufacturing J Micro Nano-Manuf
Journal of Nanotechnology in Engineering and Medicine J Nanotech Eng Med
Journal of Offshore Mechanics and Arctic Engineering J Offshore Mech Arct
Journal of Pressure Vessel Technology J Press Vess
Journal of Solar Energy Engineering J Sol Energ
Journal of Thermal Science and Engineering Applications J Therm Sci Eng Appl
Journal of Tribology J Tribol
Journal of Turbomachinery J Turbomach
Journal of Vibration and Acoustics J Vib Acoust

Journal Statements:

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Top 150 Mechanical Engineering Research Topics [Updated]

mechanical engineering research topics

Mechanical engineering is an intriguing discipline that holds significant sway in shaping our world. With a focus on crafting inventive machinery and fostering sustainable energy initiatives, mechanical engineers stand as pioneers in driving technological progress. However, to make meaningful contributions to the field, researchers must carefully choose their topics of study. In this blog, we’ll delve into various mechanical engineering research topics, ranging from fundamental principles to emerging trends and interdisciplinary applications.

How to Select Mechanical Engineering Research Topics?

Table of Contents

Selecting the right mechanical engineering research topics is crucial for driving impactful innovation and addressing pressing challenges. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you choose the best research topics:

  • Identify Your Interests: Start by considering your passions and areas of expertise within mechanical engineering. What topics excite you the most? Choosing a subject that aligns with your interests will keep you motivated throughout the research process.
  • Assess Current Trends: Stay updated on the latest developments and trends in mechanical engineering. Look for emerging technologies, pressing industry challenges, and areas with significant research gaps. These trends can guide you towards relevant and timely research topics.
  • Conduct Literature Review: Dive into existing literature and research papers within your field of interest. Identify gaps in knowledge, unanswered questions, or areas that warrant further investigation. Building upon existing research can lead to more impactful contributions to the field.
  • Consider Practical Applications: Evaluate the practical implications of potential research topics. How will your research address real-world problems or benefit society? Choosing topics with tangible applications can increase the relevance and impact of your research outcomes.
  • Consult with Advisors and Peers: Seek guidance from experienced mentors, advisors, or peers in the field of mechanical engineering. Discuss your research interests and potential topics with them to gain valuable insights and feedback. Their expertise can help you refine your ideas and select the most promising topics.
  • Define Research Objectives: Clearly define the objectives and scope of your research. What specific questions do you aim to answer or problems do you intend to solve? Establishing clear research goals will guide your topic selection process and keep your project focused.
  • Consider Resources and Constraints: Take into account the resources, expertise, and time available for your research. Choose topics that are feasible within your constraints and align with your available resources. Balancing ambition with practicality is essential for successful research endeavors.
  • Brainstorm and Narrow Down Options: Generate a list of potential research topics through brainstorming and exploration. Narrow down your options based on criteria such as relevance, feasibility, and alignment with your interests and goals. Choose the most promising topics that offer ample opportunities for exploration and discovery.
  • Seek Feedback and Refinement: Once you’ve identified potential research topics, seek feedback from colleagues, advisors, or experts in the field. Refine your ideas based on their input and suggestions. Iteratively refining your topic selection process will lead to a more robust and well-defined research proposal.
  • Stay Flexible and Open-Minded: Remain open to new ideas and opportunities as you progress through the research process. Be willing to adjust your research topic or direction based on new insights, challenges, or discoveries. Flexibility and adaptability are key qualities for successful research endeavors in mechanical engineering.

By following these steps and considering various factors, you can effectively select mechanical engineering research topics that align with your interests, goals, and the needs of the field.

Top 50 Mechanical Engineering Research Topics For Beginners

  • Analysis of the efficiency of different heat exchanger designs.
  • Optimization of airfoil shapes for enhanced aerodynamic performance.
  • Investigation of renewable energy harvesting using piezoelectric materials.
  • Development of smart materials for adaptive structures in aerospace applications.
  • Study of vibration damping techniques for improving vehicle ride comfort.
  • Design and optimization of suspension systems for off-road vehicles.
  • Analysis of fluid flow characteristics in microchannels for cooling electronics.
  • Evaluation of the performance of different brake systems in automotive vehicles.
  • Development of lightweight materials for automotive and aerospace industries.
  • Investigation of the effects of friction stir welding parameters on joint properties.
  • Design and testing of a small-scale wind turbine for rural electrification.
  • Study of the dynamics of flexible multibody systems in robotics.
  • Development of a low-cost prosthetic limb using 3D printing technology.
  • Analysis of heat transfer in electronic packaging for thermal management.
  • Investigation of energy harvesting from vehicle suspension systems.
  • Design and optimization of heat sinks for electronic cooling applications.
  • Study of material degradation in composite structures under various loading conditions.
  • Development of bio-inspired robotic mechanisms for locomotion.
  • Investigation of the performance of regenerative braking systems in electric vehicles.
  • Design and analysis of an autonomous agricultural robot for crop monitoring.
  • Optimization of gas turbine blade profiles for improved efficiency.
  • Study of the aerodynamics of animal-inspired flying robots (bio-drones).
  • Development of advanced control algorithms for robotic manipulators.
  • Analysis of wear mechanisms in mechanical components under different operating conditions.
  • Investigation of the efficiency of solar water heating systems.
  • Design and optimization of microfluidic devices for biomedical applications.
  • Study of the effects of additive manufacturing parameters on part quality.
  • Development of assistive devices for individuals with disabilities.
  • Analysis of the performance of different types of bearings in rotating machinery.
  • Investigation of the feasibility of using shape memory alloys in actuator systems.
  • Design and optimization of a compact heat exchanger for space applications.
  • Study of the effects of surface roughness on friction and wear in sliding contacts.
  • Development of energy-efficient HVAC systems for buildings.
  • Analysis of the performance of different types of fuel cells for power generation.
  • Investigation of the feasibility of using biofuels in internal combustion engines.
  • Design and testing of a micro-scale combustion engine for portable power generation.
  • Study of the mechanics of soft materials for biomedical applications.
  • Development of exoskeletons for rehabilitation and assistance in mobility.
  • Analysis of the effects of vehicle aerodynamics on fuel consumption.
  • Investigation of the potential of ocean wave energy harvesting technologies.
  • Design and optimization of energy-efficient refrigeration systems.
  • Study of the dynamics of flexible structures subjected to dynamic loads.
  • Development of sensors and actuators for structural health monitoring.
  • Analysis of the performance of different cooling techniques in electronics.
  • Investigation of the potential of hydrogen fuel cells for automotive applications.
  • Design and testing of a small-scale hydroelectric power generator.
  • Study of the mechanics of cellular materials for impact absorption.
  • Development of unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) for environmental monitoring.
  • Analysis of the efficiency of different propulsion systems in space exploration.
  • Investigation of the potential of micro-scale energy harvesting technologies for powering wireless sensors.

Top 50 Mechanical Engineering Research Topics For Intermediate

  • Optimization of heat exchanger designs for enhanced energy efficiency.
  • Investigating the effects of surface roughness on fluid flow in microchannels.
  • Development of lightweight materials for automotive applications.
  • Modeling and simulation of combustion processes in internal combustion engines.
  • Design and analysis of novel wind turbine blade configurations.
  • Study of advanced control strategies for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
  • Analysis of wear and friction in mechanical components under varying operating conditions.
  • Investigation of thermal management techniques for high-power electronic devices.
  • Development of smart materials for shape memory alloys in actuator applications.
  • Design and fabrication of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) for biomedical applications.
  • Optimization of additive manufacturing processes for metal 3D printing.
  • Study of fluid-structure interaction in flexible marine structures.
  • Analysis of fatigue behavior in composite materials for aerospace applications.
  • Development of energy harvesting technologies for sustainable power generation.
  • Investigation of bio-inspired robotics for locomotion in challenging environments.
  • Study of human factors in the design of ergonomic workstations.
  • Design and control of soft robots for delicate manipulation tasks.
  • Development of advanced sensor technologies for condition monitoring in rotating machinery.
  • Analysis of aerodynamic performance in hypersonic flight vehicles.
  • Study of regenerative braking systems for electric vehicles.
  • Optimization of cooling systems for high-performance computing (HPC) applications.
  • Investigation of fluid dynamics in microfluidic devices for lab-on-a-chip applications.
  • Design and optimization of passive and active vibration control systems.
  • Analysis of heat transfer mechanisms in nanofluids for thermal management.
  • Development of energy-efficient HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems.
  • Study of biomimetic design principles for robotic grippers and manipulators.
  • Investigation of hydrodynamic performance in marine propeller designs.
  • Development of autonomous agricultural robots for precision farming.
  • Analysis of wind-induced vibrations in tall buildings and bridges.
  • Optimization of material properties for additive manufacturing of aerospace components.
  • Study of renewable energy integration in smart grid systems.
  • Investigation of fracture mechanics in brittle materials for structural integrity assessment.
  • Development of wearable sensors for human motion tracking and biomechanical analysis.
  • Analysis of combustion instability in gas turbine engines.
  • Optimization of thermal insulation materials for building energy efficiency.
  • Study of fluid-structure interaction in flexible wing designs for unmanned aerial vehicles.
  • Investigation of heat transfer enhancement techniques in heat exchanger surfaces.
  • Development of microscale actuators for micro-robotic systems.
  • Analysis of energy storage technologies for grid-scale applications.
  • Optimization of manufacturing processes for lightweight automotive structures.
  • Study of tribological behavior in lubricated mechanical systems.
  • Investigation of fault detection and diagnosis techniques for industrial machinery.
  • Development of biodegradable materials for sustainable packaging applications.
  • Analysis of heat transfer in porous media for thermal energy storage.
  • Optimization of control strategies for robotic manipulation tasks in uncertain environments.
  • Study of fluid dynamics in fuel cell systems for renewable energy conversion.
  • Investigation of fatigue crack propagation in metallic alloys.
  • Development of energy-efficient propulsion systems for unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs).
  • Analysis of airflow patterns in natural ventilation systems for buildings.
  • Optimization of material selection for additive manufacturing of biomedical implants.

Top 50 Mechanical Engineering Research Topics For Advanced

  • Development of advanced materials for high-temperature applications
  • Optimization of heat exchanger design using computational fluid dynamics (CFD)
  • Control strategies for enhancing the performance of micro-scale heat transfer devices
  • Multi-physics modeling and simulation of thermoelastic damping in MEMS/NEMS devices
  • Design and analysis of next-generation turbofan engines for aircraft propulsion
  • Investigation of advanced cooling techniques for electronic devices in harsh environments
  • Development of novel nanomaterials for efficient energy conversion and storage
  • Optimization of piezoelectric energy harvesting systems for powering wireless sensor networks
  • Investigation of microscale heat transfer phenomena in advanced cooling technologies
  • Design and optimization of advanced composite materials for aerospace applications
  • Development of bio-inspired materials for impact-resistant structures
  • Exploration of advanced manufacturing techniques for producing complex geometries in aerospace components
  • Integration of artificial intelligence algorithms for predictive maintenance in rotating machinery
  • Design and optimization of advanced robotics systems for industrial automation
  • Investigation of friction and wear behavior in advanced lubricants for high-speed applications
  • Development of smart materials for adaptive structures and morphing aircraft wings
  • Exploration of advanced control strategies for active vibration damping in mechanical systems
  • Design and analysis of advanced wind turbine blade designs for improved energy capture
  • Investigation of thermal management solutions for electric vehicle batteries
  • Development of advanced sensors for real-time monitoring of structural health in civil infrastructure
  • Optimization of additive manufacturing processes for producing high-performance metallic components
  • Investigation of advanced corrosion-resistant coatings for marine applications
  • Design and analysis of advanced hydraulic systems for heavy-duty machinery
  • Exploration of advanced filtration technologies for water purification and wastewater treatment
  • Development of advanced prosthetic limbs with biomimetic functionalities
  • Investigation of microscale fluid flow phenomena in lab-on-a-chip devices for medical diagnostics
  • Optimization of heat transfer in microscale heat exchangers for cooling electronics
  • Development of advanced energy-efficient HVAC systems for buildings
  • Exploration of advanced propulsion systems for space exploration missions
  • Investigation of advanced control algorithms for autonomous vehicles in complex environments
  • Development of advanced surgical robots for minimally invasive procedures
  • Optimization of advanced suspension systems for improving vehicle ride comfort and handling
  • Investigation of advanced materials for 3D printing in aerospace manufacturing
  • Development of advanced thermal barrier coatings for gas turbine engines
  • Exploration of advanced wear-resistant coatings for cutting tools in machining applications
  • Investigation of advanced nanofluids for enhanced heat transfer in cooling applications
  • Development of advanced biomaterials for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine
  • Exploration of advanced actuators for soft robotics applications
  • Investigation of advanced energy storage systems for grid-scale applications
  • Development of advanced rehabilitation devices for individuals with mobility impairments
  • Exploration of advanced materials for earthquake-resistant building structures
  • Investigation of advanced aerodynamic concepts for reducing drag and improving fuel efficiency in vehicles
  • Development of advanced microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) for biomedical applications
  • Exploration of advanced control strategies for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)
  • Investigation of advanced materials for lightweight armor systems
  • Development of advanced prosthetic interfaces for improving user comfort and functionality
  • Exploration of advanced algorithms for autonomous navigation of underwater vehicles
  • Investigation of advanced sensors for detecting and monitoring air pollution
  • Development of advanced energy harvesting systems for powering wireless sensor networks
  • Exploration of advanced concepts for next-generation space propulsion systems.

Mechanical engineering research encompasses a wide range of topics, from fundamental principles to cutting-edge technologies and interdisciplinary applications. By choosing the right mechanical engineering research topics and addressing key challenges, researchers can contribute to advancements in various industries and address pressing global issues. As we look to the future, the possibilities for innovation and discovery in mechanical engineering are endless, offering exciting opportunities to shape a better world for generations to come.

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Digital Commons @ USF > College of Engineering > Mechanical Engineering > Theses and Dissertations

Mechanical Engineering Theses and Dissertations

Theses/dissertations from 2023 2023.

Metachronal Locomotion: Swimming, Scaling, and Schooling , Kuvvat Garayev

A Human-in-the-Loop Robot Grasping System with Grasp Quality Refinement , Tian Tan

Theses/Dissertations from 2022 2022

Health Effects of Oil Spills and Dispersal of Oil Droplets and Zooplankton by Langmuir Cells , Sanjib Gurung

Estimating the As-Placed Grout Volume of Auger Cast Piles , Tristen Mee

Hybrid RANS-LES Hemolytic Power Law Modeling of the FDA Blood Pump , Joseph Tarriela

Theses/Dissertations from 2021 2021

Dynamic Loading Directed Neural Stem Cell Differentiation , Abdullah Revaha Akdemir

An Investigation of Cross-links on Crystallization and Degradation in a Novel, PhotoCross-linkable Poly (Lactic Acid) System , Nicholas Baksh

A Framework to Aid Decision Making for Smart Manufacturing Technologies in Small-and Medium-Sized Enterprises , Purvee Bhatia

Formation of Gas Jets and Vortex Rings from Bursting Bubbles: Visualization, Kinematics, and Fluid Dynamics , Ali A. Dasouqi

Development of Carbon and Silicon Carbide Based Microelectrode Implantable Neural Interfaces , Chenyin Feng

Sulfate Optimization in the Cement-Slag Blended System Based on Calorimetry and Strength Studies , Mustafa Fincan

Interrelation of Thermal Stimulation with Haptic Perception, Emotion, and Memory , Mehdi Hojatmadani

Modeling the Ambient Conditions of a Manufacturing Environment Using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) , Yang Liu

Flow Visualization and Aerosol Characterization of Respiratory Jets Exhaled from a Mannequin Simulator , Sindhu Reddy Mutra

A Constitutive-Based Deep Learning Model for the Identification of Active Contraction Parameters of the Left Ventricular Myocardium , Igor Augusto Paschoalotte Nobrega

Sensible/Latent Hybrid Thermal Energy Storage for the Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Brayton Cycle , Kelly Osterman

Evaluating the Performance of Devices Engineering to Quantify the FARS Test , Harsh Patel

Event-Triggered Control Architectures for Scheduling Information Exchange in Uncertain and Multiagent Systems , Stefan Ristevski

Theses/Dissertations from 2020 2020

Experimental Investigation of Liquid Height Estimation and Simulation Verification of Bolt Tension Quantification Using Surface Acoustic Waves , Hani Alhazmi

Investigation of Navigation Systems for Size, Cost, and Mass Constrained Satellites , Omar Awad

Simulation and Verification of Phase Change Materials for Thermal Energy Storage , Marwan Mosubah Belaed

Control of a Human Arm Robotic Unit Using Augmented Reality and Optimized Kinematics , Carlo Canezo

Manipulation and Patterning of Mammalian Cells Using Vibrations and Acoustic Forces , Joel Cooper

Stable Adaptive Control Systems in the Presence of Unmodeled and Actuator Dynamics , Kadriye Merve Dogan

The Design and Development of a Wrist-Hand Orthosis , Amber Gatto

ROBOAT - Rescue Operations Bot Operating in All Terrains , Akshay Gulhane

Mitigation of Electromigration in Metal Interconnects Passivated by Ångstrom-Thin 2D Materials , Yunjo Jeong

Swimming of Pelagic Snails: Kinematics and Fluid Dynamics , Ferhat Karakas

Functional Gait Asymmetries Achieved Through Modeling and Understanding the Interaction of Multiple Gait Modulations , Fatemeh Rasouli

Distributed Control of Multiagent Systems under Heterogeneity , Selahattin Burak Sarsilmaz

Design and Implementation of Intuitive Human-robot Teleoperation Interfaces , Lei Wu

Laser Micropatterning Effects on Corrosion Resistance of Pure Magnesium Surfaces , Yahya Efe Yayoglu

Theses/Dissertations from 2019 2019

Synthesis and Characterization of Molybdenum Disulfide/Conducting Polymer Nanocomposite Materials for Supercapacitor Applications , Turki S. Alamro

Design of Shape-Morphing Structures Consisting of Bistable Compliant Mechanisms , Rami Alfattani

Low Temperature Multi Effects Desalination-Mechanical Vapor Compression Powered by Supercritical Organic Rankine Cycle , Eydhah Almatrafi

Experimental Results of a Model Reference Adaptive Control Approach on an Interconnected Uncertain Dynamical System , Kemberly Cespedes

Modeling of Buildings with Electrochromic Windows and Thermochromic Roofs , Hua-Ting Kao

Design and Testing of Experimental Langmuir Turbulence Facilities , Zongze Li

Solar Thermal Geothermal Hybrid System With a Bottoming Supercritical Organic Rankine Cycle , Francesca Moloney

Design and Testing of a Reciprocating Wind Harvester , Ahmet Topcuoglu

Distributed Spatiotemporal Control and Dynamic Information Fusion for Multiagent Systems , Dzung Minh Duc Tran

Controlled Wetting Using Ultrasonic Vibration , Matthew A. Trapuzzano

On Distributed Control of Multiagent Systems under Adverse Conditions , Emre Yildirim

Theses/Dissertations from 2018 2018

Synthesis and Characterization of Alpha-Hematite Nanomaterials for Water-Splitting Applications , Hussein Alrobei

Control of Uncertain Dynamical Systems with Spatial and Temporal Constraints , Ehsan Arabi

Simulation and Optimization of a Sheathless Size-Based Acoustic Particle Separator , Shivaraman Asoda

Simulation of Radiation Flux from Thermal Fluid in Origami Tubes , Robert R. Bebeau

Toward Verifiable Adaptive Control Systems: High-Performance and Robust Architectures , Benjamin Charles Gruenwald

Developing Motion Platform Dynamics for Studying Biomechanical Responses During Exercise for Human Spaceflight Applications , Kaitlin Lostroscio

Design and Testing of a Linear Compliant Mechanism with Adjustable Force Output , William Niemeier

Investigation of Thermal History in Large Area Projection Sintering, an Additive Manufacturing Technology , Justin Nussbaum

Acoustic Source Localization with a VTOL sUAV Deployable Module , Kory Olney

Defect Detection in Additive Manufacturing Utilizing Long Pulse Thermography , James Pierce

Design and Testing of a Passive Prosthetic Ankle Foot Optimized to Mimic an Able-Bodied Gait , Millicent Schlafly

Simulation of Turbulent Air Jet Impingement for Commercial Cooking Applications , Shantanu S. Shevade

Materials and Methods to Fabricate Porous Structures Using Additive Manufacturing Techniques , Mohsen Ziaee

Theses/Dissertations from 2017 2017

Large Area Sintering Test Platform Design and Preliminary Study on Cross Sectional Resolution , Christopher J. Gardiner

Enhanced Visible Light Photocatalytic Remediation of Organics in Water Using Zinc Oxide and Titanium Oxide Nanostructures , Srikanth Gunti

Heat Flux Modeling of Asymmetrically Heated and Cooled Thermal Stimuli , Matthew Hardy

Simulation of Hemiparetic Function Using a Knee Orthosis with Variable Impedance and a Proprioception Interference Apparatus , Christina-Anne Kathleen Lahiff

Synthesis, Characterization, and Application of Molybdenum Oxide Nanomaterials , Michael S. McCrory

Effects of Microstructure and Alloy Concentration on the Corrosion and Tribocorrosion Resistance of Al-Mn and WE43 Mg Alloys , Hesham Y. Saleh Mraied

Novel Transducer Calibration and Simulation Verification of Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) Channels on Acoustic Microfluidic Devices , Scott T. Padilla

Force Compensation and Recreation Accuracy in Humans , Benjamin Rigsby

Experimental Evaluation of Cooling Effectiveness and Water Conservation in a Poultry House Using Flow Blurring ® Atomizers , Rafael M. Rodriguez

Media Velocity Considerations in Pleated Air Filtration , Frederik Carl Schousboe

Orthoplanar Spring Based Compliant Force/Torque Sensor for Robot Force Control , Jerry West

Experimental Study of High-Temperature Range Latent Heat Thermal Energy Storage , Chatura Wickramaratne

Theses/Dissertations from 2016 2016

Al/Ti Nanostructured Multilayers: from Mechanical, Tribological, to Corrosion Properties , Sina Izadi

Molybdenum Disulfide-Conducting Polymer Composite Structures for Electrochemical Biosensor Applications , Hongxiang Jia

Waterproofing Shape-Changing Mechanisms Using Origami Engineering; Also a Mechanical Property Evaluation Approach for Rapid Prototyping , Andrew Jason Katz

Hydrogen Effects on X80 Steel Mechanical Properties Measured by Tensile and Impact Testing , Xuan Li

Application and Analysis of Asymmetrical Hot and Cold Stimuli , Ahmad Manasrah

Droplet-based Mechanical Actuator Utilizing Electrowetting Effect , Qi Ni

Experimental and Computational Study on Fracture Mechanics of Multilayered Structures , Hai Thanh Tran

Designing the Haptic Interface for Morse Code , Michael Walker

Optimization and Characterization of Integrated Microfluidic Surface Acoustic Wave Sensors and Transducers , Tao Wang

Corrosion Characteristics of Magnesium under Varying Surface Roughness Conditions , Yahya Efe Yayoglu

Theses/Dissertations from 2015 2015

Carbon Dioxide (CO 2 ) Emissions, Human Energy, and Cultural Perceptions Associated with Traditional and Improved Methods of Shea Butter Processing in Ghana, West Africa , Emily Adams

Experimental Investigation of Encapsulated Phase Change Materials for Thermal Energy Storage , Tanvir E. Alam

Design Of Shape Morphing Structures Using Bistable Elements , Ahmad Alqasimi

Heat Transfer Analysis of Slot Jet Impingement onto Roughened Surfaces , Rashid Ali Alshatti

Systems Approach to Producing Electrospun Polyvinylidene Difluoride Fiber Webs with Controlled Fiber Structure and Functionality , Brian D. Bell

Self-Assembly Kinetics of Microscale Components: A Parametric Evaluation , Jose Miguel Carballo

Measuring Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) Mechanical Properties Using Flat Punch Nanoindentation Focusing on Obtaining Full Contact , Federico De Paoli

A Numerical and Experimental Investigation of Flow Induced Noise In Hydraulic Counterbalance Valves , Mutasim Mohamed Elsheikh

An Experimental Study on Passive Dynamic Walking , Philip Andrew Hatzitheodorou

Use of Anaerobic Adhesive for Prevailing Torque Locking Feature on Threaded Product , Alan Hernandez

Viability of Bismuth as a Green Substitute for Lead in Jacketed .357 Magnum Revolver Bullets , Joel A. Jenkins

A Planar Pseudo-Rigid-Body Model for Cantilevers Experiencing Combined Endpoint Forces and Uniformly Distributed Loads Acting in Parallel , Philip James Logan

Kinematic Control of Redundant Mobile Manipulators , Mustafa Mashali

Passive Symmetry in Dynamic Systems and Walking , Haris Muratagic

Mechanical Properties of Laser-Sintered-Nylon Diamond Lattices , Clayton Neff

Design, Fabrication and Analysis of a Paver Machine Push Bar Mechanism , Mahendra Palnati

Synthesis, Characterization, and Electrochemical Properties of Polyaniline Thin Films , Soukaina Rami

A Technical and Economic Comparative Analysis of Sensible and Latent Heat Packed Bed Storage Systems for Concentrating Solar Thermal Power Plants , Jamie Trahan

Use of FDM Components for Ion Beam and Vacuum Applications , Eric Miguel Tridas

The Development of an Adaptive Driving Simulator , Sarah Marie Tudor

Dual 7-Degree-of-Freedom Robotic Arm Remote Teleoperation Using Haptic Devices , Yu-Cheng Wang

Ductility and Use of Titanium Alloy and Stainless Steel Aerospace Fasteners , Jarrod Talbott Whittaker

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Design Research Samples

Students: Louisa A. Avellar (UCB), Mircea Badescu, Stewart Sherrit, Yoseph Bar-Cohen, and Wayne Zimmerman of Caltech Research Project Title: Pneumatic Sample Acquisition and Transfer System Location: NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

Abstract: http://www.techbriefs.com/component/content/article/3-ntb/tech-briefs/mechanics-and-machinery/19562-pneumatic-sample-acquisition-and-transfer-system

Student:Antonia Bronars Professor/Sponsor: Professor Alice Agogino Mentor:Alan Zhang Research Project Title:Actuating a Spherical Tensegrity Robot using Momentum Wheels

Abstract: This paper presents theoretical and initial hardware exploration of spherical tensegrity robots actuated using momentum wheels. A tensegrity structure consists of rods suspended in a network of cables. It is inherently compliant and resistant to failure because of its ability to distribute external force through its tension network. This mechanical property provides shock from impact, making the tensegrity a promising candidate for space exploration. The Berkeley Emergent Space Tensegrities lab currently actuates the tensile network using motors, causing the robot to deform, shifting the center of mass, and making the robot roll. The. current actuation scheme necessitates a tradeoff in determining the stiffness of the springs enforcing the tensile network: high spring constant ensures a safe drop, while low spring constant allows for lower actuating torques and consequently smaller, lighter motors. This paper proposes using momentum wheels to actuate the tensegrity, thereby decoupling the stiffness of the tensile network and the actuation scheme of the robot.

Student:   Tim K. Chan Professor/Sponsor:  Professor Alice Agogino Mentor:  Euiyoung Kim Research Project Title:   Prototyping of Wearable Notification and Tracking Device with Bluetooth Connectivity

Abstract:  We introduce the use of a wearable device for notification under distracting environment, for instance, in a rave or a conference. During the research, we came up with two models – centralized and ad-hoc. In the centralized model, the wearable device is aimed at finding people who present in the same event/venue whilst the ad-hoc model, we targeted one-to-one location tracking without the use of pre-existing network. Centralized model will be used during a populated event like a rave where it’s virtually unable for people to hear their phone ring of vibrate. Ad-hoc model will be used in situations like parents keeping track on their kids in an amusement park.

Student:   Serena Chang Professor/Sponsor:  Professor Alice Agogino Mentor:   Euiyoung Kim Research Project Title:   Activity Comparisons Over Digital Artifact By Their Physical And Emotional Distance: User’s Attention Level Upon Primary and Secondary Digital Artifacts

Abstract: Although a majority of the Internet of Things devices have been introduced in the market places, the adoption rate of these new devices hasn’t been quite inspiring due the lack of motivation that enables users to stick with them around over a long-term time frame. Many introduced IoT devices have short life cycles and people simply go back to their traditional devices as primary interaction. Based on our research, the laptop and the smartphone are the most dominant devices regardless of the introduction of the new IoT devices. Thus, this research focuses on the usages of these two devices to explore users different attention levels upon primary and secondary digital artifacts and to compare their physical and emotional distances.

A prototyping segment of this research further explores the concept of emotional distance between users and devices in physical spaces. Indicator spectrums allow users to visually indicate their emotional state to other co-located individuals with whom they are not directly interacting, at the opposite corner of a coffee shop, for instance.   Once the indicators are digitized and connected, the “mood” of a particular physical space can be assessed by IoT developers.

Student: Stephanie Chang Professor/Sponsor: Professor Alice Agogino Mentor: Euiyoung Kim Research Project Title: Establishing User Spaces in Medical Exoskeleton

Abstract: As exoskeleton technology matures and becomes increasingly commercialized, the user spectrum of such technologies need to be identified and studied. This project examines exoskeleton technology from a human centric standpoint, establishing a comprehensive range of users for such products. In order to establish context to create a spectrum of exoskeleton users, literature was collected and reviewed to discover what exoskeleton researchers identify as their target users. The functionality of different types of exoskeletons are also identified and categorized and then matched up to potential user needs from different personas. From the literature review, different categorical spectrums are established to represent the range of users who would make use of exoskeleton technologies. Examples of spectrums include age, physical age, familiarity with advance technology, etc. In addition, further research into socially sustainable assistive technologies are identified and matched up to corresponding user personas and needs.

Student:  Galen   Elias Professor/Sponsor: Professor Reza Alam Research Project Title: Load Shedding Trends of Submerged Rigid Bodies Subject to Monochromatic Water Waves Research Areas:  Design, Fluids, Ocean Engineering

Abstract: Wave Energy Converters are devices which convert the renewable energy in ocean waves to electricity. A submerged pressure differential WEC uses a rigid absorber to split a wave’s orbital, creating a pressure gradient which drives a generator. One of the engineering challenges of WECs is to make the device robust enough to handle extreme ocean conditions, during which waves can carry upwards of 30 times more power than usual. 1  As such, we looked into ways to reduce the load the device would experience under extreme conditions. Due to the high buoyancy of the device and the high-energy cost of increasing its depth, we focused mainly on the effect of changing the device’s shape. In particular, we analyzed trends in front-to-back hole placement and trends in wall thickness between holes within a constant footprint.

Student:   Grant   Emmendorfer Professor/Sponsor:  Professor Alice Agogino Mentor:  Alan Zhang Research Project Title:  Intuitive Controller Designs for Tensegrity Robots Abstract

Student:   Jordan   Francis Professor/Sponsor:  Professor Dennis Lieu Research Project Title:  Design and Construction of a High Capacity Battery Pack for Flywheel-Hybrid Vehicles Abstract

Student:   Hunter   Garnier Professor/Sponsor:  Professor Alice Agogino Mentor:  Drew Sabelhaus Research Project Title:  Force Sensors for a Quadruped Robot

Abstract: Sensors measuring the ground reaction forces applied to a quadruped’s throughout different movements can be advantageous for any robot involved in movement. Feedback from force sensors allows for more accurate control of a robot and is integral for balance. This research report describes the process of implementing force sensors into the legs of the ULTRA Spine quadruped in order to measure the axial force of each leg during movements such as bending and torsion. Previously, the two main motions of the spine—torsion and bending—were seen qualitatively but not expressed quantitatively. Thus, data collected from performing experiments with these force sensors will be compared to the NTRT model of these movements. Although several force sensing options were explored such as load cells, strain gages and expensive optical sensors, Flex Sensors were selected because of their availability, ease of installation, and potential to eliminate confounding variables.

In addition to selecting appropriate force sensors for this application, a new hip and leg design was developed to house these force sensors. Since the previous prototype lacked storage space for electronic components, a new hip was designed and 3D printed which includes a hollow center that allows room for electronic components to be stored there. Additionally, since the previous leg attachment method was ineffective and required constant maintenance, higher-fidelity legs were waterjet cut and attached more efficiently. Different flexible materials to mount the Flex Sensors to were explored such as brass shim and spring steel. However, the spring steel was found to be more effective because, after bending, it returned to its original shape—am important aspect for repeatability of experiments.

To continually improve the ULTRA Spin toward a higher-fidelity prototype, several rapid-prototyped hardware components were replaced by machined parts. Furthermore, a new attachment method for actuating the robot was explored which would replace attaching the actuating strings directly to endcaps via springs. Instead, each string would be clamped directly onto the rubber lattice. Although this method is still being prototyped, exploration of it will be continued in the future.

Student:  Hunter   Garnier Professor/Sponsor: Professor Alice Agogino Mentor: Drew Sabelhaus Research Project Title: ULTRA Spine

Abstract: Due to its complexity, the ULTRA Spine Quadruped robot assembly process is extremely time consuming and tedious, making it difficult to rapid-prototype new designs. This research report describes the process of designing an elastic lattice that would replace the cables and springs that traditionally tensioned the robot. In order to create the final design, several concepts were explored, a tension test was completed on silicon rubber to find its elastic modulus, and various lattice shapes were assessed. The final design decreased the assembly time of the ULTRA Spine from three hours to approximately 7 minutes, improved the symmetry and vertebrae alignment of the robot, and will reduce the design, manufacturing and assembly process of future spine prototypes.

Additionally, a test setup to measure ground forces on the prototype’s feet is described in this report. Previously, the two main motions of the spine—torsion and bending—were seen qualitatively but not expressed quantitatively. By placing a load cell under each foot of the quadruped prototype, the forces under each could be measured while the spine underwent torsion or bending. However, this test setup was unsuccessful and did not produce convincing data.

Future plans for this project include designing a higher quality test setup to measure ground reaction forces as well as a higher fidelity spine prototype.

Student: Jimmy Huang Professor/Sponsor: Professor Dennis Lieu Sub Area: Biomechanical Engineering Research Project Title: Novel Silicone-Compatible Pressure Transducer Tips and Calibration Device for Simulation Torso Design

Abstract: This paper details the progress made during the Spring semester of 2015 in Professor Dennis Lieu’s Ballistics Impact Lab, and is a continuation of “Silicone Curing Behavior and Updated Method of Simulation Torso Construction” from Fall 2014.

Less-lethal projectiles such as rubber and wooden bullets are commonly used by law enforcement for the purpose of incapacitating targets with minimum injury. However, these non-penetrating injuries can still cause severe internal damage and even death. With understandable concern, investigation by Professor Dennis K. Lieu and his Ballistics Impact Lab researchers has been underway since 2003. Originally intended to model the response of the human torso utilizing silicone, the scope of this project has extended to include the design of safer less-lethal projectiles.

Recently, the group has been experiencing difficulties producing a homogeneous and consistent silicone simulation torso with embedded pressure transducer. One main focus of this paper is the design and manufacturing of several new, oil-tight pressure transducer tips. This includes our continued exploration of silicone-compatible materials as well as a new sensor housing design. Another area of focus is the design and manufacturing of a calibration device for new pressure transducers before they are embedded into a silicone torso. This information will hopefully be useful for new Ballistics Impact Lab researchers and for those in similar laboratories or using the same silicone material.

Student:   J immy Huang Professor/Sponsor:   P rofessor Dennis Lieu Research Project Title:   The Effect of Varying Transducer Tip Thicknesses on Peak Internal Pressures Subarea:  B iomechanical Engineering

Abstract: This paper details the progress made during the Fall semester of 2015 in Professor Dennis Lieu’s Ballistics Impact Lab, and is a continuation of  “Novel Silicone-Compatible Pressure Transducer Tips for Simulation Torso Design” from Spring 2015.

Less-lethal projectiles such as rubber and wooden bullets are commonly used by law enforcement for the purpose of incapacitating targets with minimum injury. However, these non- penetrating injuries can still cause severe internal damage and death. With understandable concern, investigation by Professor Dennis K. Lieu and his Ballistics Lab researchers has been underway since 2003. Originally intended to model the response of the human torso utilizing silicone, the scope of this project has extended to include the design of safer less-lethal projectiles.

Most recently, the group has been focusing its efforts towards improving the design and manufacturing method for the model torso with an embedded pressure transducer. This semester, our team set out to understand the effect of varying transducer tip thicknesses on peak internal pressures. This endeavor involved manufacturing a brand new model torso and subsequently testing different torsos with distinct tip designs. During the process we also designed and manufactured  a novel calibration apparatus. This apparatus allowed us to translate peak voltages to internal pressures experienced by the model torso, and can help us to individually calibrate each sensor and tip design in the future. Finally, the lab also revisited the concept of healing the silicone in an effort to recycle spent silicone torso blocks.

Student:   J immy Huang Professor/Sponsor:  Professor Dennis Lieu Research Project Title:  New Silicone Tissue Stimulant and Pressure Transducer Setup for L e ss Lethal Ballistics Applications

Abstract:  Less-lethal projectiles such as rubber and wooden bullets are commonly used by law enforcement for the purpose of incapacitating targets with minimum injury. However, these non- penetrating injuries can still cause severe internal damage and death. With understandable concern, investigation by Professor Dennis K. Lieu and his Ballistics Lab researchers has been underway since 2003. Originally intended to model the response of the human torso utilizing silicone, the scope of this project has extended to include the design of safer less-lethal projectiles. This paper details the progress made during the Spring semester of 2016 in Professor Dennis Lieu’s Ballistics Impact Lab, and is a continuation of ” The Effect of Varying Transducer Tip Thicknesses on Peak Internal Pressures” from Fall 2015. Most recently, the group has been focusing its efforts towards improving the design and manufacturing method for the model torso with an embedded pressure transducer. This semester, our team initially focused on exploring the concept of healing silicone in an effort to recycle old silicone torso blocks.  Further along, the group set out to benchmark new silicone tissue stimulants as well as new pressure transducer alternatives for more robust less lethal ballistics setups.

Student: Shayan Javaherian Professor/Sponsor: Professor Reza Alam Mentor: Dr. Mohsen Saadat Research Project Title: CalSat

Abstract: The purpose of this research is to make underwater wireless communication possible by using ROVs and laser tractions. The calsat project is consist of two different version which they call CalSat 1 and CalSat 2. For CalSat 1 the purpose of this project is to modification of controls of two submarine model to carry out the proof of concepts of underwater optical communication using a swarm of autonomous underwater vehicles. For CalSat 2 we made our own ROV that is an Agile and robes underwater platform used for underwater communication by using laser tractions. I widely work on design, prototyping, and manufacturing of CalSat 2. CalSat 2 Has different versions which each one of them developed and improved based on the previous version. Different version of CalSat 2 are as following: CalSat 2A, CalSat 2B, CalSat 2C, CalSat 2D. Following pictures are for CalSat 2C while testing for leakage and performance in O’Brien facility at UC Berkeley.

Student:Lace Co Ting Keh Professor/Sponsor: Professor Homayoon Kazerooni Research Project Title: Exoskeleton Support For Stroke Rehabilitation

Abstract: Nearly 800,000 individuals suffer a stroke each year. The growing number of individuals that require assistive recovery post stroke has been growing over the last decade. In turn, there has been a high demand for qualified physical therapists and a dire need for alternative ways to allow for safe recovery of patients. The exoskeleton industry offers unique perspective to address this demand. Exoskeletons have been used in the military to assist soldiers in carrying heavy loads. These have shown tremendous success in assisting able bodied soldiers. Exoskeletons in this industry have effectively allowed soldiers to conserve their energy when transporting gear. Furthermore, these have allowed soldiers to control the power of their legs and potentially allow for actions that would not have been possible without human augmentation.

An interesting application of the exoskeleton is its use in a medical setting. Paraplegics, quadriplegics, and post stroke patients are typically lose control of certain limbs. The exoskeleton offers a manner in which the user is able to manipulate their actions and allow a robotic system to perform specific actions for them. One of the biggest caveats faced by the exoskeleton industry is the support necessary for patients using lower limb exoskeletons. Lower limb exoskeletons are designed to be used by patients who are unable to control their lower limbs. This not only limits their ability for walking or running but also their ability to maintain balance. Because of this, patients are put at a high level or risk when using the exoskeleton because of the full reliance on the robotic systems. It is therefore necessary to design a support system for exoskeletons being used by patients who are unable to maintain balance when a malfunction occurs.

Student: Stefan Klein Professor/Sponsor: Professor Dennis Lieu Mentor: Daniel Talancon Sub Area: Mechatronics Design Research Project Title: INSTAR – Inertial Storage and Recovery

Abstract: INSTAR (Inertial Storage and Recover) is a mechanical engineering research group headed by Professor Lieu and recent PhD graduate Daniel Talancon. Our research surrounds a flywheel energy storage device for electric vehicle applications. In the past semester working with INSTAR, I completed several tasks related to the preparation of our go-kart test platform for our Cal Day exhibit and to the rebuilding of our flywheel energy storage device. To prepare our go-kart, I flushed and bled our brake system, which returned it to working condition, but also led to me discovering a leak on the master cylinder, which will be repaired by the next Cal Day. Furthermore, I disassembled our inertial simulation test setup, which consists of two large steel disks to simulate the inertia of the kart and two magnetic brakes to simulate the mechanical brakes of the kart. I then reassembled our battery packs and reinstalled the seat and wheels. In preparation for Cal Day, where we would, for the first time, have the final flywheel on display, a polycarbonate shield in between the flywheel and driver had to be designed and machined. I oversaw and helped several of the team’s freshmen in this task. Finally, there was a significant electronics error in our kart, which caused the startup of our motor controllers to fail randomly. I traced the error to the pedal assembly of the kart, whose angular encoders tended to slip, causing a non-zero braking and throttle signal to be inputted into the motor controllers, causing the startup to fail. Regrettably, I was unable to find a permanent fix for the problem before the exhibition on Cal Day, but a pedal assembly redesign is planned to stop the problem at its source. On Cal Day, I helped present our project to prospective students and parents, which has generated some interest in new students who have already contacted our lab. Finally, I began the process of rebuilding the flywheel’s rotor. For this task I rebuilt the electric motor’s rotor, which had to have a new set of neodymium magnets epoxied to it and was then wrapped in kevlar for strength. Overall, my participation in INSTAR has helped further my education in design and mechatronics and helped keep the INSTAR project rolling even with the recent graduation of our graduate student, Daniel.

Students: Andrew Kooker and Casey Duckering Professor/Sponsor: Professor Robert Full Mentor: Chen Li Sub Area: Mechatronics Research Project Title: Micro-Robot with Ambulating and Jumping Abilities: A modification of the Biomimetic Millisystems Lab robotics for testing and analysis on animal locomotion processes

Abstract: The goal of this project is to create micro-robots that can simulate standard insect/animal motions such as walking and running while being able to jump over encountered obstacles. The simulation of jumping mechanisms found in nature on fully mechanical robots can be used to better understand how and why they are used. Designs for robots can be created by understanding the dynamic effects of a jumping ability on motion when encountering obstacles, and simulating them effectively.

The initial step of our project dealt with simulating the simple motion of jumping on micro-robots that could already walk and run. It was important to analyze different methods of jumping from quick actuation to elastic storage; for the ability to continuously jump on command, the method of quick actuation seemed ideal. We created an actuating hinge mechanism in SolidWorks and developed the basic skeletal models for the robot in AutoCAD. By using rapid-prototyping techniques such as 3D printing and laser cutting, we were able to quickly bring these computer renditions to life for physical testing. We integrated mechanical and electrical components like gearing systems and microcontrollers for actuation, and combined these assemblies with the base-skeleton of our robot. After writing software to test the system, we analyzed the effectiveness of our design based on the robot performance and developed a second iteration of the robot accordingly.

Throughout the design process, we were required to focus on key decisions like material choice, specific component purchases, and overall integration methods. We developed many iterations of software to efficiently test the robots, and made many design changes to the jumping mechanism and robot body itself. We were also able to learn principles of re-design by taking already-developed robotic components from the Biomimetic Millisystems Lab, and further modifying them to fit our needs.

We compared the effectiveness of our designs among iterations, and mapped out performance goals for future generations of the robots. We plan to continue modifying current robot designs and creating custom completely new designs for jumping-specific robots in the future. We also hope to continue the development of unique electronic components and software to seamlessly integrate with our mechanical robots.

Student:   Leslie Leung Professor/Sponsor:  Professor  Dennis Lieu Research Project Title:   The design and initial testing of flashlight-inspired battery tubes

Abstract:  The INertial STorage And Recovery (INSTAR) vehicle combines the use of battery packs and a flywheel as its energy storing and supplying components.  The subject of this research centers on a new impact-resistant, fire-resistant, and well-ventilated design for battery packs consisting of rechargeable lithium ion cells.  Inspired by the packaging of a flashlight, the design aims to achieve an ease of assembly and disassembly for replacement of individual cells.  Housed in standard-sized aluminum tubing, six cells are preloaded by stainless steel springs fixed against polyether ether ketone (PEEK) end caps by a stainless steel bevel head screw.  Current flows from one battery tube to others via copper bus bars connecting adjacent tubes together.  A prototype consisting of two tubes was constructed as a proof of concept.  Static testing with a voltmeter returned expected voltage readings for a single tube, two tubes in series, and two tubes in parallel.  A setup scheme for dynamic testing is proposed for future study to determine the safe operating frequency range and the robustness of electrical connections during motion.  The design of the casing for the complete battery packs and the battery packs’ electrical connections with the vehicle’s battery management system (BMS) are also proposed.

Student:   Kevin Li Professor/Sponsor:  Professor  Alice Agogino Mentor:   Lee-Huang Chen Research Project Title:   Design, Manufacturing and Testing of Tensegrity V3 Robot Design

Abstract:  With recent advances in reusable rocketry and planetary discoveries, space exploration has come to the forefront of scientific news and research. My role in the Berkeley Emergent Space Tensegrities Lab has been to assist in developing the Tensegrity Spherical Robot V3, a robust yet compliant robotic system designed to take advantage of the unique characteristics of tensegrity structures. In doing this, I was involved in all aspects of the engineering process including hardware and software design, component manufacturing and component testing. In designing and manufacturing hardware, emphasis was placed on the ease, speed and cost of manufacturing and assembly in order to streamline the rapid iterative design process. In software design, an intuitive control scheme was developed for the twenty-four independent motors as well as a text interface for switching between manual control of individual motors and preset step sequences. Finally, in component testing, a physical drop test was developed to drop the Tensegrity V3 from heights of up to six feet, which helped confirm the compliance of the system, the strength of individual components and the accuracy of simulations.

Student:  Carlin Liao Professor/Sponsor:  Professor Alice Agogino Mentor:  Julia Kramer Research Project Title:  ‘The Design Exchange’ Ontology Team

Abstract: The work of the ontology team of the Design Exchange is primarily qualitative, focusing on categorizing and analyzing various methods in design thinking. Within the pools of “Data Gathering,” “Ideation,” “Analysis & Synthesis,” “Building/Prototyping,” and “Communications,” we have collected process descriptions for close to three hundred design methods such as Dot Voting, Visual Brainstorming, and Video Ethnography. From these processes, our team has identified more than 100 skills shared across multiple methods that may be relevant to design thinking as a professional endeavor. Following the completion of our master skill list will be the construction of a questionnaire designed to refine and verify our assessment of common design skills by surveying the professional design community, in particular those making the decision on which designers to hire.

Student: Chengming Liu Professor/Sponsor: Professor Liwei Lin Mentor: Casey Glick Subarea: Fluid Mechanics Research Project Title: Single-Layer Microfluidic Current Source via Optofluidic Lithography Abstract

Student:  Kevin Li Professor/Sponsor:  Professor Alice Agogino Mentor:  Lee-Huang Chen Research Project Title:  Design and Manufacturing of Soft Spherical Tensegrity Robot  

Abstract: With recent advances in reusable rocketry and planetary discoveries, space exploration has come to the forefront of scientific news and research. My role in the Berkeley Emergent Space Tensegrities Lab has been to assist in developing TT-4, the fourth version of the spherical tensegrity robot, a robust yet compliant robotic system designed to take advantage of the unique load-bearing characteristics of tensegrity structures. The goal for this prototype was to validate scaling of the spherical tensegrity design from the smaller TT-3, so the prototype is completely passive with the circuit boards designed specifically for drop testing. Key steps included manufacturing of hardware components and circuit boards, followed by final assembly of the TT-4 drop test prototype. Following that, a full drop test was designed and characterized to test the capabilities of the much larger TT-4. Hardware components included aluminum rods and endcaps, plastic and FDM module housings, extensions springs and fishing line. The circuit board was built for the drop testing and contained only a Teensy 3.2 microprocessor, 9-DOF absolute IMU, XBee wireless chip and voltage regulator. With a fully assembled board attached to the central payload of TT-4 as well as another attached to a module, a comparison of the G-forces between the payload and a rigid element of the robot can be made in order to validate the load-distributing characteristics of the tensegrity structure as well as the safety of a potential payload. With the hardware and software components of the TT-4 drop test prototype completed, the final step will be completing the drop test at a later date.

Student: Ryan Liu Professor/Sponsor: Professor Dennis Lieu Research Project Title: Protocol for Ballistics Lab Data Collection

Abstract:  In an effort to reduce long-term sustained injury from non-lethal weaponry, research was undertaken to investigate a new type of kinetic energy projectile. The projectile is similar in shape and energy transfer to currently used commercial non-lethal projectiles, but is made of a highly deformable, hyper-elastic, modified silicon rubber. Tests were conducted analytically using ABAQUS (FEA) and experimentally inside the UC Berkeley ballistics test lab. This report outlines the protocol necessary to perform ballistics lab work, which may be useful for both new ballistics lab researchers and for researchers at other laboratories alike.

Student:  Hannah   Ling Professor/Sponsor: Professor Dennis Lieu Mentor: John Madura Research Project Title: Design/Manufacturing of Oil Circulation System for Electric Vehicle Research Areas:  Design, Manufacturing

Abstract: The Inertial Storage And Recovery(INSTAR) kart uses an electric flywheel as part of a hybrid system to efficiently store energy from regenerative braking. The flywheel can store up to 100 kJ of energy by spinning at speeds up to 20,000 RPM. An adequate lubrication system is crucial to the safety and durability of the flywheel because it reduces wear when spinning the flywheel at high speeds. The design and components of the previous lubrication system were flawed and did not effectively lubricate the flywheel. The following report documents the features of the previous circulation system and illustrates its flaws, as well as explaining the design, part selection, and manufacturing process of a new reservoir and circulation system. Although the system is not fully assembled, the currently installed components have already improved the effectiveness of the lubrication system allowing for a greater range in the speed of flywheel testing.

Student: Jacob Madden Professor/Sponsor: Professor Masayoshi Tomizuka Research Project Title: Preliminary Modeling and Design of an Active-Passive Upper-Body Assistive Device

Abstract: Assistive devices, such as exoskeletons, are widely utilized across many fields to increase power output or provide basic support for human users and have shown great potential for use in fields such as medical rehabilitation. This paper documents preliminary work completed on a hybrid active-passive upper-body exoskeleton designed for rehabilitation of stroke victims. Goals included decreased mechanical complexity and increased range of motion over previous designs, while retaining adequate support for daily use and gravity compensation during daily tasks. The work described here includes simulation modeling, mechanical design, and physical hardware testing. Results from preliminary testing indicate that the final prototype shows greater range of motion and similar support when compared to previous designs, with the potential to be integrated into existing assistive systems to assist with medical rehabilitation or miniaturized into a compact, portable system.

Student:   Saunon   Malekshahi Professor/Sponsor:  Professor Alice Agogino Mentor:  Edward L. Zhu Research Project Title:  Lattice-Enabled Actuation for Tensegrity Robots Featuring Cluster Scouting Functionality

Abstract: Our paper presents a new spherical tensegrity robot capable of performing locomotion through the use of an actuator-powered lattice. Featuring a six-bar nodal actuator mount, this robot effectively delivers a rapid prototyping platform enabling the user to transition from a passive-actuated assembled state within minutes. Featuring a control scheme running on a RF wireless protocol, the TT-Unisphere provides a test platform for simulated cluster scouting between multitudes of tensegrity robots. Developed at UC Berkeley in collaboration with NASA Ames, the TT-Unisphere enables a broader scope of experimentation for tensegrity robots, namely in the domains of modeling interactive behavior for surface scouting and ergonomic assembly.

Student: Tony Ngo Professor/Sponsor: Professor Dennis K. Lieu Mentor: Cyndia Cao and John Madura Research Project Title: Model Development and System Identification of INSTAR’s Test Vehicle

Abstract: This paper serves to create a basic dynamic model of the current that runs throughout the Inertia Storage and Recovery (INSTAR) vehicle such that data can be acquired and fitted to a transfer function that represents the entire closed loop system. Using the methodology of system identification, and therefore recording the input current and output current of every subsystem, we can tune a PID controller to monitor the current that runs through the battery, and every individual motor controller. Such testing procedure is described further within the paper, where it explains how step inputs are used to receive the transient and steady state behavior of each subsystem. Though, the work within this paper does not fully address the implementation of the closed loop controller within LabView, it can be the framework to replace the open-loop model that exists within the vehicle’s code. Through the implementation of the closed loop model, efforts can be made to improve battery life, while also addressing the current draw issues that limits the performance of the vehicle. Serving as the stepping stones of more advance current controllers as well, the transfer function created can be used to optimize current flow during the different transient phases that exist while the vehicle is running. The creation of such a model can then be scaled and used to implement and optimize the concept of a triple hybrid system within a passenger vehicle.

Student:  Derek   Pan Area:  Design, Energy Science and Technology Professor/Sponsor:  Professor Dennis Lieu Research Project Title:  Design and Fabrication of a Novel Li-ion Battery Pack for Regenerative Braking Research

Abstract: The InStar Lab focuses on researching the viability of a regenerative braking system that utilizes an electromechanical flywheel as interim power storage between cycles of motor braking and vehicle acceleration and/or battery recharging. As a platform for this research, a go-kart was modified to be driven by two electric motors, in turn powered by two lithium iron-phosphate (LiFePO4) battery packs. In response to certain criteria that were found lacking in the battery packs currently in use on the kart, a team of undergraduates designed and fabricated a new pack. Construction of the new pack started in Fall of 2017 and was continued through Spring 2018. Preliminary testing was done to determine the viability of its design. In addition, research was done on finding a way to implement a battery management system (BMS) with the pack’s unusual architecture, where the cells are grouped into “parallel strings.” Typically, battery packs use cells grouped into parallel banks, which are then connected in series, whereas this pack groups six cells in series inside tubes, which are then connected in parallel. Because BMS are generally designed for the former layout, most are incapable of monitoring the higher voltages that result from series groupings. This is an area that requires further research. Overall, the design was found to have shortcomings that would need to be improved for regular, long-term use, chief among these being the difficulty in implementing a BMS and the pack having too low of an electrical capacity. Nevertheless, it is a functional li-ion battery pack that is at least usable on a temporary basis, and which has led to much insight into battery technology and pack design.

Student: Nicholas Anthony Renda Professor/Sponsor: Professor Dennis Lieu Mentor: Daniel Talancon Research Project Title: INSTAR RP-1: Development and Testing of an Electric Vehicle KERS Platform

Abstract: My research this semester focused on creating a robust mounting solution for a flywheel-based energy storage system as part of the INertial STorage And Recovery (INSTAR) Lab. The flywheel is part of a Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) on an electric go-kart, for the purpose of regenerative braking. The flywheel mount is designed to support the flywheel under extreme driving loads (cornering, braking, accelerating), while simultaneously damping vibrations through the use of rubber isolators. The flywheel spins up to 25,000 rpm, so special care is taken to isolate all vibrations between it and the go-kart chassis.

The mount is made of 6061-T6 aluminum billet, and was designed to be manufactured almost entirely on a waterjet machine through the use of 2d profile parts. Bolt holes were postdrilled on a drill press to ensure tight tolerances. Rubber isolators embedded in the mounting plate damp vibrations and react shear loads to the chassis. A containment system was also designed to account for special load cases, such as flywheel seizure. In this load case, the rotating steel mass stops in less than 2 rotations due to debris in the bearing or an external impact. This imparts a massive torque on the mount, which begins to rotate and shears through the rubber isolators. It then comes in contact with the containment brackets, which are designed to take the load of a seizure impact without failing.

The go-kart was tested without the flywheel to ensure proper function of all other systems, including batteries, steering, brakes, motors, pedals, and electronics. INSTAR met its goal of a fully functional kart by Cal Day, having debugged code and designed new batteries and pedals to accomplish this task. The vehicle systems were then thoroughly tested to ensure sturdiness during multiple cycles of high-intensity accelerating and braking.

Student:  Nick Renda Professor/Sponsor:  Professor Dennis Lieu Research Project Title:  Load and Safety Considerations in the Design of Flywheel Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems for Electric Vehicles

Abstract: Flywheel technology has novel applications in electric vehicles as the core component of a kinetic energy recovery system. Flywheels have quick charge and discharge rates, and can be used to recapture the energy that is generally lost using current regenerative braking technology or traditional friction brakes. One challenge to implementing these systems is mechanically connecting the flywheel to the vehicle chassis. This project focuses on the development of a robust flywheel mounting system that minimizes vibration transmission from the chassis, reacts loads under extreme driving conditions, and protects the driver in the event of a catastrophic failure.

Student: Hale Reynolds Course Project: ME 102B Research Project Title: “Smart” Energy Harvesting and Usage as Applied to a Bicycle Light

Abstract: For this project, a standard battery powered Light Emitting Diode (LED) bicycle light was modified, allowing it to harvest and store all the energy required for its use.

When normally operated, the bicycle light used for this project requires four AA batteries, located in a compartment just behind the circuit board holding the LEDs, and normally operates for around nine hours before the batteries must be replaced. The batteries were removed and replaced with a coin-sized rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery (LIB), and circuitry governing the storage and usage of the generated electricity. (The LIB and circuit take up the same space as the four AA batteries.)

To generate electricity from the normal usage of the bicycle, very strong magnets (Neodymium magnets with residual flux density of 14.7 KGs) were mechanically fixed to the spokes in a similar fashion to the typical attachment of bicycle speedometer magnets. Then a tightly wound, fine copper wire coil was attached to the bicycle fork at the location where the magnets attached to the spokes would pass. As the magnets pass the copper coil, their magnetic field induces a potential difference across the coil ends. This voltage potential then drives the flow of current through wires run along the bicycle frame to the battery compartment. Before reaching the battery, the current must pass through series of four diodes arranged as a full-wave rectifier to ensure that regardless of the direction of the magnet rotation and regardless of the magnet polarity orientation, the electricity serves to charge the battery.

To govern the usage of the charge stored in the battery, a simple control circuit was designed. For daytime operation of the bicycle, when it is light out, the generator charges the battery. Because no additional light is needed when it is bright out, the battery stores its charge and does not power the LEDs. For night riding or in other dark conditions, it is desired that the LEDs be powered to illuminate the cyclist’s way. This photosensitive functionality was achieved using two transistors, an operational amplifier, a photosensor, and a series of resistors.

The circuit governing the use of the battery’s charge is a small photosensor interfaced with an operational amplifier which was then connected to a CMOS Inverter (composed of the two transistors, one N-Channel and one P-Channel). If the output from the photosensor is high (light is incident upon it), this signal is amplified by the operational amplifier and the inverter allows no current to pass from the battery to the LEDs of the bicycle light. If the output from the photosensor is low (no light is incident upon it), this signal is still amplified by the operational amplifier, but if it is low enough, the inverter allows all the required current for full LED brightness to pass to the LEDs of the bicycle light. The resistors are used in balancing the operational amplifier, effectively calibrating the system. With the proper resistor combination, the circuit was calibrated to have the inverter transition between states at the proper, practical light intensities for day and night bicycling.

Key Points: Through the use of this device, rather than replace four AA batteries after every nine hours of use, a smaller battery may be used to store energy generated from the normal use of the bicycle, and does not need replacing. It was found that during normal usage of the bicycle, 40% of the energy consumed from full-brightness bicycle-light use could be generated. This means that when it is bright out, and the bicycle light is off, the battery is easily charged, while at night the battery life is greatly extended. Although the energy produced by this device comes from the energy supplied by the rider, because there is no contact between moving components, and because the power generated is relatively small, there is no noticeable drag on the wheel due to energy generation. Also, in-terms of cost, the total cost of this project was much less than for a high-end bicycle light.

Student:  Patrick Savidge Professor/Sponsor:  Professor Dennis Lieu Research Project Title:  Calibration of Piezoresistive Pressure Transducer Embedded in Silicone

Abstract: The Impact Lab at UC Berkeley is in development on non-lethal bullets. Currently the lab is developing bullets made from Medical Grade Silicone Gel. These bullets are shoot at a silicone torso and the internal pressure felt by the torso is recorded. This paper outlines the process used and results obtained from calibrating the Piezoresistive Pressure sensor embedded in the silicone torso. The sensor was mounted in a small piston cylinder device and Medical Grade Silicone Gel was cured around the sensor. Various weights were applied to the device to vary the pressure applied and the output voltage from the sensor was recorded. These voltages were then applied to data obtained within the Impact Lab to determine the pressure experienced under impact testing.

Student:   Arbaaz   Shakir Professor/Sponsor:  Professor Alice Agogino Mentor:  Dr. Euiyoung Kim Research Project Title:  Human Centered Design: Renault

Abstract: With the automotive industry on the cusp of a revolution as vehicles attain progressively higher levels of autonomy, car manufacturers are beginning to rethink the concept of personal mobility and re-envision meaningful interactions between people and different transportation modalities. The premise of this project takes meaning in this transformative phase of the automotive industry. With a human-centered approach and with the primary goal of creating better customer experiences, exploring what consumers will want and need in tomorrow’s transportation ecosystem, we looked to gain insight into opportunities in important new areas of potential growth and design solutions in these areas.

The first half of the project i.e. the time frame covered by this report, focused on the early stages of the design process including problem framing and user research. We uncovered areas for design exploration, unpacked consumer needs, framed and structured problems from our findings, prototyped and tested our ideas, and gathered user feedback. The synthesis driver for the project was the iterative design process. We found, from our studies, that the need for a human-machine interface between pedestrians and autonomous vehicles was not pressing, that consumers are vested in the emotion of a traditional driving experience, and that users are looking for a higher level of personalization in their transportation journeys.

Student:   Kimberly   Sover Professor/Sponsor:  Professor Alice Agogino Mentor:  Andrew Sabelhaus Research Project Title:  Hardware Design and Test Setup for Laika: the Quadruped Robot with a Tensegrity Spine Abstract

Student: Kimberly A. Sover Professor/Sponsor: Professor Alice Agogino Mentor: Andrew P. Sabelhaus Research Project Title: Mechanical and Electrical Design of a Fixture to Test Modeling Methods and Control of a Tensegrity Spine

Abstract: Flexible spines for quadruped robots are a growing technology in the soft robotics field. The Berkeley Emergent Space Tensegrities Lab is currently conducting research on a tensegrity-based spine that consists of interlaced rigid cores connected by cables to create movement that mimics that of a vertebrate spine. The spine can be actuated by adjusting the lengths of the cables attached to ends of the vertebrae on the top, bottom, and sides to bend in the sagittal and coronal planes. This paper discusses the development of simplified hardware to robustly test modeling methods and control designs for the current spine prototype. As the semester began, it became clear that the current three-dimensional prototype would not be able to provide accurate data for detailed investigations into the techniques used to construct the governing state equations of the model or the development of control strategies. A stand-alone hardware setup was developed to create and capture the dynamics of a single vertebrae. Mechanically, this test setup was designed to accurately represent a core with cable attachments in two dimensions and eliminate sources of error, such as out of plane motion and fictional effects. Electrically, it was designed to have the ability to precisely dictate the forces the cables apply by using motors to change cable lengths. In addition, there is a camera vision component to the test setup that relays information about the position and rotation of the spine for closed loop control testing. Initial testing of the system, shows that we will be able to move the vertebrae by commanding the motors while tracking the state the vertebrae in real time to perform a variety of tests in both open and closed loop for verification of continued research in the lab. Future work will focus on increased performance and robustness of the test setup for application to a wider range testing possibilities.

Student:  Ellande Tang Professor/Sponsor:  Professor Alice Agogino Mentor:  Lee-Huang Chen Research Project Title:  Hardware Improvements to Tensegrity robots and a Potential Alternative Actuator for Linear Motion

Abstract: Tensegrity robots have tremendous potential for space exploration due to their deformability and compliance. Their innate impact resistance allows them to traverse rough or precipitous terrain with substantially reduced risk. However, tensegrity robots are hampered by their complex geometry, which makes them difficult to assemble and visualize on paper, as well as their primary method of actuation, which requires linear motion. This report examines the improvement of tensegrity assembly methods through improved rod end attachment hardware and re-evaluates the performance of a novel type of linear actuator inspired by twisting cable actuators as well as the double helix geometry of DNA.  The new endcaps were designed to interact more favorably with the single elastic lattice of the TT-4 mini tensegrity robot.  Incorporating grommets into the elastic prevents them from slipping off the rod ends as in previous designs. Additionally, the use dowel pins as wire guides improves manufacturability and allows effective end caps to be made without 3d-printing. Lastly, the introduction of threaded holes simultaneously allows for the lattice to be secured and to attach actuation cables without the need for tying knots. Combined with the other changes, this reduces tensegrity assembly time to under 5 minutes while addressing a number of the previous flaws of the design, improving durability and robustness.

The DNA actuator shows promise as an effective linear actuator. With the construction of a new, lower friction testing assembly, the characteristics of the actuator can be determined with more accuracy. The actuator in its current for displays potential as a practical linear actuator, as it displays interesting properties. Among them is the property of the required torque for actuation depending not upon load but upon the present number of rotations. These properties merit further analysis of the DNA actuator with different materials and geometric configurations.

Student:   Rachel   Thomasson Professor/Sponsor:  Professor Francesco Borrelli Mentor:  David Gealy Research Project Title:  Koko: A Low-Cost, 7 Degree-of-Freedom, Modular Robotic Arm Abstract

Students: Aliakbar Toghyan and Borna Dehghani Professor/Sponsor: Professor Alice Agogino Mentor: Kyunam Kim Sub Area: Controls Research Project Title: Tensegrity Robot

Abstract: Soft robotics and tensegrities are the new chapters to the world of robotics. The term “Tensegrity” is a combination of the words “Tensile” and “Integrity”, and it represents any structure consisting of elements that are only under tension or compression. The main objective of the Tensegrity research was to come up with a relatively low-cost but appropriate representative of NASA’s future explorer SUPERball. The purpose of making the early prototype was the initial approval of the control algorithm used for the movement of the robot, since the process of making the actual prototype in NASA is overly expensive and time consuming.

The robot consists of six rods that are connected by 24 elastic elements and it is formed into a sphere like configuration. The sphere would be able to roll by means of actuating the elastic components. As a team member I focused on designing a control algorithm for the robot. Based on simulation of the robot in Matlab, I found the optimized control algorithm for certain movements. Afterwards, I implemented the control system in the prototype and made sure that the robot had the desired motion.

Student:   Varna   Vasudevan Professor/Sponsor:  Professor Alice Agogino Mentor:  Danielle Poreh Research Project Title:  Redesigning Thedesignexchange Method Page To Assist Novice Designers In Embedding Design Methods Into Practice Abstract

Student:   Richard   Vuu Professor/Sponsor:  Professor Professor Dennis Lieu Mentor:  John Madura Research Project Title:  Designing an adjustable pedals system for a flywheel energy storage (FES) demonstration vehicle. Abstract

Student:  Zea   Wang Professor/Sponsor: Professor Tarek Zohdi Mentor: Maxwell Micali Research Project Title: Variable Nozzle

Abstract: As additive printing is gaining in popularity and increasing its uses, it is important to minimize build time while maintaining resolution throughout the part. A variable nozzle is able to accomplish this by changing the extrusion diameter while printing. A variable nozzle introduces additional flexibility in the 3D printing process. Not only will this make additive manufacturing more efficient, it will allow for artists to explore a new feature, further expanding the abilities 3D printing.

Our team’s design features the use of a mechanical iris mechanism to vary the diameter of the nozzle. This allows for the cross section of the mechanism to remain relatively circular as the diameter varies while printing. The 3D Potterbot, a ceramic printer, was chosen in order focus on the mechanical design without interference of heat and phase transitions in the material. In testing, the mechanical iris was successful in changing the size of the extruded material from 6mm to 20mm continuously. Problems came about as the iris reached the smaller diameters due to the bunching of the rubber liner between the clay and the mechanism. High pressure is also applied to the mechanism from the clay during extrusion making the rotation of the iris and therefore the changing of the diameter difficult.

This semester has been focused on testing the nozzle on a ceramics printer and documenting problems when implementing a variable nozzle. The second priority is finding ways of automating the entire system with a motor. The next steps of this research will focus mainly on the software needed when a variable nozzle is introduced. This includes changes in the slicer as well as the feed and print rates of the 3D printer in order to minimize the build time and provide the best possible resolution.

Students: Lee Weinstein and Martin Cacan Lab: Berkeley Manufacturing Institute Research Project Title: Battery-Replacement Scale Energy Harvesting From HVAC Flows

Abstract: The objective of the project is to create an energy scavenging device that produces over 100 μW of power in air flows of 2-5 m/s. These operating conditions are characteristic of HVAC systems, and the power output would be sufficient to run a low-power wireless sensor node at ~1% duty cycle.

The approach we have pursued is using a cylindrical obstacle inside an HVAC flow to trip vortex shedding. A fin attached to a piezoelectric bender vibrates and harvests energy as a result of an oscillatory pressure differential caused by periodic vortex shedding off of the obstacle.

An image and a few more details are available on our lab website: http://ame.berkeley.edu/

Student: Kriya Wong Professor/Sponsor: Professor Grace Gu Mentor: Zhizhou Zhang, Kahraman Demir Research Project Title: OwlFoil: Development of Bio-Inspired Multimaterial Composites

Abstract: The power of silent flight achieved by owls extends further than simple domination of the evolutionary arms race between predator and prey. Successful modeling and printing of wings have the potential to reform turbine and aerodynamic technology in terms of both energy efficiency and noise reduction. The characteristics of owl wings that render them silent are primarily the leading edge feathers and the trailing fringe of the wing, which work jointly to break up oncoming air currents and channel them along an invariant surface, minimizing the sound during flight. The leading edge feathers, which are typically smaller and more circular in shape, are lined with tiny serrations along the feather that are called pennula, whose primary purpose is to create roughness and texture along the wing that will break up the air currents into smaller streams called micro-turbulences, which raise the noise frequency of the air rushing over the wing to a higher frequency that is not detectable by prey and also humans. The trailing fringe further differentiates the owl from other birds in that the substructure of these feathers allow them to mesh into one another when the wings unfold, such that when the feathers spread, the outer fringe of the feathers create almost a single sheet with very little overlap, maximizing area and creating smoother surface which reduces noise and tapers out into larger, less densely packed barbule areas that break the air currents further into smaller streams to reduce noise. This project aims to create a base model for the computer-aided design (CAD) of synthetic, multi-material bird feathers, specifically of the male barn owl for the rapid prototype and development of 3D-printed feathers. Using an online database of primary feathers collected from the barn owl, three models from different regions of the wing were generated taking into account external feather spline, rachis or stem characteristic, curvature and barbule density. The properties of owls’ silent flight deemed to be the most impactful have been determined to be the comb-like pennula on the leading edge feathers and the fluid-like trailing fringe of the lower wing feathers, which work together to break air currents into smaller pockets as well as smooth the underside of the wing. The successful modeling and 3D-printing of these characteristic feathers unique to the owl have the potential to transform airfoil and turbine technology. As a crucial step towards the modeling of an entire wing, this project defines the parameters necessary for the realistic multi-material generation of owl flight feathers.

Student:  Michael   Zhang Area:  Design, Energy Science and Technology Professor/Sponsor:  Professor Dennis Lieu Research Project Title:  Inertial Storage and Recovery (INSTAR) Research Lab Application of Electronic Differentials

Abstract: The Inertial Storage and Recovery (INSTAR) lab is conducting research on adding alternative energy storage systems in the form of a flywheel to the traditional hybrid automobile in an effort to increase the efficiency of the vehicle. In order to test and collect data to further examine the validity and feasibility of the alternative energy storage systems, a test vehicle was built in the form of an electric go-kart. The projects in this report focus on the development of an electronic differential to increase overall efficiency of the vehicle as well as providing manufacturing support to other teams in the research lab.

Student: Sean Zhu Professor/Sponsor: Professor Alice Agogino Mentor: Cesar Torres Research Project Title: Design Exchange UI Abstract

Student:   Daniel   Zu Professor/Sponsor:  Professor Dennis Lieu Research Project Title:  Belt Drivetrain Design and Analysis Abstract

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The Best Mechanical Engineering Dissertation Topics and Titles

Published by Carmen Troy at January 5th, 2023 , Revised On May 17, 2024


Engineering is a vast subject that encompasses different branches for a student to choose from. Mechanical engineering is one of these branches , and one thing that trips students in the practical field is dissertation . Writing a mechanical engineering dissertation from scratch is a difficult task due to the complexities involved, but the job is still not impossible.

To write an excellent dissertation, you first need a stellar research topic. Are you looking to select the best mechanical engineering dissertation topic for your dissertation? To help you get started with brainstorming for mechanical engineering dissertation topics, we have developed a list of the latest topics that can be used for writing your mechanical engineering dissertation.

These topics have been developed by PhD-qualified writers on our team, so you can trust them to use these topics for drafting your own dissertation.

You may also want to start your dissertation by requesting a brief research proposal from our writers on any of these topics, which includes an introduction to the topic, research question, aim and objectives, literature review, and the proposed methodology of research to be conducted. Let us know  if you need any help in getting started.

Check our  dissertation example to get an idea of  how to structure your dissertation .

Review the step-by-step guide on how to write your own dissertation here.

Latest Mechanical Engineering Research Topics

Topic 1: an investigation into the applications of iot in autonomous and connected vehicles.

Research Aim: The research aims to investigate the applications of IoT in autonomous and connected vehicles


  • To analyse the applications of IoT in mechanical engineering
  • To evaluate the communication technologies in autonomous and connected vehicles.
  • To investigate how IoT facilitates the interaction of smart devices in autonomous and connected vehicles

Topic 2: Evaluation of the impact of combustion of alternative liquid fuels on the internal combustion engines of automobiles

Research Aim: The research aims to evaluate the impact of the combustion of alternative liquid fuels on the internal combustion engines of automobiles

  • To analyse the types of alternative liquid fuels for vehicles and their implications
  • To investigate the benchmarking of alternative liquid fuels based on the principles of combustion performance.
  • To evaluate the impact of combustion of alternative liquid fuels on the internal combustion engines of automobiles with conventional engines

Topic 3: An evaluation of the design and control effectiveness of production engineering on rapid prototyping and intelligent manufacturing

Research Aim: The research aims to evaluate the design and control effectiveness of production engineering on rapid prototyping and intelligent manufacturing

  • To analyse the principles of design and control effectiveness of production engineering.
  • To determine the principles of rapid prototyping and intelligent manufacturing for ensuring quality and performance effectiveness
  • To evaluate the impact of production engineering on the design and control effectiveness of rapid prototyping and intelligent manufacturing.

Topic 4: Investigating the impact of industrial quality control on the quality, reliability and maintenance in industrial manufacturing

Research Aim: The research aims to investigate the impact of industrial quality control on the quality, reliability and maintenance in industrial manufacturing

  • To analyse the concept and international standards associated with industrial quality control.
  • To determine the strategies for maintaining quality, reliability and maintenance in manufacturing.
  • To investigate the impact of industrial quality control on the quality, reliability and maintenance in industrial manufacturing.

Topic 5: Analysis of the impact of AI on intelligent control and precision of mechanical manufacturing

Research Aim: The research aims to analyse the impact of AI on intelligent control and precision of mechanical manufacturing

  • To analyse the applications of AI in mechanical manufacturing
  • To evaluate the methods of intelligent control and precision of the manufacturing
  • To investigate the impact of AI on intelligent control and precision of mechanical manufacturing for ensuring quality and reliability

COVID-19 Mechanical Engineering Research Topics

Investigate the impacts of coronavirus on mechanical engineering and mechanical engineers..

Research Aim: This research will focus on identifying the impacts of Coronavirus on mechanical engineering and mechanical engineers, along with its possible solutions.

Research to study the contribution of mechanical engineers to combat a COVID-19 pandemic

Research Aim: This study will identify the contributions of mechanical engineers to combat the COVID-19 pandemic highlighting the challenges faced by them and their outcomes. How far did their contributions help combat the Coronavirus pandemic?

Research to know about the transformation of industries after the pandemic.

Research Aim: The study aims to investigate the transformation of industries after the pandemic. The study will answer questions such as, how manufacturing industries will transform after COVID-19. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages.

Damage caused by Coronavirus to supply chain of manufacturing industries

Research Aim: The focus of the study will be on identifying the damage caused to the supply chain of manufacturing industries due to the COVID-19 pandemic. What measures are taken to recover the loss and to ensure the continuity of business?

Research to identify the contribution of mechanical engineers in running the business through remote working.

Research Aim: This study will identify whether remote working is an effective way to recover the loss caused by the COVID-19 pandemic? What are its advantages and disadvantages? What steps should be taken to overcome the challenges faced by remote workers?

Dissertation Topics in Mechanical Engineering Design and Systems Optimization

Topic 1: mini powdered metal design and fabrication for mini development of waste aluminium cannes and fabrication.

Research Aim: The research will focus on producing and manufacturing copula furnaces and aluminium atomisers with available materials to manufacture aluminium powder metal.0.4 kg of refined coke will be chosen to measure content and energy balance and calculate the design values used to produce the drawings.

Topic 2: Interaction between the Fluid, Acoustic, and vibrations

Research Aim: This research aims to focus on the interaction between the Fluid, Acoustic, and vibrations

Topic 3: Combustion and Energy Systems.

Research Aim: This research aims to identify the relationship between Combustion and Energy Systems

Topic 4: Study on the Design and Manufacturing

Research Aim: This research will focus on the importance of design and manufacturing

Topic 5: Revolution in the Design Engineering

Research Aim: This research aims to highlight the advances in design engineering

Topic 6: Optimising HVAC Systems for Energy Efficiency

Research Aim: The study investigates different design configurations and operational strategies to optimise heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems for energy efficiency while maintaining indoor comfort levels.

Topic 7: Impact of Building Design Parameters on Indoor Thermal Comfort

Research Aim: The research explores the impact of building design parameters, such as insulation, glazing, shading, and ventilation, on indoor thermal comfort and energy consumption.

Topic 8: An Empirical Analysis of Enhanced Security and Privacy Measures for Call Taxi Metres

Research Aim: The research explores the methods to enhance the security and privacy of call taxi meter systems. It explores encryption techniques for sensitive data transmission and authentication protocols for driver and passenger verification.

Topic 9: An Investigation of Optimising Manifold Design

Research Aim: The study investigates various designs for manifolds used in HBr/HCl charging systems. It focuses on factors such as material compatibility, pressure control, flow rates, and safety protocols. 

Topic 10: Implementation of a Plant Lean Transformation

Research Aim: The research examines the implementation process and outcomes of a Lean Transformation in a plant environment. It focuses on identifying the key factors contributing to successful adoption and sustained improvement in operational efficiency. 

Topic 11: Exploring Finite Element Analysis (FEA) of Torque Limiters

Research Aim: Exploring the use of FEA techniques to simulate the behaviour of torque limiters under various loading conditions. The research provides insights into stress distribution and deformation.

Dissertation Topics in Mechanical Engineering Innovations and Materials Analysis

Topic 1: an overview of the different research trends in the field of mechanical engineering..

Research Aim: This research aims to analyse the main topics of mechanical engineering explored by other researchers in the last decade and the research methods. The data used is accumulated from 2009 to 2019. The data used for this research is used from the “Applied Mechanics Review” magazine.

Topic 2: The Engineering Applications of Mechanical Metamaterials.

Research Aim: This research aims to analyse the different properties of various mechanical metamaterials and how they can be used in mechanical engineering. This research will also discuss the potential uses of these materials in other industries and future developments in this field.

Topic 3: The Mechanical Behaviour of Materials.

Research Aim: This research will look into the properties of selected materials for the formation of a product. The study will take the results of tests that have already been carried out on the materials. The materials will be categorised into two classes from the already prepared results, namely destructive and non-destructive. The further uses of the non-destructive materials will be discussed briefly.

Topic 4: Evaluating and Assessment of the Flammable and Mechanical Properties of Magnesium Oxide as a Material for SLS Process.

Research Aim: The research will evaluate the different properties of magnesium oxide (MgO) and its potential use as a raw material for the SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) process. The flammability and other mechanical properties will be analysed.

Topic 5: Analysing the Mechanical Characteristics of 3-D Printed Composites.

Research Aim: This research will study the various materials used in 3-D printing and their composition. This research will discuss the properties of different printing materials and compare the harms and benefits of using each material.

Topic 6: Evaluation of a Master Cylinder and Its Use.

Research Aim: This research will take an in-depth analysis of a master cylinder. The material used to create the cylinder, along with its properties, will be discussed. The use of the master cylinder in mechanical engineering will also be explained.

Topic 7: Manufacturing Pearlitic Rail Steel After Re-Modelling Its Mechanical Properties.

Research Aim: This research will look into the use of modified Pearlitic rail steel in railway transportation. Modifications of tensile strength, the supported weight, and impact toughness will be analysed. Results of previously applied tests will be used.

How Can ResearchProspect Help?

ResearchProspect writers can send several custom topic ideas to your email address. Once you have chosen a topic that suits your needs and interests, you can order for our dissertation outline service , which will include a brief introduction to the topic, research questions , literature review , methodology , expected results , and conclusion . The dissertation outline will enable you to review the quality of our work before placing the order for our full dissertation writing service !

Electro-Mechanical Dissertation Topics

Topic 8: studying the electro-mechanical properties of multi-functional glass fibre/epoxy reinforced composites..

Research Aim: This research will study the properties of epoxy-reinforced glass fibres and their use in modern times. Features such as tensile strength and tensile resistance will be analysed using Topic 13: Studying the Mechanical and Durability different current strengths. Results from previous tests will be used to explain their properties.

Topic 9: Comparing The Elastic Modules of Different Materials at Different Strain Rates and Temperatures.

Research Aim: This research will compare and contrast a selected group of materials and look into their elastic modules. The modules used are the results taken from previously carried out experiments. This will explain why a particular material is used for a specific purpose.

Topic 10: Analysing The Change in The Porosity and Mechanical Properties of Concrete When Mixed With Coconut Sawdust.

Research Aim: This research will analyse the properties of concrete that are altered when mixed with coconut sawdust. Porosity and other mechanical properties will be evaluated using the results of previous experiments. The use of this type of concrete in the construction industry will also be discussed.

Topic 11: Evaluation of The Thermal Resistance of Select Materials in Mechanical Contact at Sub-Ambient Temperatures.

Research Aim: In this research, a close evaluation of the difference in thermal resistance of certain materials when they come in contact with a surface at sub-ambient temperature. The properties of the materials at the temperature will be noted. Results from previously carried out experiments will be used. The use of these materials will be discussed and explained, as well.

Topic 12: Analysing The Mechanical Properties of a Composite Sandwich by Using The Bending Test.

Research Aim: In this research, we will analyse the mechanical properties of the components of a composite sandwich through the use of the bending test. The results of the tests previously carried out will be used. The research will take an in-depth evaluation of the mechanical properties of the sandwich and explain the means that it is used in modern industries.

Mechanical Properties Dissertation Topics

Topic 13: studying the mechanical and durability properties of magnesium silicate hydrate binders in concrete..

Research Aim: In this research, we will evaluate the difference in durability and mechanical properties between regular concrete binders and magnesium silicate hydrate binders. The difference between the properties of both binders will indicate which binder is better for concrete. Features such as tensile strength and weight it can support are compared.

Topic 14: The Use of Submersible Pumping Systems.

Research Aim: This research will aim to analyse the use of a submersible pumping system in machine systems. The materials used to make the system, as well as the mechanical properties it possesses, will be discussed.

Topic 15: The Function of a Breather Device for Internal Combustion Engines.

Research Aim: In this research, the primary function of a breather device for an internal combustion engine is discussed. The placement of this device in the system, along with its importance, is explained. The effects on the internal combustion engine if the breather device is removed will also be observed.

Topic 16: To Study The Compression and Tension Behaviour of Hollow Polyester Monofilaments.

Research Aim: This research will focus on the study of selected mechanical properties of hollow polyester monofilaments. In this case, the compression and tension behaviour of the filaments is studied. These properties are considered in order to explore the future use of these filaments in the textile industry and other related industries.

Topic 17: Evaluating the Mechanical Properties of Carbon-Nanotube-Reinforced Cementous Materials.

Research Aim: This research will focus on selecting the proper carbon nanotube type, which will be able to improve the mechanical properties of cementitious materials. Changes in the length, diameter, and weight-based concentration of the nanotubes will be noted when analysing the difference in the mechanical properties. One character of the nanotubes will be of optimal value while the other two will be altered. Results of previous experiments will be used.

Topic 18: To Evaluate the Process of Parallel Compression in LNG Plants Using a Positive Displacement Compressor

Research Aim: This research aims to evaluate a system and method in which the capacity and efficiency of the process of liquefaction of natural gas can avoid bottlenecking in its refrigerant compressing system. The Advantages of the parallel compression system in the oil and gas industry will be discussed.

Topic 19: Applying Particulate Palm Kernel Shell Reinforced Epoxy Composites for Automobiles.

Research Aim: In this research, the differences made in applying palm kernel shell particulate to reinforced epoxy composites for the manufacturing of automobile parts will be examined. Properties such as impact toughness, wear resistance, flexural, tensile, and water resistance will be analysed carefully. The results of the previous tests will be used. The potential use of this material will also be discussed.

Topic 20: Changes Observed in The Mechanical Properties of Kevlar KM2-600 Due to Abrasions.

Research Aim: This research will focus on observing the changes in the mechanical properties of Kevlar KM2-600 in comparison to two different types of S glass tows (AGY S2 and Owens Corning Shield Strand S). Surface damage, along with fibre breakage, will be noted in all three fibres. The effects of the abrasions on all three fibres will be emphasised. The use of Kevlar KM2 and the other S glass tows will also be discussed, along with other potential applications.

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Industrial Application of Mechanical Engineering Dissertation Topics

Topic 1: the function of a fuel injector device..

Research Aim: This research focuses on the function of a fuel injector device and why this component is necessary for the system of an internal combustion engine. The importance of this device will be explained. The adverse effects on the entire system if the equipment is either faulty or completely removed will also be discussed.

Topic 2: To Solve Optimization Problems in a Mechanical Design by The Principles of Uncertainty.

Research Aim: This research will aim to formulate an optimization in a mechanical design under the influence of uncertainty. This will create an efficient tool that is based on the conditions of each optimisation under the risk. This will save time and allow the designer to obtain new information in regard to the stability of the performance of his design under uncertainties.

Topic 3: Analysing The Applications of Recycled Polycarbonate Particle Materials and Their Mechanical Properties.

Research Aim: This research will evaluate the mechanical properties of different polycarbonate materials and their potential to be recycled. The materials that can be recycled are then further examined for potential use as 3-dimensional printing materials. The temperature of the printer’s nozzle, along with the nozzle velocity matrix from previous experiments, is used to evaluate the tensile strength of the printed material. Other potential uses of these materials are also discussed.

Topic 4: The Process of Locating a Lightning Strike on a Wind Turbine.

Research Aim: This research will provide a detailed explanation of the process of detecting a lightning strike on a wind turbine. The measurement of the magnitude of the lightning strike, along with recognising the affected area will be explained. The proper method employed to rectify the damage that occurred by the strike will also be discussed.

Topic 5: Importance of a Heat Recovery Component in an Internal Combustion Engine for an Exhaust Gas System.

Research Aim: The research will take an in-depth evaluation of the different mechanics of a heat recovery component in an exhaust gas system. The functions of the different parts of the heat recovery component will be explained along with the importance of the entire element itself. The adverse effect of a faulty defective heat recovery component will also be explained.

“Feel free to contact us if you require custom dissertation topics and titles for your dissertation. ResearchProspect Ltd is a UK registered academic writing company which can provide you with highly qualified writers to assist you in the process of the formation of your dissertation. For more information about the type of services we offer.“

Related: Civil Engineering Dissertation

Important Notes:

As a student of mechanical engineering looking to get good grades, it is essential to develop new ideas and experiment on existing mechanical engineering theories – i.e., to add value and interest to the topic of your research.

The field of mechanical engineering is vast and interrelated to so many other academic disciplines like  civil engineering ,  construction ,  law , and even  healthcare . That is why it is imperative to create a mechanical engineering dissertation topic that is particular, sound and actually solves a practical problem that may be rampant in the field.

We can’t stress how important it is to develop a logical research topic; it is the basis of your entire research. There are several significant downfalls to getting your topic wrong: your supervisor may not be interested in working on it, the topic has no academic creditability, the research may not make logical sense, and there is a possibility that the study is not viable.

This impacts your time and efforts in  writing your dissertation as you may end up in a cycle of rejection at the very initial stage of the dissertation. That is why we recommend reviewing existing research to develop a topic, taking advice from your supervisor, and even asking for help in this particular stage of your dissertation.

Keeping our advice in mind while developing a research topic will allow you to pick one of the best mechanical engineering dissertation topics that not only fulfill your requirement of writing a research paper but also add to the body of knowledge.

Therefore, it is recommended that when finalizing your dissertation topic, you read recently published literature in order to identify gaps in the research that you may help fill.

Remember- dissertation topics need to be unique, solve an identified problem, be logical, and can also be practically implemented. Take a look at some of our sample mechanical engineering dissertation topics to get an idea for your own dissertation.

How to Structure Your Mechanical Engineering Dissertation

A well-structured   dissertation can help students   to achieve a high overall academic grade.

  • A Title Page
  • Acknowledgments
  • Declaration
  • Abstract: A summary of the research completed
  • Table of Contents
  • Introduction : This chapter includes the project rationale, research background, key research aims and objectives, and the research problems to be addressed. An outline of the structure of a dissertation can also be added to this chapter.
  • Literature Review :  This chapter presents relevant theories and frameworks by analysing published and unpublished literature available on the chosen research topic in light of research questions to be addressed. The purpose is to highlight and discuss the relative weaknesses and strengths of the selected research area whilst identifying any research gaps. Break down of the topic and key terms can have a positive impact on your dissertation and your tutor.
  • Methodology: The  data collection  and  analysis methods and techniques employed by the researcher are presented in the Methodology chapter, which usually includes  research design, research philosophy, research limitations, code of conduct, ethical consideration, data collection methods, and  data analysis strategy .
  • Findings and Analysis: The findings of the research are analysed in detail under the Findings and Analysis chapter. All key findings/results are outlined in this chapter without interpreting the data or drawing any conclusions. It can be useful to include  graphs , charts, and   tables in this chapter to identify meaningful trends and relationships.
  • Discussion and  Conclusion: The researcher presents his interpretation of results in this chapter and states whether the research hypothesis has been verified or not. An essential aspect of this section of the paper is to draw a linkage between the results and evidence from the literature. Recommendations with regard to the implications of the findings and directions for the future may also be provided. Finally, a summary of the overall research, along with final judgments, opinions, and comments, must be included in the form of suggestions for improvement.
  • References:  This should be completed in accordance with your University’s requirements
  • Bibliography
  • Appendices: Any additional information, diagrams, graphs that were used to  complete the  dissertation  but not part of the dissertation should be included in the Appendices chapter. Essentially, the purpose is to expand the information/data.

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Our team of writers is highly qualified. They are experts in their respective fields. They have been working in the industry for a long, thus are aware of the issues as well as the trends of the industry they are working in.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How to find dissertation topics about mechanical engineering.

To discover mechanical engineering dissertation topics:

  • Research recent advancements.
  • Explore industry challenges.
  • Consider sustainability or automation.
  • Review academic journals.
  • Consult with professors.
  • Opt for a niche aligning with your passion and career aims.

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Mechanical engineering articles from across Nature Portfolio

Mechanical engineering is the branch of engineering that deals with moving machines and their components. A central principle of mechanical engineering is the control of energy: transferring it from one form to another to suit a specific demand. Car engines, for example, convert chemical energy into kinetic energy.

Latest Research and Reviews

mechanical engineering research paper example

Insect-inspired breathing interfaces: investigating robustness of coating-free gas entrapping microtextured surfaces under pressure cycles

Sankara Arunachalam and colleagues explore the effects of cyclic pressure on the fate of air trapped inside microtextured surfaces submerged in water. The findings guide the design and function of gas-entrapping microtextured surfaces and offer insights into survival strategies of underwater breathers.

  • Sankara Arunachalam
  • Muhammad Subkhi Sadullah
  • Himanshu Mishra

mechanical engineering research paper example

Damage-free dry transfer method using stress engineering for high-performance flexible two- and three-dimensional electronics

Current transfer printing technologies enable versatile flexible devices but challenges remain. Here the authors report a facile, versatile and damage-free dry transfer printing strategy based on stress control of the deposited thin films.

  • Yoonsoo Shin
  • Seungki Hong
  • Sangkyu Lee

mechanical engineering research paper example

Coupled CFD-FEM analysis of the damage causes of the retention bunker: a case study at hard coal mine

  • Tomasz Janoszek
  • Marek Rotkegel

mechanical engineering research paper example

Constant force grinding controller for robots based on SAC optimal parameter finding algorithm

  • Qichao Wang
  • Xinghui Liu

mechanical engineering research paper example

Free convection in a square wavy porous cavity with partly magnetic field: a numerical investigation

  • Amirmohammad Mirzaei
  • Bahram Jalili
  • Davood Domiri Ganji

mechanical engineering research paper example

Efficient data acquisition and reconstruction for air-coupled ultrasonic robotic NDE

  • Ciaron Hamilton
  • Oleksii Karpenko
  • Yiming Deng


News and Comment

mechanical engineering research paper example

Computational morphology and morphogenesis for empowering soft-matter engineering

Morphing soft matter, which is capable of changing its shape and function in response to stimuli, has wide-ranging applications in robotics, medicine and biology. Recently, computational models have accelerated its development. Here, we highlight advances and challenges in developing computational techniques, and explore the potential applications enabled by such models.

mechanical engineering research paper example

Curse of rarity for autonomous vehicles

The curse of rarity—the rarity of safety-critical events in high-dimensional variable spaces—presents significant challenges in ensuring the safety of autonomous vehicles using deep learning. Looking at it from distinct perspectives, the authors identify three potential approaches for addressing the issue.

  • Henry X. Liu

mechanical engineering research paper example

Micro- and nanorobots for biofilm eradication

Micro- and nanorobots present a promising approach for navigating within the body and eliminating biofilm infections. Their motion can be remotely controlled by external fields and tracked by clinical imaging. They can mechanically disrupt the biofilm matrix and kill the dormant bacterial cells synergistically, thereby improving the effectiveness of biofilm eradication.

  • Staffan Kjelleberg

mechanical engineering research paper example

Mechanism of plastic deformation in metal monochalcogenides

Metal monochalcogenides — a class of van der Waals layered semiconductors — can exhibit ultrahigh plasticity. Investigation of the deformation mechanism reveals that on mechanical loading, these materials undergo local phase transitions that, coupled with the concurrent generation of a microcrack network, give rise to the ultrahigh plasticity.

mechanical engineering research paper example

Adaptable navigation of magnetic microrobots

An article in Nature Machine Intelligence presents an adaptable method to control magnetic microrobots’ navigation using reinforcement learning.

  • Charlotte Allard

mechanical engineering research paper example

Soft sensing and haptics for medical procedures

Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) lacks sufficient haptic feedback to the surgeon due to the length and flexibility of surgical tools. This haptic disconnect is exacerbated in robotic-MIS, which utilizes tele-operation to control surgical tools. Tactile sensation in MIS and robotic-MIS can be restored in a safe and conformable manner through soft sensors and soft haptic feedback devices.

  • Arincheyan Gerald
  • Sheila Russo

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mechanical engineering research paper example

Mechanical Engineering Communication Lab

Thesis Proposal

Note: This article is partially based on the 2017-2018 MechE Graduate Student Guide (PDF) . Please check the latest guide for the most-up to date formatting requirements.

Criteria for Success

A strong thesis proposal…

  • Motivates your project and introduces your audience to the state-of-the-art for the problem you’re working on.
  • Explains the limitations in the current methods through literature review and/or original analysis. This should also explain why the limitations matter and why they’re the right ones to focus on.
  • Clearly explains your technical approach to make specific improvements to some part of the field.
  • Uses original analysis and literature to support the feasibility of the approach.
  • Describes what is original about your work.
  • Provides a practical outline for completing this research : a degree timeline laying out quantifiable hypotheses, experimental/numerical/theoretical techniques, and metrics for evaluation .

Structure Diagram

Meche-specific structure requirements.

Your thesis proposal should be limited to 6 pages including figures and references.

In addition, you need a cover page that (only) includes:

  • tentative title of the thesis
  • brief abstract
  • committee chair and/or advisor should be indicated
  • include their official titles, departmental affiliations, and email addresses

The purpose of your thesis proposal is to introduce your research plan to your thesis committee. You want the committee members to come away understanding what your research will accomplish, why it is needed ( motivation ), how you will do it ( feasibility & approach ), and most importantly, why it is worthy of a PhD ( significance ).

You intend to solve a real and important problem, and you are willing to dedicate years of your life to it, so use your proposal to get the committee excited about your research!

Analyze your audience

Unlike many of the papers and presentations you will write during graduate school, only a select few people will read your thesis proposal. This group will always include your PhD committee and your research advisor, and may include other interested MechE faculty or scientists and engineers at your funding source.

Therefore, you will typically have a good understanding of your audience before it is written. This can allow you to tailor your message to the technical level of your specific audience. If you aren’t sure what your audience could reasonably be expected to know, be conservative! Regardless, your audience is always looking to answer the questions: “ what is this research, how will you perform it, and why does it matter?”

While the small audience may make you less interested in committing time to your proposal, the exercise of motivating and justifying your work plan will be critical to your PhD.

Follow the standard structure for research proposals

While some variation is acceptable, don’t stray too far from the following structure. See also the Structure Diagram above.

  • Introduction . Provide only the necessary information to motivate your research, and show how it fits into the broader field. What is the problem you are trying to solve? By the end of the introduction, your audience should understand the basics of what you will do and why you will do it.
  • Background/Methodology . Describe the current state of the art and related research fields in sufficient technical detail. The goal is provide just enough detail to give the reader a sound understanding of the limitations and the need for new work. Do not go into detail that does not directly help in understanding your You are not trying to make your reader understand everything about the topic or demonstrate how much you know.
  • Objectives . Although not strictly necessary, this section lets you summarize concrete goals of your work, and can help to serve as a checklist for yourself as you move through the process. This is best for projects that tackle many interrelated problems. Think of this as a list of concrete (quantifiable) goals that you want to accomplish.
  • Proposed Work. Explain how your work will solve the problems that you have identified. How will you address the objectives above? Provide just enough technical specificity to leave the reader with a firm grasp of what you will do.
  • Provide a set of time-structured goals and deliverables. While this is not strictly necessary, your committee will want a timeline when you meet with them, so it can help to start planning now. You want to graduate, so make sure that you have a plan to do so!
  • This is a standard section listing references in an appropriate format (MLA, APA, etc.)

Consider the logical sequence of your sections. After the introduction, your audience should be intrigued by a key problem, and intrigued that you know how to solve it. Through the background, they learn that this problem is more difficult than they originally realized. Finally, in the proposed work they learn that your proposal addresses the additional complexity introduced in the background, and they have confidence that you can actually solve the problem.

Summarize the current research field

You need to have a strong grasp of the broader research community. How can you contribute, if you don’t know what is done and what needs to be done?

The point here is not to educate your audience, but rather to provide them with the tools needed to understand your proposal. A common mistake is to explain all of the research that you did to understand your topic and to demonstrate that you really know your field. This will bore your audience, who either already knows this information or does not see why they should care. It’s more important to show where current gaps are. Cut anything that doesn’t answer the what and why of what people are doing. Your depth of knowledge will come through in your thoughtful proposal.

Justify the significance of your work

Answer the question: “What happens if your work is successful?” Again, you are trying to convince your readers either to give you funding or to work with you for three (or more) years. Convince them that your project is worth it.

Your research doesn’t have to revolutionize your field, but you need to explain concretely how it will move your field forward. For example, “Successful development of the proposed model will enable high-fidelity simulation of boiling” is a specific and convincing motivation, compared to, “The field of boiling modeling must be transformed in order to advance research.”

Justify your research plan

Identify the steps needed to overcome your identified problem/limitation. Though your PhD will evolve over time, the tasks and timeline that you identify in your proposal will continue to help determine the trajectory of your research. A good plan now can save a lot of work a few years down the road.

A strong research plan answers three key questions:

  • g., “In order to engineer material properties using mesoscopic defects, it is necessary to characterize the defects, measure how they affect material response, and identify techniques to reproducibly create the defects at specific sites within a material.”
  • g., “In my PhD, I will focus on developing high-speed dynamic imaging techniques to characterize transient defect states in metallic nanowires. I will then use these techniques to measure the properties of nanowires fabricated with three different processes known to produce different defect structures.”
  • How will you evaluate success in each step? These metrics should be concrete and measurable! Putting the thought into metrics now will make it easier for your committee (and yourself) to check a box and say ‘you can graduate.’

Each of these questions should be supported by details that reflect the current state of the art. Technical justification is critical to establish credibility for your plan. Reference the material that you introduced in the background section. You should even use your research plan to tailor your background section so that your committee knows just enough to believe what you’re claiming in your plan.

Based on the tasks and metrics in your plan, establish specific reflection points when you’ll revisit the scope of your project and evaluate if changes are needed.

Include alternative approaches

You won’t be able to predict all of the challenges you will encounter, but planning alternative approaches early on for major methods or decision points will prepare you to make better game-time decisions when you come up against obstacles. e.g.,

I will develop multi-pulse, femtosecond illumination for high speed imaging following Someone et al. Based on the results they have shown, I expect to be able to observe defect dynamics with micron spatial resolution and microsecond temporal resolution. If these resolutions are not achievable in the nanowire systems, I will explore static measurement techniques based on the work of SomeoneElse et al.

Resources and Annotated Examples

Annotated example 1.

This is a recent MechE thesis proposal, written in the style of an IEEE paper. 1,022 KB


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Tips on reading articles better

Reading a lot of articles in short period of time is tough! It's important to take breaks, and to take quick notes after each article. Otherwise it will all blend together.

See this article for advice from different STEM researchers on how they read articles: https://www.sciencemag.org/careers/2016/03/how-seriously-read-scientific-paper

Guides to writing articles and literature reviews in STEM

For individual help with your writing, it's best to book an appointment with the Academic Help Writing Centre on campus .

Cover Art

  • How to Write a good technical paper Short article from Concrete International magazine.

Cover Art

  • Ten Simple Rules for writing a literature review, by Marco Pautasso (2013) A popular article published in PLoS Computational Biology.

mechanical engineering research paper example

Examples of literature reviews

If you're writing a published article or a thesis, it's always good to read different examples in your field. In a research database like Scopus or Web of Science, you can search for review articles on your topic - see the Find Articles tab. You can also see previous theses in your program. Follow this link, and modify the search to find ones from your department.

Here is an example of a review paper written by a uOttawa PhD student in civil engineering, which is structured by analytical approach.

  • Example journal article with highlights This is a journal article written by two members of the School of EECS here. I have highlighted key phrases in their lit review in which they synthesize and summarize the previous literature.

Science and Engineering Librarian | Bibliothécaire spécialisé en sciences et génie

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Doing a systematic review?

If you've been asked to do a systematic review , we have a guide for doing them . But another type of review might actually be better suited to your project! This chart describes different types of reviews and why you might use them.

What do your professors want in a literature review?

Whether you are doing a topic summary for a term paper, a state-of-the-art survey, or a full literature review for a thesis or article, there are some common expectations that your professors have for graduate student work. They are not looking for you to simply describe some papers that you have read on the topic, one after the other. What they do expect is:

  • That you have found and thoroughly read enough papers to have a solid grasp of the particular topic. This is where it's very important to properly define your topic so you can do a good job, and do a structured database search! You should start to encounter some of the same authors and papers repeatedly as you read, indicating that you are finding the major works in this topic. For searching advice, see the Find Articles tab. You should use at least two search tools (Scopus, Web of Science, Google Scholar, etc).
  • That you have understood them enough to identify major trends, methods, approaches, and differences . This takes work! You do not want to just re-phrase the abstract. See below for some tips on doing this.
  • That you can communicate your own perspective and informed opinion on what is truly important - including where the current research is lacking (where there is a gap). If you are doing your own research, this is a very important part of the literature review as it justifies the rest of your project.

The process of doing a literature review

Process of doing a literature review

Source: North Carolina State University. (n.d.). Literature Reviews: An Overview for Graduate Students . https://www.lib.ncsu.edu/tutorials/litreview/

Reading and note-taking efficiently

Getting started.

You want to be organized from the start when doing a literature review, especially for a project that will take a long time. 

  • In a Word or Excel file, keep track of your searching - which search databases and tools you use, and paste in all the search queries you run that are useful, with parameters. In Scopus, for example, this might be ' TITLE-ABS-KEY   (   anaerobic   AND  digestion   AND  feedstock   )   AND   PUBYEAR   >   2013'. This will help you avoid duplicating work later.
  • Use a citation manager program like Zotero or Mendeley, to keep track of your papers as you find them, and format citations later. See this guide for details on the programs. Save the PDFs to your computer, and attach them to the entries in your citation manager if it isn't added automatically.

Reading and Note-taking on Individual papers

When you actually read the papers that you find, most people take a staged approach to save time:

  • Read the abstract fully to determine if it's actually on topic.
  • If so, read the discussion and conclusion, and the figures and graphs, to figure out if the results were significant or produced interesting results.
  • If so, make sure it is saved. Then read the full article, and annotate the article right away.

What does annotating mean? Take very short notes (on paper or digital) of the most important findings and/or highlight important lines in the paper. You can highlight and annotate the PDF file if you want, or in your citation manager. You don't usually need to summarize the whole article - instead focus on what is important for your research or review, and write it in your own words. This could be the

  • whether the study was theoretical, experimental, numerical simulation, etc
  • main theoretical approach, model, algorithms, etc
  • number of test specimens or subjects
  • key assumptions made that might impact its general validity
  • key outcome measured, statistical significance of it, etc
  • Your own comments - for example, strengths and weaknesses

Synthesizing the papers and structuring your review

Concept mapping.

One technique is to create a concept map or 'mind map' showing the relationships or groupings of the key papers on your topic, with short labels. This way, you can try out different options for how to structure your paper and see which one makes the most sense. You can do this on paper:

You can also do this digitally, using a mind-mapping website. There are some easy-to-use, free tools that are available now. Two that I have used are Coggle and Miro. You can also just sketch on paper.

Mind map showing papers for the topic 'methods for bearing signature extraction'

Created using  Coggle.it, based on a chart in Huang, H. (2018). Methods for Rolling Element Bearing Fault Diagnosis under Constant and Time-varying Rotational Speed Conditions (Ph.D. Thesis, University of Ottawa). http://dx.doi.org/10.20381/ruor-21835

mechanical engineering research paper example

Image: Pacheco-Vega, R. (2016, June 15). How to do a literature review: Citation tracing, concept saturation and results’ mind-mapping. Retrieved from http://www.raulpacheco.org/2016/06/how-to-do-a-literature-review-citation-tracing-concept-saturation-and-results-mind-mapping/

After you have taken notes on individual articles, it can be very helpful to create a chart with key variables that seem important. Not every article will cover the same material. But there should be some common factors, and some differences between them. This chart is called a synthesis matrix.

Example of a 'synthesis matrix'


cadmium telluride (p. 312)

copper-indium selenide (p. 1209)

polycrystalline silicon ( 54)

12% under STP (p. 65)

15% (p. 1215)

22% at 45 deg. C ( 56)

depending on application, can be preferred (p. 320)

cannot be used above 50 degrees Celsius (p. 1213)

not preferred - cost to efficiency of silicon is higher (p.  59)

Source: University of Western Ontario Library (n.d.). “Writing your literature review”. https://guides.lib.uwo.ca/mme9642/litreview

See this blog post by researcher Raul Pacheco-Vega for another example of how he does this.

This chart can help you decide how to organize your review. If it's a very short review, some people write it chronologically - they describe how the topic evolved, one paper at a time. But if you have more than 10 papers, this is not a good approach. Instead, it is best to organize your review thematically . In this approach, you group the papers into several groups or themes, and discuss each theme in a separate section. Usually the groups are major methods of tackling the problem, or concepts, or techniques.

In each section of your paper, you introduce the theme, and then discuss and compare the papers in the group. Using this approach lets you show that you have not just read the papers, but have understood the topic as a whole, and can synthesize the literature.

For example, this paper co-authored by Ping Li , a Civil Engineering PhD graduate of uOttawa, organizes the papers into three categories: ones that used a 'traditional' approach; ones based on characterization of the soil microstructure, and ones that also incorporate soil mechanics. The strengths and weaknesses of category are discussed, and in the conclusion, the authors recommend approaches for future studies. 

You can often include a form of a synthesis chart in your paper or thesis, as a visual summary of your lit review. This is part of a chart included in a Masters' thesis in Computer Science from uOttawa.

Part of a chart showing various papers on Phishing Detection.

From Le Page, S. (2019). Understanding the Phishing Ecosystem (M.Sc. Thesis, University of Ottawa). http://dx.doi.org/10.20381/ruor-23629

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Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics

An overview of the discipline.

Mechanical engineering is a comprehensive engineering field that applies the principles of physics and materials science to mechanical systems. Specifically at Penn, Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics (MEAM) is a highly interdisciplinary study that works with all other engineering departments in cross-boundary projects. Such projects emphasize analytical and mathematical research in mechanics and technology. The field has two main components: theory and application. The undergraduate curriculum teaches both theoretical knowledge and laboratory work "to [prepare] Penn's mechanical engineers for the problems they will solve in industry and research."

Writing in the Discipline

Mechanical engineering strives to solve mechanical problems in materials, thermal energy, and other systems. Experimental mechanical engineers focus on defining and solving problems, such as creating bone implants that are mechanically similar to bone. Experimentalists can show that one replacement material is more similar to bone than a second material through repeated, quantitative experiments. The results of an experiment can be affirmed or critiqued by comparing what was done with other experiments. Theoretical engineers explore and critique the results of previous experiments. For example, theorists offer explanations for why one bone replacement material is better than another or challenge a previous statement using mathematical models. The theory also generates predictions for new experiments.

The scholarly work of mechanical engineering is usually explanatory, i.e., describing previous research, experimental methods, results, and mathematical models. However, the underlying goal of engineers' explanations is to demonstrate that their results are significant to the field or to persuade experimental engineers to test proposed models. Justificatory rhetoric is used only when multiple conclusions can be drawn from the same results, at which point mechanical engineers need to justify why a certain viewpoint is most compelling.

The research of mechanical engineering can be either text- or data-based. Theorists typically build upon the existing literature. Experimentalists tend to use data-based evidence, including computational results and repeated experimental data. Experimental engineers use proper scientific methods, such as having a control group and changing only one independent variable at a time. The majority of legitimate evidence is quantitative data and is used in combination with prior literature in the field.

Writing in MEAM can be single-authored or co-authored, although most work is collaborative. Theoretical engineers work closely with experimentalists to get an idea of various problems in the field. In addition, mechanical engineers often work with professors in other fields, including electrical engineering, material science, and medicine. For example, mechanical engineers can collaborate with medical professors to describe the mechanics of macroscopic blood clots with single-molecule models. However, collaboration is not always possible or necessary. Much of the theoretical work is produced by single authors and involves explaining phenomena observed in experiments, which requires no collaboration between the theorist and other engineers.

The knowledge produced by MEAM scholars is predominantly based on repeated experimental data, existing literature from credible sources, and mathematical models. Unlike data and information from previous publications, mathematical models rarely need further explanation or testing for credibility. Claims based on opinions, not facts, are unacceptable.

Writing Tips

It is important for student writers in MEAM to cater to the audience and demands of each assignment. For example, journal publications require highly technical language appealing to a specialized audience, whereas students are expected in their research papers to define and provide background information on such terms. Many MEAM research papers also require synthesis, rather than a mere summary of various sources. In fact, professors recommend that students structure their papers as a series of complex syntheses rather than as summaries of individual sources or ideas. This also prevents accidental plagiarism.

Professors also recommend that students begin assignments early enough to allow time to reread with a fresh mind and have another person, even someone outside of MEAM, review the paper.

Important Criteria for Student Writing

Originality, reasoning and evidence, proper documentation and organization are paramount for MEAM writers; demonstrating mastery of others' ideas, grammar, mechanics, and style are important but secondary considerations.

Common Errors

Dr. Turner notices that students tend to not think about the structure of their papers; students don’t realize that the structure helps to tell the story. In addition, students have the misconception that more words are better, and oftentimes add in extraneous information. With more words, the main point gets diluted and the readers have a more difficult time evaluating what was actually done. The aim is for concision and clarity. For example, engineers may perform experiments that are unsuccessful along the way. They should be mentioned in a paper, but extreme detail is not needed. A paper is not a report of what was done, but a concise summary of the outcome. Also, be sure to properly cite sources.

MEAM Professor Kevin Turner notes that "you can be doing fantastic work, but if you can't convey what you're doing clearly in papers, nobody will appreciate it." MEAM style includes a neutral tone, a strategic mix of active and passive voice, and concision. Professors recommend that students read examples of well-written published work. This can be especially useful when writing papers for a specific journal or field and more useful than pouring over style guides, which overlook the kinds of distinctions MEAM writers need to make between different kinds of writing in their field. Mechanical engineers typically use CSE Citation Style.

Typical Student Writing

Many MEAM classes do not assign much writing. However, lab reports, progress reports, and research assignments are required in some courses. In addition, students may be assigned a design project in which they must define a problem, explain their solution, predict the expected performance, and describe any further implications. Graduate students may be expected to write short proposals.

Typical Professional Writing

MEAM professors primarily write journal papers and proposals. Journal publications share findings and new information, or affirm or critique other findings. To obtain research funding from the federal government or industry, mechanical engineers also must write proposals, which are then reviewed by an individual or a panel with expertise in the specific MEAM sub-field.

The MEAM website contains more information about different areas of research in mechanical engineering. The following link comprises a list of Penn professors, sorted by subdiscipline, including links to examples of their writing.

Meet the Professors

"I have a routine. First, whatever models I have I write down and make handwritten notes ..." More...

"Even if your audience has an engineering background, it’s nice to build your story from basic ideas ..." More...

  • What to expect, what to bring
  • People at the center
  • Drop-in hours and locations
  • Schedule an appointment
  • Faculty services
  • Resources for critical writers
  • About Howard Marks
  • The writing requirement
  • Choosing the right seminar
  • What to expect
  • Course descriptions
  • Transfer credit
  • 3808: Journal of Critical Writing
  • Other publishing opportunities
  • Awards, prizes, and apprenticeships
  • Teaching opportunities
  • Help with your writing
  • Services for faculty
  • Important dates, workshops, and training
  • Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing
  • School of Arts & Sciences
  • University of Pennsylvania

Cutting-Edge Research at the Interface of Ideas


Cutting-edge research at the interface of ideas.

We coordinate research in the department across seven collaborative disciplinary areas.

Scroll to Explore

The diversity of our skill sets as mechanical engineers can help us make a major global impact by addressing the biggest needs and issues facing our world.

Explore Research

  • Research Areas
  • Research in the News

Investigate the Areas of Research

The MIT Department of Mechanical Engineering researches and teaches at the interfaces of ideas, where several disciplines such as physics, math, electronics, and computer science, and engineering intersect in the nimble hands of broadly trained MIT mechanical engineers.

Design + Manufacturing

Controls, Instrumentation + Robotics

Energy Science + Engineering

Ocean Science + Engineering


Micro + Nano Engineering

News + Media

The Nature of Sand

The Nature of Sand

Associate Professor Ken Kamrin’s model of granular material flow could impact how we interact with everything from sand and soil to pills and industrial materials.

QS World University Rankings rates MIT No. 1 in 11 subjects for 2024

QS World University Rankings rates MIT No. 1 in 11 subjects for 2024

QS World University Rankings has placed MIT in the No. 1 spot in 11 subject areas including Mechanical Engieering for 2024

New laser setup probes metamaterial structures with ultrafast pulses

New laser setup probes metamaterial structures with ultrafast pulses

New laser setup probes metamaterial structures with ultrafast pulses. This technique could speed up the development of acoustic lenses, impact-resistant films, and other futuristic materials.

Meet Some of Our Faculty

MechE faculty are passionate, out-of-the-box thinkers who love to get their hands dirty.

Maria Yang

  • bioengineering

Cullen Buie

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[100+] Mechanical Engineering Research Topics For College Students With Free [Thesis Pdf] 2022

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