April 25, 2018

Purdue senior-design students to display 60 inventions

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University students completing a mechanical engineering senior design course will demonstrate 60 inventions, from a hybrid rocket engine and hyperloop suspension system to a redesigned airline beverage cart.

The students will display their works during the School of Mechanical Engineering’s Thomas J. and Sandra H. Malott Innovation Awards competition on Friday (April 27). The projects will be on display from 1-3 p.m. in the Gatewood Wing of the Mechanical Engineering Building. An awards ceremony will be in the same location.

Todd Nelson, assistant director of senior design in the School of Mechanical Engineering, said it is fascinating to watch the students go from defining a problem to developing a working prototype of their project in 15 weeks.

“Many of the projects stem from problems identified by the students, others from real problems facing industry and others from specific research challenges,” he said. “Each semester the projects are completely new and different thereby forcing the students to apply their engineering knowledge to develop a first of its kind, unique design.”

Creations this year include:

*An all-terrain medical table that can be used by the military and during disaster relief efforts.

*Two different desalination devices, one powered by solar energy, making it viable in emergency situations, and the other powered by a wind turbine.

*A flower pot stand with illumination and moisture control that can take care of plants for people.

*A small energy harvesting device intended to extend the battery life and mission length of current CubeSats.

*An automated ball return mechanism placed in a golf hole on a putting green to improve time efficiency for putting practice.

*A device operating like a crane to remove debris from natural disaster scenes more efficiently than current practices.

Thomas J. Malott retired as president, CEO and director of Siemens Energy and Automation in 2000. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue in 1962 and an honorary doctorate in 2002. He also holds a master’s in business administration from Western Michigan University.

His career included executive positions with Parker-Hannifin and the Ransburg Corp. Malott served on the board of directors for Siemens Energy and Automation, Siemens Mexico, Siemens Canada, Siemens Power Transmission and Distribution, Siemens Foundation and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association. He also served on the advisory board of Lutron Electronics.  He was an inaugural member of the Purdue Foundation Development Council and was awarded the Outstanding Mechanical Engineer and Distinguished Engineering Alumnus awards in 1991 from the university. 

Writer: Brian L. Huchel, 765-494-2084, bhuchel@purdue.edu 

Source: Todd Nelson, 765-496-0040, tnelson1@purdue.edu

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