Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Life as a Grad Student

Well, it has been a long time since the last post and much needs to be reported in my life. First off, I graduated!! I am now working on my Mechanical Engineering Master's Degree and, starting in Fall 2013, will be earning an MBA at the same time. The program will take a total of 3 years, so I will be finished with school April 2015. My research is in Flow Analysis. I will be using a technique called "Synthetic Aperture Particle Image Velocimetry", SAPIV for short, to capture data about the flow of water around a model of a ladybug wing in a water tunnel. SAPIV uses multiple high speed cameras to capture images of particles seeded in the flow and meshes the images into a series of images at various focal lengths, giving a time-resolved, 3 dimensional velocity field of the flow; not something easily achieved. This will allow us to see the various swirls and twirls in the water around the wings so we can better understand how to better mimic insect flight. The research is fully funded through a grant from the Air Force, so I will not have to work as a TA at all- just focus on the research! Here is a picture of what the setup may look like. A laser is used to illuminate the particles in the flow.

The Supermileage Vehicle turned out great! Our team placed 2nd at the competition in Michigan and had a top MPG of 1,135! Mind you, I won't be buying one of these cars to drive around town with. The cramped space and slow speed would drive anyone crazy. Here is an article on BYU's mechanical engineering website about it-Supermileage Vehicle Standout

The rocket team I participated on went to the competition in Green River, UT with hopes of simply being allowed to launch the rocket. We were allowed, and, to our surprise, the rocket blew up. It wasn't the rocket failing that surprised us, but how it failed. The rocket took off strong, was set on a great trajectory with no wobblies, when all of a sudden, there was a pop and fire started shooting out of the middle of the rocket. The rocket separated, burned the parachute cord, and tumbled back to the earth, still on fire (don't worry, we had a fire permit, special permission from the state, and there was nothing to burn on the ground). Turns out, the rocket motor burned through the aluminum casing. We aren't sure why yet, but it was good to know that it wasn't anything we designed on the rocket that had failed :). The reading we got back from the altimeter was 742 ft when the rocket failed. Pretty good, I'd say, for a bunch of non-rocketeers.

Speaking of non-rocketeers, I'm not sure I want to be one of those anymore. This past week, I ordered myself a high-powered rocket kit and a motor to go to the Salt Flats in August for a rocket launch event. I am going for my Level 1 certification, which, I think, will make me a rocketeer.

I'd like to finish with my other new hobby: fishing. Fishing is great. I thought I was good at it. The first two times I went this year, I caught a total of 9 fish, and cooked a couple of them too. The last 3 times I have gone out with my pole, I've caught nothing. Hopefully I will have better luck tomorrow; I want to have a fish bbq for lunch!