Graduate STEM Fellow Profile
GLobAl Change Initiative: Education and Research (GLACIER)
College/University: Boston University
Research Advisor: J. Gregory McDaniel
Degree Sought: Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering
Department: Mechanical Engineering
Research Focus: Structural vibrations, focused on developing techniques to spatially identify damping effectiveness in complex structures
Teaching Partner(s): Bob Kondel
Description of Research
My research focuses on developing both analytical and theoretical techniques for spatially identifying constrained layer damping (CLD) treatment effectiveness in complex structures. To date, no technique other than guess and check has been identified. This leads to systems with large amounts of damping treatment that contribute no vibration dissipation value. I have spent the past six months spearheading the idea of using thermal imaging technology to achieve our program goals. Assuming that all vibrational energy dissipated by CLD treatments is converted to heat and conducted through the system, it follows that a temperature distribution must be created, presumably with the largest temperatures occurring where the most heat is being generated. These maximum heat locations would correspond to the positions of the most effective damping treatments. This is a continuing effort requiring numerical and analytical modeling of coupled vibration and thermal systems as well as in lab experimentation on CLD treatment samples.
Example of how my research is integrated into my GK-12 experience
At the sixth grade level in Massachusetts, students have not yet seen basic physics in the classroom. As the vast majority of mechanical engineering is based in physics, I have integrated my research through conceptual description, leaving the math and physical principles to their future high school experiences. In a unit on electricity generation, I described the ideas behind ocean wave energy collectors (WECs). These collectors, or at the least the ones applicable to my field, illustrate structural vibrations in a very easy to describe way – a mass on a spring. This model’s simplicity allowed the students to conceptualize the operation of a WEC and connect that to structural vibrations. I hope to include future demonstrations involving basic acoustics and thermal imaging.