Engineering Projects

Projects are subject to change without notice.

Title: Thermal Properties of Materials

Characterization of materials is essential for successful material design and engineering of nearly every area of industrial practice. In this project, we will investigate the thermal properties of various materials. In particular, we will focus ourselves in the measurement of thermal conductivity and specific heat capacity of different solid samples at room temperature. Thermal conductivity defines a material’s ability to transfer heat and while specific heat describes its ability to store heat energy. A set of comprehensive apparatus of heat experiments will be used for all measurements. This apparatus is well equipped with a control unit with Proportional Integral Derivative (PID) control system and multiple display units for different parameters such as temperature, pressure, voltage, and current with high-precision timing units.


Title: Three fundamental experiments related to Classical Electrodynamics and Quantum Mechanics

In 1865, Maxwell was the first to theorize that there are electromagnetic waves that travel at the speed of light, therefore light would be considered an electromagnetic wave. In 1887, in a series of brilliant experiments Heinrich Hertz discovered radio waves and established that Maxwell’s theory of electromagnetism is correct. Hertz also discovered that electrons are emitted from matter when they are exposed to photons and the velocities of the electrons depend on the wavelength of the light source and not the intensity.  This is known as the photoelectric effect.  These projected electrons are able to create current, but in order to create this current the voltage of the apparatus must surpass a certain force that is constricting the electron, the work function, as to give the electrons enough energy to jump from the metal. And in order to stop these free electrons from creating a current, a reverse voltage is applied, the stopping potential, which is enough to stop all photoelectrons no matter the light intensity.    

In order to explain the photoemission of electrons as light particles strike metallic bodies disrupting the flow of electrons within the metal Einstein, in 1905, proclaimed the photons contain both wave and particle characteristics. The dual wave-particle nature of light that is now a basic part of the theory of light based on the Planck’s idea that the relationship between the energy of an electron and the frequency of its related electromagnetic wave described through E=nhf or E=nh c/λ.

During the REVS UP 2018, we will focus on experiments that investigate the quantum nature of matter. We plan to study the wave-particle duality of light and investigate the photoelectric effect. We will make quantitative measurements of such fundamental constants as the speed of light, the electron charge using the Millikan oil drop experiment, and Planck's constant h. We will measure Faraday’s Rotation angle of plane polarized light through transparent materials, demonstrating the relationship between light and electromagnetism.


Title: Visual Demonstration of the Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Temperature

Increased atmospheric temperature has been linked to severe weather conditions, drought, rise of water level, floods, and wild fires.  These in turn have significant impact on the quality of human health and life, social well-being of communities, and economy.

Participants in the REVS UP 2018 project will work on a hands-on project to design and build an experimental set up to demonstrate the effect of increased atmospheric temperature on severe weather conditions.  Measurement data will be collected for different runs.


Title: Study of Crude Oil Adhesion Phenomenon Observed in Petroleum Reservoirs

Often, in petroleum reservoirs, liquid hydrocarbon phase (i.e. crude oil), even in the presence of water phase (i.e. reservoir brine), tends to adhere to the walls of pore space. The extent of crude oil adhesion to the walls of the pore space (i.e. reservoir rock surface) in the presence of reservoir brine plays a critical role in determining the amount of oil that could be recovered from crude oil bearing and deeply buried sedimentary rock formations.

In this project, the phenomenon of crude oil adhesion that is commonly observed in petroleum reservoirs (i.e. reservoir rock/crude oil/reservoir brine systems) will be studied by performing some simple ambient condition sessile oil drop volume alteration method. An ambient condition contact angle meter, which was recently procured using the Chevron Fund given to California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB), will be used for performing these experiments. The experiments will be carried out using decane (a simple representative of actual crude oil), salty water (to represent reservoir brine), and specially prepared crystals of quartz and calcite minerals (to represent the reservoir rock surfaces of two most common types of reservoir rocks (i.e. sandstone and carbonate)). The extent of adhesion will be quantified by measuring contact angle formed by the sessile drop of decane with crystal (quartz or calcite) surface placed in an environmental fixture filled with salty water. A high-resolution video camera coupled with a light source, which are the part of the contact angle meter, will be used for facilitating the visualization of formed sessile oil drops on a computer screen.

These simple laboratory condition experiments will help the students in understanding the ubiquitous phenomenon of adhesion of a liquid phase to a solid surface in the presence of another liquid phase and its importance in recovering the remaining crude oil from depleted petroleum reservoirs. Students will also explore some new ways to reduce crude oil adhesion to the rock surfaces and thus devising strategies for enhancing the recovery of crude oil in depleted petroleum reservoirs.