An NSF Project Benefits First-Year Mechanical Engineering Student at University of Houston

With a grant from National Science Foundation (NSF) (NSF CCLI-EMD Grant No. 0341143), Dr. Song, an associate professor of Mechanical Engineering at University of Houston, developed a smart vibration platform, whose stiffness and damping can be magically adjusted by using two smart materials: shape memory alloy and Magneto-Rheological (MR) fluid. The trick of adjusting stiffness of the platform is done by using shape memory alloy wires whose stiffness changes with temperature, which can be controlled using electrical current. A Magneto-Rheological (MR) fluid damper, whose damping can be adjusted though an electromagnet, offers the platform adjustable damping. This vibration platform can perform multiple vivid demonstrations such as onset of resonance, effect of the system stiffness on the resonance frequency, effect of damping ratio on the occurrence of resonance, structural vibration damping using MR fluid damper, structural vibration control using shape memory alloy brace, and many others. Shown in the figure below is the demonstration of vibration control by Dr. Song in the Introduction to Mechanical Engineering class for first-year mechanical engineering student at University of Houston. After the demonstration, an anonymous student survey was conducted and a majority of students indicated that this experiment motivated them to learn more about vibrations and smart materials.


Dr. Song demonstrating vibration controls using the smart vibration platform

Shown in the figure below is a detailed view of the smart vibration platform developed at University of Houston with funding from NSF.


The smart vibration platform developed at University of Houston


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