Senior Design Projects 2012-13

Rail Car Coupler

Team Members

Alyssa Sahr, Materials Science and Engineering; Francis Bremmer, Yidan Lou, and Justin Tumberg, Mechanical Engineering; Kyle Pepin, Civil Engineering

Advisor

Paul van Susante

Sponsor

NuRail Center and Michigan Tech Rail Transportation Program

Project Overview

The mechanism used to link rail cars in the heavy freight rail industry is known as a coupler. The coupler has not been significantly redesigned since the original patent in 1873. The current coupler can have mechanical failure during use. The knuckle of the coupler fractures, causing costly delays when the cars detach. The team has studied coupler performance, and designed and tested a prototype to increase the fatigue life of the knuckle.

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Bioabsorbable Magnesium Surgical Staples

Team Members

Lisa Shoemaker, Emma Getty, and Megan Johnson, Biomedical Engineering; Meredith Mulder, Materials Science and Engineering; Ellesse Bess, Chemical Engineering

Advisor

Feng Zhao and Jeremy Goldman

Sponsor

Boston Scientific Corporation

Project Overview

A bioabsorbable magnesium surgical staple may retain high mechanical strength and harmlessly disappear after natural wound healing. We will design a magnesium staple that is able to support the same loads as a titanium staple with a customizable diameter and maintain structural integrity for the duration of tissue wound healing. This new staple would be a strong, rapidly deployable closure device that does not require a second procedure to remove, as well as closing the structural integrity and bioabsorbability gap between polymer sutures and permanent staples.

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Design of an Eta Phase Strengthened Nickel-Based Alloy

Team Members

Peter Enz, Bryan Turner, Ben Wittbrodt, and Matthew Wong, Materials Science and Engineering

Advisor

Calvin White

Sponsor

John Shingledecker, Electric Power Research Institute

Project Overview

Nimonic-263 is a commercial nickel-based alloy that is gamma-prime (γ’), age-hardenable, and used in advanced ultra-supercritical steam boilers and turbines. Much research has been done for alloys, however, there is a need for alloys that can retain strength at temperatures above 750°C where the γ’ precipitates will coarsen and dissolve. The eta (η) phase has higher stability than γ’ above 750°C and has been proposed as a strengthening phase at temperatures above those where coarsening of γ’ will occur. The scope of this proposal is to design an alloy compositionally similar to Nimonic-263 that contains higher amounts of η above 800°C.

Honorable Mention Undergraduate Expo 2013

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Sickle Section Material and Heat Treatment Investigation

Team Members

Kelsey Michael, Anne Wiese, Luke Operhall, and Bradley Pasionek, Materials Science and Engineering

Advisor

Mark Plichta

Sponsor

Kondex

Project Overview

Kondex Corporation has asked us to analyze new materials and heat treatments for sickle sections. The improvement of the sickle sections will encompass material selection and heat treatment options, both of which have to be readily employable at Kondex’s manufacturing facility. The improvement process will primarily look at varying alloy additions in steels and induction hardening as this heat treatment is most commonly employed in the industry. The materials to be examined are 1080, 5140, 8660, 10B38 steels along with A-2 tool steel.

2nd Place Undergraduate Expo 2013

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Microstructural Contribution to Thermal-Mechanical Fatigue Properties of Gray Iron Brake Rotors

Team Members

Matt Smith, Thaddeus Waterman, Collin Tether, Alex McQuarter, and Melissa Wright, Materials Science and Engineering

Advisor

Paul Sanders

Sponsor

Meritor

Project Overview

Meritor is a global leader in drivetrain, mobility, braking, and aftermarket systems for commercial and industrial vehicles. Currently, the test conducted by Meritor to evaluate the thermalmechanical fatigue properties of brake rotors is a dynamometer performance test. Due to the destructive nature of the testing procedure, not all brake rotors can be tested. As a result, Meritor has asked us to develop a nondestructive method to predict the thermal-mechanical fatigue properties of their gray iron brake rotors. The nondestructive method of ultrasonic testing will be the primary testing method.

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Stainless steel-bonded titanium carbide

Team Members

Max Rebottaro and Michael Buhr, Mechanical Engineering; Carolyn Lahti and Andrew Miko, Material Science and Engineering

Advisor

Paul Sanders, Materials Science and Engineering

Sponsor

Kennametal

Project Overview

Our team has developed stainless-steel-bonded titanium carbide as an alternative material for cobalt-bonded tungsten carbide. The need has arisen due to escalating prices for tungsten carbide. This alternative material will be developed using powder metallurgy processing as well as hot isostatic pressing (HIP).

Honorable Mention Undergraduate Expo 2013

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Blast Specialty Tapping Bit

Team Members

Mike Doll, Mechanical Engineering Technology; Ben Holtz, Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering; Greg Holl, Materials Science Engineering; and Evan Yuhala, Chemical Engineering

Advisor

Paul Sanders, Materials Science and Engineering

Sponsor

ArcelorMittal

Project Overview

Blast furnace tapping at ArcelorMittal’s steel plant requires a specialty bit. These bits experience wear due to intense heat and pressure as they bore through tap holes filled with refractory clay. As a consequence of this operation, bits can break before the hot metal is reached. Previously, an Advanced Metalworks Enterprise team constructed a test rig employing a pneumatic rock drill. This year, the test method will be developed and a range of test conditions will be evaluated. Based on these findings and materials knowledge, the team will design and fabricate a bit for tapping ArcelorMittal’s blast furnaces.

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