- Cryptocurrency: Proof of Purchase by Adam Johnson, Robert Breckenridge, and Kara Lucord [View Image]
Adam Johnson, Robert Breckenridge, and Kara Lucord
The original purpose of this project was to research the capabilities of a relatively new cryptocurrency platform known as Ethereum. Extensive research brought to light Ethereum’s wide range of developmental capabilities and shifted our focus to the consideration of how the features that Ethereum offers can be used to improve some of the flaws within the world of cryptocurrency. Some cryptocurrency users find these systems useful, because it gives them a means of anonymity. This makes it pretty easy to launder money, make illegal purchases, and double spend. Our solution solves all of these issues, by tying a digital currency transaction to a specific purchase in a secure, untouchable, immutable means due to the blockchain’s proof of work. This solution was implemented through use of both blockchain technologies and a programmable “contract.” This contract adds additional data to cryptocurrency transactions. Our contract creates fields and storage that users can use to input dates, product numbers, product names, and notes that are directly associated with their transaction. Once these fields along with a transaction are deployed onto the blockchain, the information can be accessed using the definition or signature of the contract and the address on the block chain to which it is located. This adds the ability to claim warranty, check inventory, catch double spending instances, prevent black market spends, and help many other scenarios because there exists a publicly available proof of the purchase.
- Sensing Movement in Endotracheal Tubes by Mary Anisa Kannan, Krista Powell, Navami Ravindra, and Tiffany Wong [View Image]
Mary Anisa Kannan, Krista Powell, Navami Ravindra, and Tiffany Wong
The objective of this project was to develop a device that would better secure endotracheal tubes (ETT), measure unwanted displacement, and notify caretakers when a dangerous amount of displacement has occurred. The project deliverables were as follows: a detailed design, a prototype, and a final demonstration of the prototype which shows successful ability to carry out the objectives stated above. The device needs to be small in size, expensive, flexible to allow for regular cleaning, yet strong enough to withstand stress. The final design consists of a small bite block holder and head straps to secure the device. The device also contains a sensor that detects voltage changes, which correlates to displacement, and sets off an auditory alarm when the ETT moves out of a pre-determined safety range. The prototype developed includes these attributes and provides an auditory and visual alarm in the event of unwanted ETT displacement. It is made of a flexible, durable, and non-toxic polyurethane material. Testing in the simulation laboratory revealed that the device was able to measure displacement accurately within a range of 2 mm and able to output an alarm when the ETT was moved out of the pre-determined safety range of 20 mm. In conclusion, the final prototype meets the objectives that were meant to be addressed in this project. Future plans include creating a wireless solution to increase portability, adding an exterior antimicrobial coating to decrease bacteria accumulation, and incorporating wall port electrical safety measures to ensure patient safety.
- Hazardous Waste Reduction: Hexamethyldisiloxane by William Keesee, Reuben Gol, and Kennet Castillo [View Image]
William Keesee, Reuben Gol, and Kennet Castillo
Waste Reduction: (1) Engineering problem - The manufacturing of a Silicone intermediate creates a flammable waste stream that must be disposed of at cost to QSI (0.48$/lb.). This stream contains two phases, which are mainly hexamethydisiloxane (HMDS) and aqueous ammonium hydroxide in roughly 50/50 ratio by volume. The HMDS phase (upper) is flammable and is thus hazardous. The clean aqueous phase (lower) can be discarded via the sewer at no cost if the flash point is above hazardous classification (60 °C). (2) Project deliverables - The Engineering solution must reduce the yearly volume of waste to under 13 tons/year and separate the mixture into two phases cleanly. Design and prototype a separation tank system that will allow the operator to safely decant the HMDS and dispose of the non-hazardous phase safely into the sewer. (3) Constraints - The system must prevent the operator from draining the flammable waste into the sewer before passing hazardous waste criteria while remaining intrinsically safe. The cost of the system must have a payback period of less than 5 years. (4) Approach - Develop analytical method to determine concentration and test initial flash point. Test salting concentrations then determine HMDS concentration change, add activated carbon in differing concentrations to determine absorption coefficient. (5) Results – 30 minute timed rough separation decanting top layer, adding 30% by mass salt pushing out more HMDS, passing the resulting mixture through a packed column of activated carbon. (6) Issues – Activated carbon has different absorption characteristics, finding the best carbon absorption characteristics while retaining low cost. Batch vs. Continuous carbon absorption, instrumentation to allow safe operating of system. (7) Impact – Packed Column allows the most absorption of HMDS but increases cost while keeping safety very high. If QSI decides to proceed with this Capital Project then they can reduce waste costs by $10,500/year.
- UAV Wireless Relay by Paul Kirchoff, Lawrence Ng, and David Vieth [View Image]
Paul Kirchoff, Lawrence Ng, and David Vieth
Often a scenario arises in which it is necessary to collection information from a hostile environment and the safest way to do this is the deployment of a small unmanned ground vehicle (UGV). In this situation the UGV will move around the environment while sending a live data stream back to the ground base. However, there can be limits on the maneuverability and range of the UGV making it difficult to complete this mission. To solve this problem unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) are used to assist in both the deployment of the UGV as well as handling the connection between the UGV and a ground base. Specifically, the UAV’s will intercept the data stream from the UGV and relay it to the ground base using a linear mesh network allowing for the UGV to move farther from the ground base.
Due to constraints on availability and usage of drones this project is being completed in simulation with the RAMS Simulator, a drone flight simulator modified to use an external mission control system (MCS). The focus of this project is to design a MCS that can be combined with a UAV that will make it complete this mission.
The UAV will increase the efficiency of the deployment and usage of the UGV in hazardous environments. Collection of data in these situations will be easier and less dangerous for those involved.
- Tatami: A Productive Work-Based Social Media by Jacob Kreiner, Jacob Holcombe, and Minh Nguyen [View Image]
Jacob Kreiner, Jacob Holcombe, and Minh Nguyen
Tatami is a collaborative social media app created by Ippon Technologies that focuses on workflow and communication in an industry setting. Ippon wanted a product that allows members of a company to maximize productivity, and have a communal message board that shows what is going on in the company currently. Functionality of this product would allow a user to create an account, set up and edit their profile and be able to post messages to a workplace timeline. For a more specific and personal timeline we need users to be able to create and subscribe to groups and trends corresponding to particular topics within the company. Most of this functionality existed in an older version of Tatami and the main part of our effort was getting these components to work in the new JHipster environment. Our restructuring of Tatami was more difficult than we thought as many of the components had to be edited for the new environment. These components had to utilize technologies employed by Ippon, namely Cassandra for the database along with HTML and Angular JS for the web interface. We used an agile approach to developing the product by mapping out everything we would need and working on them incrementally in sprints. We are in the final stages of development but by the end, we will have successfully integrated the old product into a new version of Tatami that will be deployable to both mobile and desktop clients.
Tatami will be an easy to use tool that can be adapted to any company and serves as a platform for that company to communicate internally. Registering under a specific domain, companies will have control of who will see and access their Tatami data. Whether the company chooses to host their network on Ippon’s server or locally on their own company’s server, Tatami offers an easier communication infrastructure than traditional email services.
- Design and Optimization of a Molten Metal Loop Driven by an Electromagnetic Pump by Eric Mallon, Miguel Bustamante Perez, and Joseph Keegan [View Image]
Eric Mallon, Miguel Bustamante Perez, and Joseph Keegan
Liquid Metal Fast Reactor (LMFR) utilizing liquid metal as a coolant is still being considered for future nuclear energy. In this concept, transporting liquid metal still poses many challenges in engineering design and material detection and accountability. In this senior design project, the team has been exploring a design and optimization of a molten metal loop driven by an electromagnetic pump. Here, a manometer type solution was deemed the best method to achieve meaningful results. Transparent Pyrex tubing was selected for the manometers, as the visual column difference would indicate pressure differences. Tin was selected for the working fluid, and an array of solutions were considered for the metering fluid. Mercury, bismuth, and lead were all considered, but ruled out for technical and safety reasons. It was determined that argon gas would work best as it is non-reactive at a high operating temperature and relatively safe. A pressurizer system was designed and built to combat forced cavitation in the loop due to argon. The loop was built with the ability to see the differential pressure as determined through a difference in tin column heights. If this is achieved, then the possible incorporation of a laser induced breakdown spectroscopy system will be incorporated to analyze the different compositions (contaminations) of the molten metal in the loop completing material safeguarding concept. A new port will be added to the loop for implementation of the quartz window in anticipation of future use of the system.
- IV Pole for Cardiac Surgery by Sindhu Marampudi, Natalie Noll, Madison Nowak, and Rachel Wilbur [View Image]
Sindhu Marampudi, Natalie Noll, Madison Nowak, and Rachel Wilbur
IV lines and pumps need to be transported from the operating room to patient recovery with the patient after cardiac procedures. During this process, the weight of the IV pumps and the small wheels on the IV pole can cause the IV pole to become unbalanced and fall or bend due to the load. Due to a decrease in slack in IV lines to minimize IV line tangling, when an IV pole falls, this can result in the IV lines being torn out of the patient that can lead to blood loss and other injuries. In addition, IV bags and tubes all look similar. This can cause health care professionals to give the wrong medications to patients, which can be life-threatening.
The goal of our design was to create an inexpensive, lightweight pole that could be sterilized on-site in the operating room yet still be durable enough to support 50 pounds of excess weight caused by the IV pumps. The IV pole would be standalone in the operating table, but transportable by being attached to the recovery bed. An easily identifiable standardized organization system would be created to label the pumps and the corresponding IV lines to accommodate colorblind health professionals.
On recovery beds used in cardiac surgery, there are two holes located on the bed past the head of the patient where a vertical upright pole can be placed. Our design has our IV pole attaching to this pole through a toggle catch case clips, allowing the pole to remain attached to the bed during transport of the patient. The location of the IV pumps have been moved lower and larger lockable wheels were added to a new square base design in order to shift the weight on the pole down so that it is more sturdy. The base of the IV pole is elevated in order to stop the wheels from getting stuck under the OR and recovery beds. A colored plastic casing for each pump will correspond to a cord organizer will be used throughout the IV lines. A whiteboard tape section has been added to the pumps to allow doctors the ability to label each pump and correspond color the type of drug that is running through it.
- Catheter Attachment Device for Prevention of Urinary Tract Infection by Ashleigh McCormick, Brittany Allen, Karolina Stumbraite, and Kevin Ball [View Image]
Ashleigh McCormick, Brittany Allen, Karolina Stumbraite, and Kevin Ball
Hospital-acquired infections are costly occurrences that cause patients physical discomfort, have dangerous immune consequences, and cost healthcare providers hundreds of millions of dollars every year in liability fees and negligence charges. Catheter associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI) are the most common class of hospital-acquired infection, affecting over half a million patients in U.S. hospitals alone every year.The CAUTI-Guard team has designed a silver-coated polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) plug device that helps prevent CAUTI through its action as a physical and chemical block. The device slides along standard urinary catheters and helps block the migration of infectious material into the urethra and subsequently the bladder. Currently, adequate solutions exist to reduce the risk of CAUTI in male patients, but no suitable technologies exist for female patients. CAUTIGuard is specifically designed to prevent CAUTI in female patients by blocking the entry of infectious material into the urinary tract at the macro- and micro-scale. Both a 3D printed hard prototype, PDMS soft prototype, and a PDMS silver coated soft prototype have been produced for testing purposes. Proof-of-concept testing has demonstrated our design’s efficacy in blocking the macro-scale entry of infectious material. Bacterial assays and quantification of antimicrobial properties are ongoing to demonstrate efficacy at the micro-scale.
- Nanoparticles as Lubricant Additives by Jacob Miller, Rayyan Alsinan, Zainab Suwaiket, and Samuel Wojcicki [View Image]
Jacob Miller, Rayyan Alsinan, Zainab Suwaiket, and Samuel Wojcicki
Nanoparticles have generated interest in the oil industry as potential additives. Many nanoparticles have been shown to improve fuel economy and engine efficiency. However, there are an infinite number of nanoparticle formulations, and to test all these would be impossible. The objective of this project was to develop a predictive model which demonstrates the impact of factors such as size, concentration, and hardness on the performance of nanoparticles as oil additives.
The concentrations tested were 0.01% and 0.5% by mass in PAO4 base oil. The sizes tested were 5-15nm and 20-50nm. Using four compositions to approximate hardness, a 4 x 2 x 2 DOE matrix generated a predictive model of nanoparticle performance. Nanoparticles can reduce friction and physical wear, in turn improving fuel economy. A high-frequency reciprocating rig (HFRR) was used to obtain friction coefficients and wear scar area, and a mini-traction machine with space layer imaging method (MTMSLIM) was used to observe tribofilm growth.
Large, concentrated, and hard nanoparticles demonstrated the best performance as friction modifiers and wear reducers. The hardest, zinc oxide, showed the greatest friction reduction at 74% below base oil and also exhibited 79% reduction of wear scar area below base oil as compared to, respectively, 62% and 35% for the current industry standard. This project examines a limited set of concentrations and compositions, including alloys, and studies of these trends could better indicate mechanisms. Future study of zinc oxide and elements of comparable hardness are recommended and could provide a class of promising nanoparticle additives.
- Application Intrusion Detection: Security for Cloud Deployments by Justin Murphy, Nick Harrison, and John Taylor [View Image]
Justin Murphy, Nick Harrison, and John Taylor
As servers move to the cloud, sources for security analysis become more limited. Security teams must make the most of the resources available to them. Our project attempts to fulfill this need by providing a template-based application to analyze and detect security events in logs that are available in cloud environments. We focus on authentication logs, but analysis modules can be added to flag anomalies in any log.
The deliverables include log analysis, including successive repeated failures, location-based anomalies, and excessive failed login attempts across multiple accounts. To present our findings we output the results to a web interface for further analysis by a security team.
Our project was limited by time, knowledge, available hardware and log sources. Under these constraints we developed a server-based solution that analyzes authentication logs and presents the data in an easily understood format.
An authentication data log for a large organization can contain millions of events. To narrow down the large volume of information into a manageable number of interesting events, we analyzed the data-based on a set of our proposed criteria. The information that results from the analysis is easily read and used for further investigation into possible malicious behavior.
The market impact of a comprehensive security engine capable of analyzing large amounts of seemingly unconnected data and reducing them into only the interesting entries would be significant. It would save security teams time, improve the incident detection efficiency, and help focus efforts and funds where they are needed most.
- Tapered Roller Bearing Accelerated Life Test Rig Design and Fabrication by Laith Naeem, Andrew Nguyen, Bryson Sin, and Ramon Vargas [View Image]
Laith Naeem, Andrew Nguyen, Bryson Sin, and Ramon Vargas
L10 bearing fatigue life testing is a costly and prolonged process, as the bearing is characteristically designed for durability and reliability. Within the current testing methods, faulty materials still have the potential of passing the test. However, with this life test rig, the bearing will be tested to failure, thus providing an indicator for its predicted life span.
The purpose of this project is to optimize and construct a L10 life test rig for accelerated fatigue testing of the Association of American Railroad Class K, 6 ½ x 9-inch double-row tapered roller bearing to their maximum fatigue life as quickly as possible with the use of an axial load.
This Senior Design team has developed and improved upon a proposed design for an accelerated life test rig capable of testing tapered roller bearings to failure. The past design allowed for 4 bearings, but due to time restrictions, financial limitations, and other factors its construction was not feasible. Therefore, the team has designed and revised a test rig for 1 bearing. The current, radially loaded testing method takes 1.57 years to test a bearing to failure, whereas with the axially loaded method will take about 73 days. Additionally, the team will construct the single bearing test rig to verify that axial loading is an effective means of reducing the applied load in addition to reducing the normal test run time while still achieving the same single roller fatigue results across all of the rollers. The development of this test rig will allow Brenco to perform more testing of roller materials in a shorter amount of time, which will result in a higher capacity of research to determine higher quality materials.
- 3D Printed Teeth: Anatomically Correct Primary Replicas by Anh Nguyen and Stefan Harris [View Image]
Anh Nguyen and Stefan Harris
The current method of molding teeth, especially primary teeth, cannot accurately reproduce internal tooth structures. Therefore, there is a need for primary teeth to be made anatomically accurate on-demand with the ability to customize a model for specific patients. This project aims that any tooth extracted digitally from a Dental Cone Beam computed tomography (CBCT) scan of a child's mouth can be 3D printed into an accurate replicate with which dental students can practice. Constraints include viable materials that can be printed by a 3D printer, represent tooth anatomy and provide desirable mechanical properties compatible with the dental drilling operation. A free software (ITK-SNAP) was utilized to translate the CBCT scanned DICOM file into a format usable by a 3D modeling program. The target tooth was separated from its surrounding gingival and bone tissues, and a smoothing algorithm was applied to the tooth profile. The 3D model was then printed on a high resolution inkjet 3D printer (Objet Eden260VS) with UV curable materials. The 3D printed primary teeth successfully reflected the internal tooth structures, e.g. pulp chamber and root canal, which enable dental students to perform tooth preparation similar to that on a real tooth. In addition, the team also designed a mounting thread on the 3D tooth model to assemble on a typodont. This process will have significant impacts on the dental eduaiton. Dental schools can now provide their own tooth models on-demand, much quicker, and anatomically more accurate than current standards for just a fraction of its cost.
- Method of Mold Release from Process Equipment by Craig Paris, Jason Marshall, and Trae Fuller [View Image]
Craig Paris, Jason Marshall, and Trae Fuller
Once a process cycle has been completed, glass condom molds are removed from spindles that connect them to the process equipment. Currently, glass molds are removed by destroying the glass around the spindle, resulting in safety hazards from glass shards, monetary loss due to replacement cost, and also loss of money due to the labor cost associated with time spent cleaning up the glass shards and breaking the molds. To solve the dilemma, the sponsor demanded a safe, cost efficient method or addition that would not harm the process during the cycle nor damage the spindle and glass molds at any moment. Two routes were concocted, chemical (lubricants, rubber grommet specifications) and mechanical (rotational torque puller). After experimentation with both chemical and mechanical options, a purely mechanical option was decided upon once the cost effectiveness and the simplicity of use for the proposed device were noticed. A working prototype was constructed and experimented with success trials in the removal of the glass condom molds from the spindles within given constraints. Currently, the only issues remaining with the project are making sure that the mechanical puller becomes automated, and making sure that it is completed by the Senior Design Expo. This project will impact Church & Dwight Co., Inc. by saving them a minimum of $13,000 per year in labor, and will enable them to increase the safety and efficiency of their manufacturing plant while eliminating most of the replacement cost of the glass molds. Society would greatly benefit from this project due to the increased production of various condoms causing further evolution of condoms and ultimately protected sex.
- Automatic Sorting Machine Using a Programmable Logic Controller by Tim Parker, Justin Webber, and Josh Kirkham [View Image]
Tim Parker, Justin Webber, and Josh Kirkham
This project is designed to demonstrate the uses of programmable logic controllers (PLC’s). The end result of this project will be used to generate interest in VCU’s Industrial Controls classes with prospective students as well as employers. The project involves building a working demonstration showing how PLC’s are used to control manufacturing systems. This system will be mobile and able to be used in different locations including the PLC lab, where students in the Industrial Controls class can also use it to test their knowledge of PLC programming. The system consists of a conveyor belt and sensors that sorts different objects. As the objects travel down the conveyor, the sensor reads data on the object’s shape and color and the PLC controls the placement of the objects on a turntable. This is designed to mimic a manufacturing facility and the PLC’s use in a real world environment. Many components have been donated, and certain pieces built ourselves to cut on costs. The project effectively shows what PLC’s can do and demonstrates what knowledge can be gained through the Industrial Controls classes at VCU.
- Alternative Materials for Dental Restorations by Tyler Poole, Pierce Dunwoody, Adarsha Sapkota, and Mario Rodriguez [View Image]
Tyler Poole, Pierce Dunwoody, Adarsha Sapkota, and Mario Rodriguez
The senior design project ‘Alternative Materials and Methods for Dental Restoration’ has a purpose of addressing the unmet need or engineering problem related to dental restoration by determining the available manufacturing methods and materials as an alternative to ‘Intra-oral digital scanners’. The project deliverables for this project were the tooth crown prototypes with the tolerance within 50 microns. The CAD model for this tooth was tested for its strength, physical properties, and suitability. The prototypes were developed through an additive method, i.e., 3D printing. The constraints for this project were related to budget and printer. Buying a highly qualitative 3D printer wasn’t an option because the fund available was only $500. The approach taken by the team included analysis using ANSYS Workbench and prototyping using additive method or 3D printing. The printer used was ‘M3D Printer’ with a cost of about $350.00. The results of the analysis gave the normal maximum strain and maximum directional deformation of a crown to be 0.0064 m/m and 0.0023 m, respectively. The maximum compressive force a tooth could withstand was about 30,000 lbf or 133.45 kN. The issues that remained were related to prototype’s smoothness and budget deficiency. The impact of this project is that the stress, strain and deformation testing of the tooth crowns let us decide their usefulness in comparison to other materials used for dental restoration. These analyses allow us to understand different behaviors exhibited by the tooth crowns under the applied force.
- GNU Radio Companion (GRC) On Software Defined Radio Platforms by Jacob Ramey, James Begemann, and Richard Hite [View Image]
Jacob Ramey, James Begemann, and Richard Hite
Software defined radio (SDR) is a method to design radio frequency (RF) signal systems using software to implement radio components that are normally implemented in hardware. Several examples of components that can be designed in SDR include RF signal filters, signal amplifiers, and signal resamplers. SDR applications include amateur radio transmission, aircraft and ship tracking, RF communications, and radio astronomy, to name a few. A great advantage of implementing a RF system in software is that the system developed in software is more flexible and upgradeable than a system designed with hardware alone.
QRC Technologies offers a wide range of software defined radio solutions and have provided their Wide-Band Transcorder (WBT) platform for this project. QRC would like for its customers to be able to develop custom applications on the WBT with limited programming and communication expertise. One solution to this challenge is to leverage the free and open source GNU Radio Companion (GRC) software development kit. GRC uses a graphical programming concept that users can easily comprehend and become proficient in. The goal of this project include the creation of several GRC programming blocks that encapsulate WBT SDR functions.
The blocks that were developed that are of interest to our sponsor, QRC, are a GPS Source block that outputs metadata such as Latitude, Longitude, and time; an fast Fourier transform (FFT) Source block that accesses the pre-processed FFT data available on the WBT and provides an output for the data; a Sweeper block which performs many small FFTs and concatenates them to produce a spectrum with lower noise; an FPGA based HA block that performs a FFT on IQ data; and we partially completed a block which takes in IQ data and writes them in an industry standard VRT file that can be read by the WBT.
In addition to implementing the WBT’s functionality in GRC blocks, the team has also investigated the feasibility of increasing the speed of these blocks using a hardware accelerator (HA). Specifically, a HA was developed for a fundamental mathematical signal calculation: the FFT. The FFT HA was developed on a field-programmable gate array (FPGA) which is an integrated circuit that is able to be configured to implement digital logic. The usage of a FPGA allowed the team to exploit the parallel nature of the FPGA and thereby greatly improve the performance of this calculation in a GRC application. Please reference Figure 1 below for the HA data flow.
The team was able to successfully implement four GRC blocks that are now available to be included in customs applications developed for the WBT. A FFT HA was also successfully developed and included in a GRC block. The FFT HA is able to process up to 8192 points in one FFT cycle and has latency of approximately 330 μseconds to process 8192 points.
- People Counting in Open Spaces by Nick Reuter, Taylor Roberts, and Chris Thomas [View Image]
Nick Reuter, Taylor Roberts, and Chris Thomas
The need addressed in this project is to accurately keep track of individuals in Richmond parks, and provide real-time actionable data for analysis and response. To do this, Satellite systems take pictures, perform object detection and send data to the Central Controller. Central Controller performs accuracy analysis and records end result. It also sends client commands to the satellite systems. Remote client gathers data from the central controller, and allows the user to change satellite system’s operation modes.
There were several constraints associated with the project 1) Supplied Power 2) Privacy protection 3) Number of satellite units (cost) 4) People Density 5) Daytime operation limit
This system should accurately measure the use of Byrd park tennis courts. Provide a simple and easy to use interface in which will allow Enrichmond to maintain and adjust the system. There were issues faced with the project including distance limitations of the cameras and people density. Also, creating a wireless system in which no external power outlet is utilized by satellite Cameras. This created problems in power balancing between the solar panel and the power needed by the battery. The impact this project has is listed below. 1) Save money by mitigating the need for personnel or turn-style counting systems. 2) help make budget evaluations & allocations easier and more thoughtful with the use of data collected. Keywords:
- Champions’ Summer Defense: Manufacturing all-natural equine spray by Brooke Riggs, Peter Rinaldi, and Zach Taylor [View Image]
Brooke Riggs, Peter Rinaldi, and Zach Taylor
Research was conducted in 2014 and 2015 for the development of Champions’ Summer Defense, an all-natural product to protect horses from irritating and potentially harmful summer elements. This formulation provides sunscreen to protect the horses from sunburn and reduces coat bleaching. In addition, this spray acts as a conditioner and leaves the horse’s coat shiny by fighting dry skin and moisturizing the coat. Champions’ Summer Defense’s unique formulation is naturally antimicrobial, eliminating the need for a preservative and allows the product to be 100% natural. The antimicrobial property will also help prevent skin irritations from insects and will keep the coat clean from bacteria and fungus growth.
- Formula Hybrid at VCU: Epicyclic Power Distribution System by Brandon Rivera, Dmitriy Kirzhner, Maxwell O’Neill, and Ryan Witko [View Image]
Brandon Rivera, Dmitriy Kirzhner, Maxwell O’Neill, and Ryan Witko
In today’s automotive industry, the need for more performance and power efficiency is ever increasing. However, with the growing concern of greenhouse gases and their impact on the environment, petrol burning cars need to be improved. Hybrid powertrains in automotive vehicles are being designed to increase fuel economy, reduce emissions, and improve engine efficiency through gearing all the while being competitive.
Our senior design team has developed an epicyclic power distribution (EPD) system which combines two independent power inputs from an electric motor and an internal combustion engine (ICE). This system has been designed specifically for the Formula Hybrid race car at VCU, with an added emphasis on performance. Our working prototype is comprised of a variety of materials to cut down the cost.
The EPD system is comprised of a classic planetary gear system. This specific type of gear train allows the electric motor and internal combustion engine inputs to run at different speeds, independent of one another. The gearing maximizes and amplifies the torque profiles of both inputs.
Following the completion of our project, a clutch system will have to be designed to allow the EPD system to be engaged and disengaged. Lastly, a new car will need to be built to accommodate this system and the other projects that will branch out from ours. It will sit side by side to our sister FSAE car.
- Welcome to WillowTree: Come take a closer look by Shahim-Abdul Satar, Kent White, and Ayesha Zafar [View Image]
Shahim-Abdul Satar, Kent White, and Ayesha Zafar
The demand for more workers in tech related fields has given students the opportunity of choosing between multiple job offers and students can now be more deliberate about the jobs that they accept. Because of this employers also need to set themselves apart from other companies. Many companies do this is by sending out brochures, PDFs, and other information that may be outdated by the time it goes out. Our solution to this problem was to make an application which would provide relevant data to the user as well as provide insight into the company. The end result is a beautiful, well-made app which allows users to experience Charlottesville through the eyes of WillowTree. Constraints we faced were limited access to photos for use in the applications due to copyright issues as well as keeping consideration of easily maintainable and malleable data. We started with basic information provided to us by WillowTree then worked with them to establish goals and expectations. The end result is a mobile application which can be downloaded through the Apple App Store by anyone new to WillowTree and Charlottesville. Remaining issues are that the app is completely one-sided and does not currently collect data from the user. If this were possible then user data could be passed along to recruiters. Overall, this app will prove to be an invaluable recruiting tool for WillowTree and set WillowTree apart from other employers.
- Will Wade’s Team Camp: An Online Registration Service for Will Wade’s Basketball Team Camp at VCU by William Slattum and Melissa Nierle [View Image]
William Slattum and Melissa Nierle
Virginia Commonwealth University(VCU) has made a name for its self on the national stage of NCAA Men’s Basketball. Success on the court has brought attention to the many programs VCU has to offer. One of these popular programs is Will Wade’s summer basketball camp. Teams come from all over the Atlantic region to attend the daylong team camp. With such wide-spread interest in the camp and about 50 teams signing up to participate annually and growing, how can VCU Athletics best handle and keep all of the information organized? The project deliverable was an online system that both registers teams in an organized way and helps to schedule games for the camp. The project team had to meet all expectations of VCU Athletics, which includes limitations from NCAA compliance. Team members met with the University’s NCAA Compliance Officers to go over each segment of the project to guarantee the finished project did not cross any legal measures set in place by the NCAA. The project team designed and implemented a front-end web site, accessible to the participants, compatible with a backend database, accessible to the camp staff. This approach was successful in fulfilling both project deliverables. A possible issue remaining is the need for an automated scheduling client that uses data from the database to generate camp schedules. The registration system meets the commercial needs of VCU Athletics by giving Will Wade’s Team Camp the professional competitive edge it needs to become among the top elite camps in the country.
- Electric Power Quality Monitoring and Control of the SoE Clean Room by Bart Thompson, Gabriel Knight, and Aubrey Buckner [View Image]
Bart Thompson, Gabriel Knight, and Aubrey Buckner
The senior design team was presented with a challenge of addressing power quality issues in the School of Engineering’s clean room. Discussion with the faculty involved in the operation of the room indicated that some power quality issues such as periodic outages and brownouts posed serious potential damage to computer equipment, and solving these issues would save the university money and lost time. The senior design team used Eagle Power Quality Meters to monitor and record voltage waveforms on multiple 120V AC phases for three months and also collected real-time data of current and consumed power from the room. Based on the collected data, the team did power quality analysis, recognized some single phase contingency conditions, and determined that isolation via a large battery backed UPS inverter would be most ideal. The biggest constraint of the design was cost. UPS inverters designed to carry a high power load such as the clean room, are highly expensive to design and build. This was countered by producing a low cost, demonstration platform that the school can use to justify expenditure to upgrade. A literature research of IEEE papers as well as observations of residential grade inverters is performed to design the circuit, and the microcontroller logic as developed by the team as an ideal, low cost control solution. The team has designed the inverter topology, programmed the logic controller, and designed a load center to test the inverter’s capabilities. However, cleaning of the fundamental frequency can still be addressed. This would require an altered topology to allow additional transistors in each phase’s network, as well as a reprogrammed microprocessor to take advantage of the change in topology. This project will not only rationalize current power quality issues faced by the SoE clean room, but it can also be used in residential applications to drive three phase equipment.
- Hybrid Call Center: AMC Technology LLC by Tejas Trivedi, Joshua Stephens, and Daniel Kim [View Image]
Tejas Trivedi, Joshua Stephens, and Daniel Kim
AMC Technology wanted to add voice over IP (VoIP) functionality to Salesforce.com (Customer Relationship Management system). As it is currently, Salesforce.com does not have voice functionality, in that you cannot place or receive calls using Salesforce. Adding voice functionality to Salesforce is incredibly useful because it eliminates the need for hardware phones and allows for a more modern and efficient approach to calling for companies that have/rely upon call centers, such as customers of AMC Technology whose products connect CTIs (Computer Telephony Interface) and CRMs. We used a voice service called Twilio to provide functionality with Salesforce. AMC Technology wanted to add the ability to click to dial a client’s number associated with an account and have an outgoing call occur. Also, upon calling an agent using Salesforce, the caller’s account information should popup on the page. We were able to add these features by writing code using Twilio API libraries and nesting that code within AMC’s Contact Canvas Agent (CCA). This would allow for the CCA to pull the voice functionality from Twilio, make a connection with Salesforce and implement the voice functionality into Salesforce. We successfully added these features and will demo them at our station. The benefits of this project are that the need for hardware phones is nonexistent with the use of VoIP functionality and users will have an increase in ease of use along with more time saved on each call.
- Smart Medication Disposal: Subcritical Water Oxidation of Pharmaceutical Compounds by Sharon Veeravalli, Charles Fricke, and F. William Ronnau [View Image]
Sharon Veeravalli, Charles Fricke, and F. William Ronnau
Disposal of unused or expired pharmaceuticals is neither safe nor environmentally-friendly. Current regulations for pharmaceutical disposal do not prevent environmental contamination. Industrial methods of disposing of waste medications can generate toxic compounds through incineration, or generate large volumes of waste through use of physical adsorbents. Medium sized providers (pharmacies, small clinics) typically hire expensive hazardous waste removal or dispose of these medications improperly.
The project goal is to deliver a safe, sustainable process, suitable for retail pharmacies and the like, for rendering pharmaceuticals chemically inactive. This project encompasses the development of a degradation process via testing of 5 model pharmaceuticals and the design and prototyping of a device. Conceptualization proved challenging as the target market and regulatory landscape continually evolve.
The process resulted in total degradation of 3 out of the 5 medicinal compounds at a reaction temperature of 150°C and pressure of 5 atm. Moreover, the team was able to develop a process that degraded these medications with subcritical water oxidation, utilizing microwave technology, allowing for greater safety by eliminating the need for a conduction heating unit, while simultaneously allowing for uniform heating throughout the solution. The process only requires tap-water as an input and coolant, which is inexpensive and ubiquitous. The lack of chemical transformation with 2 out of the 5 compounds indicates that further refinement and development are warranted. This machine will give the user the ability to dispose of medications without the worry of unintentional poisonings, illegal distribution, and environmental contamination.
- Improved Device for Passive Foot Dorsiflexion for Prevention of DVT by Stephen Vinoba, Nigal Shah, Shreya Vatsala, and Jawahar Baddula [View Image]
Stephen Vinoba, Nigal Shah, Shreya Vatsala, and Jawahar Baddula
Postoperative patients are often too fatigued to walk around and often lay in bed for extended periods of time. This could lead to the development of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). DVT is a condition where blood accumulates in the veins instead of being pushed back to the heart. This can cause the formation of blood clots that can eventually lead to pulmonary embolism resulting in death. DVT is a condition that affects about 900,000 people in the United States. Since it is such a prevalent condition, it is important to develop methods of prevention for this condition.
The aim of this project is to construct a device that will prevent DVT using dorsiflexion of the foot. Currently, the major solution for this problem in postoperative patients is having the patient move around sooner. However, some patients are unable to do this, so this device will be especially influential for these patients. A current medical solution for this problem is the use of anticoagulants which prevent the formation of blood clots by thinning the blood and allowing for better flow. However, this solution is not always feasible with every patient. Another solution for DVT is the use of massagers that are activated when the muscle does not contract enough. The aim of the massager is to physically get the blood moving back towards the heart.
The aim of this project was to create a device that dorsiflexes the foot thereby creating the muscle contraction required. The functional prototype includes a motor and a pulley system that help in raising a platform to create the dorsiflexion. The device implements the use of a microcontroller and a circuit in order to have automatic movement. The total cost for the prototype was around $400. However, this cost could be significantly reduced. A major cost was the cost of construction by the metal shop, reducing this cost could lower the total cost to about $300 or less. This device can be really beneficial in hospitals and also has applications outside of the hospital in residential settings. There is definitely great commercial potential for this product because it is a better alternative to the current solutions.
The Capstone Design course at the College of Engineering of Virginia Commonwealth University is meant to be the climax of every engineering student’s undergraduate education. As a prerequisite to attaining a Bachelor’s degree, the Capstone Design course presents each student with the challenge of working in a team to tackle actual engineering problems within and across the fields of Chemical and Life Science, Mechanical and Nuclear, Biomedical, Electrical, and Computer Engineering and Science. At the end of the two semester course in April, the student teams present their work to the sponsors, faculty, students, invited guests and the general public at the Capstone Design Expo, held at the Virginia Science Center in Richmond.
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