Graduate STEM Fellow Profile

Brad McClelland

Project Title: Transforming Experiences
Thesis: Lubricating Oil Condition Sensor
College/University: University of Colorado Denver
Research Advisor: Ronald Rorrer
Degree Sought: M.S. Mechanical Engineering
Department: Department of Engineering and Applied Science, Mechanical Engineering
Research Focus: Creating a sensor that can determine the condition of lubricating oils based on their physical properties.
Teaching Partner(s):

Description of Research

Due to the ever increasing demand for oil products in the world today, it is more important than ever to develop ways to use oil more efficiently. Since one of the largest consumers of oil products in the world is the automobile, any efficiency gains in the automotive industry can have a huge impact. With this in mind, the goal of this research is to develop an on-board sensor that monitors certain oil properties in order to assess the condition of the oil. When the oil properties deteriorate to a point that prevents the proper function of the oil, the sensor will alert the operator that the oil must be changed. This system will allow for longer oil change intervals and reduce the overall usage of oil products in automobiles.

Example of how my research is integrated into my GK-12 experience

One example of integrating my research into the classroom was as an introduction to liquid properties. I introduced my research to the students as well as liquid properties such as viscosity and density. I was also able to talk briefly about methods for measuring such properties. From this information, the students developed an experiment to explore what changes might affect the viscosity of a liquid. After this experiment, I was able to explain what types of changes might affect the viscosity of oil and how that relates to my research.