Ten undergraduate students from around the country were selected to participate in Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU), a prestigious 10-week summer program at Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE). Projects focused on a wide range of micro-manufacturing and additive manufacturing applications at MSOE’s Centers for Excellence and meshed the fields of biology, chemistry, and medicine with mechanical, manufacturing, biomedical, electrical, computer and architectural engineering disciplines.

REU is an innovative, interdisciplinary program funded by the National Science Foundation, MSOE’s Rapid Prototyping Center, MSOE’s Fluid Power InstituteTM and the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CCEFP) to give undergraduates hands-on experience in research. This is the 18th year REU has been offered at MSOE, and 163 students have participated in the program.

Hands-on access to solid freeform fabrication devices and fluid power laboratories, close partnerships with advisors, industry mentors and other educational institutions, paired with a creative learning environment provided students with a high probability of success in research focused on solving industrial problems through advanced manufacturing technology.

Students conducted research, took field trips to visit professionals and problem solved with advisors, teammates and other resources. They participated in poster sessions, group discussions, research documentation, learned new software, made presentations, built models, designed and completed experiments and wrote research papers.


  • Jennifer Bateman, Mississippi State University, biomedical engineering major from Slidell, La.

Project: Manufacture of a Prototype for Functionality Studies of Cerebrospinal Fluid
Hydrocephalus is caused by abnormal fluid flow through the ventricles of the brain. This can be the result of an obstruction in the ventricles and an inability to reabsorb cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Ventricles in the brain swell as a result of accumulation of CSF. The aim of this research is to simulate the pulsation of CSF through the ventricles.  A model was created to include the brain and the CSF in the ventricles and subarachnoid space (SAS). The completed model will be tested under MRI. Advisor: Dr. Subha Kumpaty, professor, mechanical engineering

  • Brittany Callan, Milwaukee School of Engineering, biomedical engineering major from Menomonee Falls, Wis.

Project: Creation of Additive Manufacturing Models of Intracranial Aneurysms
Intracranial aneurysm is a condition in which weakening of the blood vessel wall in the brain, along with the pressure of blood flow, results in a protrusion from the vessel wall that becomes filled with blood, often resulting in a rupture. This research focuses on creating patient-specific 3D models of the inner lumen of aneurysms with their connected significant vasculature using additive manufacturing. These models will be used for the education of patients to increase compliance for surgical procedures. Advisor: Dr. Jeff LaMack ’97, associate professor, biomedical engineering

  • Justin Clough, Milwaukee School of Engineering, mechanical engineering major from Burlington, Wis.

Project: Mold Sub-Microliter Test Tubes in Hydrogels for 3-D Micro-tissue Growth Using Additive Manufacturing
This research is focused on the creation of reusable molds made of DuraForm PA on a Selective Laser Sintering machine to create micron sized, test tube-like indentations in hydrogel. The sub-microliter test tubes in the hydrogels are designed to be used to culture 3D mammalian cells into micro tissues. Advisor: Dr. Vipin Paliwal, associate professor, physics and chemistry

  • Sophia Dolan, Columbia University, mechanical engineering major from Newton, Mass.

Project: Static Electricity Generation in Lubricant Filtration Systems
This study presents an investigation of electrostatic charge generation in return-line and tank-mounted hydraulic filters.  A variety of filter bowls, end caps, drop tubes and media were evaluated in a hydraulic circuit with a pure vegetable-oil based hydraulic fluid.  By comparing the relative flow rates, differential pressures, and filter element surface areas, the critical conditions for triboelectric charge generation were determined.  These finding are significant in the development of filtration systems that reduce this charge generation. Advisor: Paul Michael, research chemist, Fluid Power Institute

  • Kyle Joerres, St. Norbert College, physics and mathematics major from New Berlin, Wis.

Project: Characterization of Cold Atmospheric Plasma
Cold atmospheric plasma contains reactive species that vary depending on the source gas used. Emission spectra of the plasma at various locations of generation were analyzed with SciLDA spectroscopy software in order to characterize the presence of these reactive species. The parameter of gas flow was also modeled with the multi-physics simulator COMSOL with a 3D model of the apparatus to analyze the expected system behavior compared to physical observation. Advisor: Dr. Faisal Shaik, assistant professor, physics and chemistry

  • Kevin Lee, Milwaukee School of Engineering, mechanical engineering major from Hoffman Estates, Ill.

Project: The Modeling and Simulation of a Quadruped Robot
Legged robots are superior to wheeled and tracked robots in traversing unpredictable terrains. They are also capable of complex dynamic movements.   With the use of forward and inverse kinematics, simple movements and gait patterns were simulated using MATLAB and SolidWorks.  The animations were used to visualize and calculate movement workspaces of each leg.  Static and dynamic analysis of the robot were conducted to determine the forces and torques necessary to hold its weight and for walking. Advisor: Dr. Luis Rodriguez, assistant professor, mechanical engineering

  • Donald Kuettel, UW-Madison, mechanics and astronautics major from Hortonville, Wis.

Project: Gas-Power-Cycle and Pulley Optimization for a Walking-Engine-Actuated Active Ankle-Foot Orthosis
The main goal of this research is to help people with disabilities regain natural walking ability by replicating the normal walking gait of a human through the use of an active ankle-foot orthotic (AAFO).  A pressure-volume diagram of the AAFO’s internal-combustion (IC) engine was calculated using a dual-combustion (limited-pressure) gas-power-cycle model. Using the power output of the IC engine, the pulley system was optimized to best match the ankle moment of a healthy human gait. The results of this research will provide insight for the future development of un-tethered, compact, lightweight, efficient, long-lasting, and safe AAFO devices. Advisor: Doug Cook, research engineer, Rapid Prototyping Center

  • Jerusha Kumpati, University of Arkansas-Fayetteville, biomedical engineering major from Marion, Ark.

Project: Three-Dimensional Cell Culture of Hepatocytes Using Gel Molds
The micro-structure of the liver is composed of hepatocytes that form small spherical micro-tissues, also called spheroids, and this structure is detrimental to the metabolic and detoxification functions of the liver.  This project proposes that under appropriate conditions hepatocytes self-assemble into 3D micro-tissues, where cells attach to each other and proliferate as a small mass under certain conditions.  To provide the conditions for the hepatocyte cell culture a hydrophilic sub-microliter reservoir was created to house the cells.  These reservoirs were molded with various hydrogels, such as agarose gels and polyacrylamide gels. Advisor: Dr. Vipin Paliwal, associate professor, physics and chemistry

  • Kalen Spinks, North Carolina A&T State University, mechanical engineering major from McLeansville, N.C.

Project: Material Characterization of Laser Beam Formed Ti-6AI-4V for Aircraft Applications
Ti-6Al-4V is a grade 5 titanium alloy commonly used in aerospace applications for its admirable properties.  In this study, the properties of laser beam formed Ti-6Al-4V were tested such as hardness and microstructure versus non-laser affected samples with varying laser power.  The conclusion of this study will help determine if laser beam forming is a viable manufacturing process in aircraft design. Advisor: Dr. Subha Kumpaty, professor, mechanical engineering

  • Tess Torregrosa, Tufts University, chemical engineering major from Putnam Valley, N.Y.

Project: Fabrication of a Nursing Manikin Overlay for Simulation of Chest Drainage Management
The purpose of this research is to create an overlay for the SimMan® manikin to simulate a pneumothorax, pleural effusion or excess blood in the thorax for nurses to learn and practice responsibilities during chest drainage.  Beginning with a computer scan, a mold of the overlay was shaped using Geomagic Freeform. This mold was customized to accommodate all necessary components and ports of the simulator. The mold was printed in the Rapid Prototyping Center and injected with material to make the housing for the simulator. Advisor: Dr. Jeffrey LaMack ’97, associate professor, biomedical engineering

MSOE is an independent, non-profit university with about 2,600 students that was founded in 1903. MSOE offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering, business, mathematics and nursing. The university has a national academic reputation; longstanding ties to business and industry; dedicated professors with real-world experience; a 96% placement rate; and the highest ROI and average starting and mid-career salaries of any Wisconsin university according to PayScale Inc. MSOE graduates are well-rounded, technologically experienced and highly productive professionals and leaders.