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Developing new generation lightweight 3D printed composite springs

Primary Investigators:
David Braun
Brief Description of Project:
Sprigs can be used to store mechanical energy similar to how batteries are used to store electrical energy. However, conventional metal springs are heavy and can only store small amounts of mechanical energy. New generation 3D printing technology, enabling printing composite springs, holds the promise of creating lightweight springs with high energy storage capacity. In Vanderbilt’s Advanced Robotics and Control Laboratory (ARCLab), we are interested in developing high-energy-density 3D printed composite springs to make robots more efficient using mechanical energy instead of using electrical energy. The student working on this project will help in developing a setup that can stress-test and cross-compare different springs to find the best spring design.

Desired Qualifications:
The student working on the project should be focused on mechatronics. She/he should be comfortable with SolidWorks, motor control, sensor implementation, as well as data processing and presentation. The student would also benefit from hands-on experience in machining and rapid prototyping.
Nature of Supervision:
The student will directly work with a graduate student mentor. The research team, student and graduate student mentor, will frequently meet with Dr. Braun.
A Brief Research Plan (period is for 10 weeks):
Weeks 1-2 - Preliminary mechanical design
Weeks 2-3 – Small-scale prototype
Weeks 3-6 - Full-scale design
Weeks 6-8 - Fabrication and assembly
Weeks 8-10 - Testing
Number of Open Slots: 1
Contact Information:
Name: David Braun
Department: Mechanical Engineering