This week I got assigned group projects in two of my classes: Mechanics and Bioengineering. The Mech project is to design a can crusher so that it requires the minimum application of force at the lever. There is a basic design and we have to determine the appropriate lengths and angles of the different components so that the force applied to the handle has the maximum effect on the can while remaining within the height and width restrictions. There are three components to the project: A free body diagram with equilibrium equations to account for all of the forces involved and the relations between them, a computer program that calculates the maximum force required to crush the can to different heights, and a report with our finalized design specifications and an explanation of how we reached these values.
My Bioengineering project is to design an arterial graft, a device that could replace a damaged portion of a human artery. We have to determine the geometry (size and shape) and the material that would be used to mimic the natural tissue so that it can appropriately respond to blood flow rate, pressure and blood chemistry. We also have to discuss what testing would be necessary to ensure that it would work properly. This is an especially interesting project because currently most grafts are veins or arteries taken from the patient or cadavers rather than an engineered product. This makes the project both more challenging and more interesting as this is a very important area for current and future research and development.
Both of these projects should be interesting ways to apply what we have been learning throughout the semester to realistic engineering problems