Nine 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. The students’ focused on a wide range of micro-manufacturing and additive manufacturing applications in MSOE’s Applied Technology CenterTM and advanced state-of-the-art applications in the aerospace, architectural, biomedical, biomolecular, composite, electro-optical, fluid power and manufacturing industries.

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 19th year REU has been offered at MSOE, and 173 students have participated in the program. New this year, two participants spent six weeks conducting research in advanced manufacturing at the National Laser Center at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa. 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, visited 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.


Dominick Davenport, UW-Whitewater, chemistry major from Cambridge, Wis.
Project: Creation of Neurosurgical Training Systems for Cerebral Aneurysm Repair
The goal of this project is to develop a training device for surgeons to practice procedures that are used to treat aneurysms. Previous work was expanded on to create a hollow, 3D training device. A model of an aneurysm was created using additive manufacturing. This model was cast in silicone and then dissolved out, leaving a hollow, silicone “negative” of the model. Tubing and appropriate fittings were then added to the inlets and outlets of the model, through which fluids could be pumped to simulate blood flow. This type of model will aid in the education of junior surgeons and help to minimize the risk of surgical intervention related to aneurysm treatment.
Advisor: Dr. Jeff LaMack ’97, associate professor, biomedical engineering

Ezra Fritz, Lipscomb University, mechanical engineering major from Kingston Springs, Tenn.
Project: Design and Development of a Low-Cost, Light-Weight, Wheelchair-Mounted Hydraulic Manipulator
This research presents an alternative low-cost design option to the current wheelchair-mountable robotic arms available for paralyzed patients. In order to analyze the structural integrity of the robotic arm, free body diagrams were created and a kinematic analysis of the motion of the robot was performed. SolidWorks and MATLAB complemented the design analysis process, allowing simulations to view the motion of each link and characterize their dynamics. The results of this research and the hydraulic manipulator created will provide limitless help to those bound to wheelchairs by their paralysis, providing them with a better and more normal life.
Advisor: Dr. Luis Rodriguez, assistant professor, mechanical engineering

Briana Geary, University of Southern California-Los Angeles, mechanical engineering major from Yorba Linda, Calif.
Project: Analysis of the Presence of Contaminants in Biodiesel Fuel
This research investigates the presence of water and particulates in various blends of biodiesel and how the presence of such contaminants affects fuel quality. Infrared spectroscopy was used to determine if biodiesel was present in the fuel samples. Moisture was tested using HYDAC Aqua Sensor 2000. The water content in ppm was measured using Computrac Vapor Pro Fx. Particulates were determined through the use of the Laser Net Particle Counter. This work is useful to address concerns related to filter plugging.
Advisor: Paul Michael, research chemist, Fluid Power InstituteTM

Gabe Jacobs, University of Minnesota Twin Cities, biomedical engineering major from Mequon, Wis.
Project: Development of a Robotic Walker for the Elderly with Active Fall Prevention Technology
This research concerns the use of technology to improve walking assistance technologies for the elderly. Using a decision matrix, selection of a design was made that met the following criteria: 1) refrain from disturbing natural gait, 2) include a seat for rest, 3) implement a drive system, 4) be portable, and 5) contain an active fall prevention system. A solid model of the final design was created in SolidWorks and imported into MATLAB to perform a kinematic analysis and to determine the stability of the device. The results of this research will provide a unique, portable and low-cost walker to help decrease the prevalence of falls in the elderly population.
Advisor: Dr. Luis Rodriguez, assistant professor, mechanical engineering

Alyssa Loepfe, Milwaukee School of Engineering, biomedical engineering major from Brookfield, Wis.
Project: Exploration of Additive Manufacturing-Informed Aneurysm Repairs to Optimize Blood Flow Patterns
This research focuses on using computational fluid dynamics (FLUENT software) to analyze blood flow patterns before and after proposed surgical modifications for an aneurysm model. Flow simulations were performed to characterize the blood flow patterns for the baseline case. Surgical modifications were suggested and implemented into the new geometry. CFD analysis was then repeated to determine the benefits of the modification on blood flow patterns. The final aneurysm model with a proposed surgical modification that improved blood flow will be printed using additive manufacturing for patient education and surgical treatment planning.
Advisor: Dr. Jeff LaMack ’97, associate professor, biomedical engineering

Robert Mueller, Milwaukee School of Engineering, mechanical engineering major from Arlington Heights, Ill.
Project: Investigation of Laser Metal Deposition of Ti-6Al-4V + Mo for Wear Resistance and Aerospace Applications
This research evaluates the wear and temperature resistance characteristics of the Ti-6Al-4V + Molybdenum reinforced titanium alloy, as well as the characterization of its microstructure and identification of its predominant phases. With the combination of ten weight percent Molybdenum and the Ti-6Al-4V alloy, it will be a more desirable, reinforced titanium alloy for elevated temperature and increased wear applications. The laser deposition samples were created at varying laser powers (1000-2200 W). The hardness, microstructure and tribology were evaluated using a Vickers hardness test and an optical electron microscope.
Advisors: (Dr. Subha Kumpaty, professor, mechanical engineering, MSOE; Dr. Esther Akinlabi, University of Johannesburg; Dr. Sisa Pityana, University of Johannesburg

Chris Reynolds, Milwaukee School of Engineering, mechanical engineering major from Milwaukee
Project: Characterization of the Reinforced Alloy via Laser Deposition of Ti-64 + Mo Powders for Biomedical Applications
This research focused on the application of adding 5% Molybdenum (Mo) to a Ti-64 substrate surface in order to improve its durability. Deposition of the powders was completed at the CSIR – National Laser Center, in Pretoria, South Africa, utilizing various scan speeds. In this study, the properties such as micro hardness were determined and the microstructures were characterized. A corrosion study utilizing Simulated Bodily Fluid was also conducted to determine the biocompatibility of the material for biomedical applications.
Advisors: (Dr. Subha Kumpaty, professor, mechanical engineering, MSOE; Dr. Esther Akinlabi, University of Johannesburg; Dr. Sisa Pityana, University of Johannesburg

Rebecca Statum, University of Southern Mississippi, polymer science major from Brandon, Miss.
Project: Experimental Determination of Uniform Temperature in the Selective Laser Sintering Part Bed
It is critical that the part bed temperature remain uniform in the selective laser sintering machine, so that warping and shrinking of the part leading to defects does not occur. A user-friendly testing method was developed to ascertain whether or not the part bed is at a uniform temperature so heating adjustments can be made accordingly. The optimum heater setting for various zones was established using a structure of a thermocouple-embedded, 0.25-in thick, 12-in by 12-in polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) sheet.
Advisors: Dr. Subha Kumpaty, professor, mechanical engineering, and Jordan Weston ’10, ’15, project engineer, Rapid Prototyping Center

Sarah Swanson, Montana State University, mechanical engineering major from Bozeman, Mont. (Doug Cook)
Project: Combustion-Cylinder Optimization for an Active Ankle-Foot Orthosis
Working from a previously-synthesized design concept, this research focused on the optimization of a spark-ignition, internal-combustion actuator, intended to provide direct actuation for ankle plantarflexion in an active ankle-foot orthosis. Furthermore, the differences between both, a walking and running gait cycle, and an ideal and real gas-power cycle, were considered. Optimization of the cylinder design was focused on meeting pressure and force loading requirements, through the gas-power cycle. The end result was a combustion-cylinder design optimized for the projected loading during the power cycle required to provide full gait assistance.
Advisor: Doug Cook, research engineering, Rapid Prototyping Center