Mechanical Engineering Projects

Mechanical engineering course project / mini project ideas.

Mechanical Engineering Courses

Learn about all courses or subjects taught in mechanical engineering.

How drones can be used for firefighting?

Drones for fire control
How drones can be used for firefighting? Is it possible to get a drone to some real life saving work? Professors at Olin College and MIT are studying how to use drones in field for fighting fires. Professors are of the view that they can develop a fleet of self flying intelligent drones programmed to gather intelligence reports/ insights from fire field that will help firefighters in devising a more powerful strategy in battling out of control blazes. Not only this information will help in fire control but it will also help the firefighters in knowing more about the wildfires. Previously we discussed how mechanical engineers are working on a project idea of designing a robot for firefighting.

Andrew Bennett, who is a mechanical engineering professor at Olin College in Needham, and his partner, MIT professor Jonathan How, hope to have the drone system ready for demonstrations this spring. They are hopeful that first prototype of the intelligent drones will be ready for flight before spring. After successful flight tests of the drone, intelligent functions like tracking fire and critical heat zones will be tested using tractors and artificial fire flames in open grounds.

“Fail early, try often” should be the motto for all mechanical engineers working on such projects.

How will this drone work?, is the question here. In very simple words, this drone will allow firefighters to point out a fire zone/ most critical zone on a map using GPS coordinates. Comprehensive fire examination report containing heat level information will also be supplied by the drone. The drone will be intelligent enough to examine fire from safe distance and along the edges. It will also be capable of calling another drone for backup when battery runs low.

Firefighting is not fun. It requires lot of courage, knowledge and expertise. Knowing that how fire burns and where it might move next is the most important part of firefighting, said Chief Fire Warden David Celino of the state’s Department of Conservation and Recreation. Forecasting and knowing the behavior of fire is really exciting.

“No matter how futuristic the technology is, you still go back to the fundamentals of firefighting: Success in trying to get containment or control over a fire is all about gathering the size-up information — the intelligence about what’s going on with the fire,” he said.

Being a mechanical engineer, I am excited to know more about the future of both these projects. i.e. robots and drones as firefighters. If you have found this idea wonderful, share it with your friends on facebook to acknowledge the efforts of mechanical engineers.

Robot as a firefighter

Robot as a firefighter
Respect for the engineers who are working on a robot that will work as firefighter. Firefighting is a tough job. It requires lots of courage and involves risk. Firefighters have to take care of all health and safety measures to ensure minimal casualties. Both courage and sense are required for firefighting job. Soon the world will see walking giant robots working as firefighters in emergency situations. Now this is real imagination of an engineer. For now the technology is being tested at sea.

How it works?

“The concept is to design a humanoid robot. We developed a whole body controller for balance and to respond to external disturbance” – says Brian Lattimer, a professor in the department of mechanical engineering at Virginia Tech and a member of the team.

The body controller was itself a blend of redesigned actuators used for robots and software that is used for locomotion, he says. “It will not be inflexible like some other humanoid robots you might have seen. The actuators contain springs, permitting it to control its balance more easily.” The whole body controller compensates for any kick from the fire hose.
Robot as a firefighter
THOR-OP reaching for a fire nozzle. Image: Virginia Tech

The robot will be designed to be able to keep its range-finding and perception during a fire event. “When you deposit water into fire you must have the capability to see through steam and smoke,” he says. “It was desirable to have a robot autonomously locate fires and put them out with water.” They looked at range finders on the market and put them in different levels of fire and smoke to see how they behaved.” Ultimately, LIDAR was chosen.

Testing it on the former USS Shadwell, the robot walked into a compartment containing fire and worked with a firefighter to grab a hand line. The situation was suppressed successfully. At present, they have developed two humanoid robots, both 5 foot 10 and weighing 145 lbs and 165 lbs, respectively.

This serves as a great idea for students of mechanical engineering. I suggest all students to work on this project idea. This is a great idea for final year project for mechanical engineers. Whenever you are deciding a topic for project, always remember to do something which has not been done already. I have seen many students working on same stupid repetitive ideas each year with no output/ learning at all. The idea of a robot as a firefighter is just awesome. Sense the smoke, find heat zone and push water.

Why mechanical engineering is better

Why a degree in mechanical engineering is a better choice for students? Why do we rank mechanical engineering degree at higher merits/ ranks in almost all universities and colleges of the world? Over the past few decades, mechanical engineering degree has raised its value and demand among aspirants and no decline has yet been seen in reputation and scope of mechanical engineering degree. That is why it is often said to be an ever green field.

Mechanical engineering is a diverse field of engineering. This diversity allows mechanical engineers to pursue a career in any field of life. So it gives you a wide variety of choice after graduation. There are many students who wish to change their field of work after they graduate. So if you are a mechanical engineer, you will find it easy to plunge yourself into a completely new field. Either you want to be a project manager or a technical consultant, being a mechanical engineer you can survive in any field.

When students get admission in any engineering degree, mostly all of them are unaware of their future. They do not have a clear picture of what they will do after graduation. Almost 90% of them end up with a totally different career path after graduation. Some students tend to incline more towards other fields of engineering. It happens with everyone. Happened with me as well. I am a graduate in mechanical engineering but I started working in waste management field. That was totally different environment. But I found it very interesting field. I worked on projects for producing energy from waste. Today I am working in livestock field. Here I am exploring a completely different environment. The more you work in variety of areas, more you learn about opportunities in that field.

I know many mechanical engineers who are doing awesome jobs as environmentalists because they did masters in environmental engineering after bachelors in mechanical. This is why I said mechanical engineering is diverse in its scope, Even if you don’t like to be a mechanical engineer at work, you can change your path easily. You can pursue higher education in civil engineering, environmental engineering, computer science, software engineering, quality control, project management or even supply chain management. Swapping field of work is not difficult for mechanical engineers.

This was just a little discussion on why mechanical engineering is a better choice for students and why do we say that mechanical engineering is the best field of engineering. Why engineers are not getting job offers, is a totally different topic.

Engineers will produce energy from airport sound

Engineers at Boeing Airlines have started working on the idea of producing energy from jet sounds produced at airports. Now engineers will transform loud and ear itching sounds of jet engines to electricity. Since the start of commercial flights, engineers are looking for ways to reduce loud noise produced by commercial jets during taking off or landing. Now engineers working at Boeing have come up with this idea that this sound energy ca used as a source of electricity at airports.

Boeing Employee Chin Toh surprised everyone with a new proposal: how about producing electricity from airport acoustical energy? Chin toh is of the view that there is no system for productive use of this sound energy/ acoustical energy. It just dissipates during landing/ tale off. This only represents a lost energy resource. Toh’s idea is that this sound energy will be captures and transformed into electrical energy to power up airports or any of its function.

The propositions are significant in terms of funds and logistics. Runways would be given a renovation and their borders would be lined with "acoustic wave collectors." These devices grab and gather the vibrations produced by a plane engine's noise. The acoustic energy is then converted into air flow, which in turn runs a turbine. A generator coupled to the turbine's rotating shaft generates electricity, which is sent to a substation and distributed to where it is needed.

A few years back, an research at the Amsterdam Airport Schiphol proved that runway uproar can be subdued using basic acoustics. For now, only the major airports are resourceful enough to use advanced noise-breaking mechanisms. The popularity of sound collectors may increase if the technology makes the implementation profitable.

Toh's patent might have to wait until the technology for gathering energy from sound waves improves. Until then, noise remains an example of unused resources that are just next to us, waiting to be harnessed.
Such ideas serve as a great source of inspiration for young engineers. This is a true representation of “necessity is the mother of invention”. Sound can be a great source of mechanical energy.

Production Management - Introduction

The production management deals with the design of the production system (which includes product, process, plant, equipment etc.) and development of the control system to manage inventories, product quality, production schedules and productivity.

Industrial Engineering - Introduction

The industrial engineering is an engineering approach to the detailed analysis of the use and cost of the resources of an organization. The main resources are men, money, materials, equipment and machinery. An industrial engineer carries out such analysis in order to achieve the objectives (to increase productivity or profits etc.) and policies of the organization.

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