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Engineering Projects

Home Energy Monitoring and Control System

Dr. Saeed Jafarzadeh

Have you noticed the recent trend where manufacturers try to make every gadget and gizmo “smart”? Have you ever been interested in finding out just how much energy your TV, computer, coffee machine or any other appliance are using? In this project you will build an advanced network that does such monitoring for you. You will even translate the energy usage into dollar amount. You can also build some intelligence into the system and make it smart in your own way. For instance, you can set your dishwasher to wash the dishes only if its energy usage costs you $2. Or you can set your printer off whenever your computer is off. This is possible through what we technically call Embedded Systems. Once you learn about it, you can be creative and transform everything you are dealing with on a daily basis. You will build your own customized home energy monitoring and control system from scratch.

Study of mechanical behavior of hydrocarbon-bearing rocks

Dr. Dayanand Saini

A combination of hydraulic fracturing technique with horizontal well drilling technology has greatly expanded the ability of producers to profitably recover natural gas and oil from low-permeability or tight hydrocarbon-bearing rocks (shale formations). In the hydraulic fracturing process, fluid is pumped into an isolated zone of a long horizontal wellbore to break down the rock thus creating high-permeability paths called fractures. These fractures help in increasing the rate at which natural gas or oil can be produced from the hydrocarbon-bearing rock. However, successful fracture treatment (placement, initiation, propagation, and opening) is largely controlled by mechanical behavior of the rock.

In this research project, newly built geo-material property testing system will be used for studying mechanical behavior of major U.S. shale gas and shale oil formations such as Marcellus (gas), Eagle Ford (gas and oil), Mancos (gas), and Monterey (oil). The stiffness or the resistance to deformation and the brittleness or fracability of a rock will be quantified by measuring two mechanical properties namely Poisson’s ratio and Young’s modulus. The collected data will be used to compare and contrast the fracture treatment process in different shale formations.


Lawnbot: Autonomous Lawn Mower

Dr. Yiannis Ampatzidis

Do you hate mowing the lawn? What if you could mow the grass from a distance (e.g. your house)? In this project an autonomous lawn mower will be developed using micro-electronics and micro-sensors. This system will mow the grass of your garden by remote control while being powered with the clean energy from the sun.

The students will learn how to: Use and program mechatronics: micro-sensors and micro-electronics; develop a remote control system; develop and build a remote controlled lawnbot (autonomous lawnmower): hardware and software; integrate a low-cost camera to the lawnbot; develop the navigation and control algorithms; and operate the lawnbot using remote control.


Determination of Injection Well Location for a Successful Enhanced Oil Recovery

Dr. Karim Salehpoor

At the early stages of producing oil from a reservoir, oil flows toward the production well by its own pressure.  However, by production, reservoir pressure declines to a limit which makes it impossible for oil flow toward the production well anymore.  At this stage of life of a reservoir, there is a significant amount of oil still in the reservoir.  Enhanced oil recovery, EOR, methods are used to produce oil from a reservoir that is at a declined pressure.  Foam flooding is an enhanced oil recovery method in which foam is injected into the reservoir to mobilize the remaining reservoir oil toward the production well. Participants will collaborate in a hands-on project to build a set up and run tests to determine the location of an injection well that results in the most amount of oil produced due to the EOR method application.