Research Programs

Electrical Engineering ENGR 1202 Solar Radiation Simulator Lab  

Solar radiation simulator

Per the project proposal, we have been developing a solar radiation simulator lab which has been purchased along with a standard calibration solar cell.   The solar simulator was installed in the ECE clean room and initial testing of the standard and future fabricated solar cells has begun.

Civil Engineering ENGR 1202 Instrumented Truss Testing Lab

Per the project proposal, we are in the process of developing an Instrumented Truss Testing Lab for the Civil Engineering version of ENGR 1202.  This includes two specially developed truss crushing frames to supplement the original one.

It also includes the Instrumented Truss Tester equipment from Pasco.  This is expected to be operational in plenty of time for the Year 2 running of the ENGR1202 course.  Year 1 is being evaluated as a data baseline.

Mechanical Engineering MEGR 1202 Rapid Prototyping Lab

Rapid Prototyping machines

Per the project proposal, we purchased Rapid Prototyping machines for the Mechanical Engineering version of ENGR 1202.  This includes two 180-00200 Dimension SST1200 ES 3D Printers from Technical and Educational Training Aids.  These machines have been received and installed.

Since the Mechanical Engineering version of ENGR 1202 is twice the size of the Civil and Electrical, we broke the class into two groups.  In order to get baseline assessment data, we carefully divided the groups into ‘with’ and ‘without’ access to these machines.  The care is related to the perception of “students without access” finding out and unintentionally suggesting a biased answer to the assessment team questions (as well as complaining to us).

ENGR 1201 seminars

Per the proposal direction, (but not quite the timeline), ENGR 1201 seminars will be fully implemented in fall 2010 – series of evening seminars to expose students to cool aspects of engineering – failures, demonstrations, guest speakers

Civil 1202 Wastewater Treatment Lab

By carefully managing the project funds, we have been able to leverage the development of a Wastewater Treatment Lab for the Civil Engineering version of ENGR 1202.  Most of the components for this have been obtained for this lab but the goal is to provide “hands-on” wastewater treatment activities. 

Unlike water used for drinking, the water exiting homes (and businesses, etc.) travels in Sanitary Sewers to a wastewater treatment plant before being returned to rivers. 

The lab will include two main parts, a small scale Activated Sludge Basin, and a Settling Basin (or Clarifier).  In addition, Professor Bowen has developed a simple numerical model for the students.  This is expected to be operational in plenty of time for the Year 2 running of the ENGR1202 course as year 1 is being evaluated as a baseline.

The outreach NASCAR Race Car

In the most extreme case of carefully managed project funds and leveraged support, we have been able to support the development of an outreach vehicle like no other.  By combining support from dozens of sources, we will have a UNC Charlotte NASCAR race car to take on our high school outreach visits.  This car will include two racing seats in order to be able to take passengers and should be capable of greatly engaging students.  Considering the high tire cost of “Doughnut Demonstrations” it is fortunate that Goodyear has volunteered all the tires we can consume.


UNC Charlotte NASCAR COT race car

The “Red Bull” Nascar team donated their 2008 race car without a drive train and allowed us to display it without their name on it.   Luke Woroniecki, our race shop manager, has applied a small portion of project funds to support this development.  In addition, he managed to leverage support from dozens of suppliers to supply expensive parts to complete this car.

It is expected to be complete by this summer’s camp; however, for liability reasons, we will not be letting high school students drive the car.

This car will also be available for three courses each fall.  Although these are for 3rd year Juniors in ME, it won’t be lost on the underclassmen what lurks in their future and the mechanical engineering department is the size of civil and electrical combined.  The classes are MEGR 3090 Motorsports Instrumentation, MEGR 3211 Vehicle Dynamics, and MEGR 4112, Intermediate Fluid Dynamics and Vehicle Aerodynamics (taught by the Dean of the College of Engineering).


Summer Campers

The Motorsports summer camp

Per the project proposal, we have conducted three Motorsports summer camps.

Engaging undergraduate research programs

In addition to the race car, three other small research programs in ME received some support, (mostly in the form of supported graduate assistant time). 

The first research project is a race car engine program in which a brightly Copper colored big block 548 cu in V8 engine is under construction in the undergraduate race shop.  This program leveraged many times the project cost in supplier donated materials and will result in a Masters thesis.  The thesis topic includes the effect of various coatings on internal components and the majority of the support comes from “Calico Coatings”.

A second small project includes the support of a NASCAR drafting study in the new UNC Charlotte Water tunnel.  This water tunnel is located right in the undergraduate motorsports shop where undergraduate engineers work in large numbers every evening.


Summer campers at the water tunnel

Race car oil pan

The third research project with small support is a window inside a race car oil pan.  This one will provide an exciting view into the internals of a running engine and uses a spinning window to shed prayed oil.  Part of the credibility and most of the cost of this project comes from the “Richard Childress Racing” Nascar race team.

Race car oil pan