ME 310 Final Semester Update

Hey everyone! It’s been a while since I last posted an update on my ongoing research, but that’s been quite the trend for me, huh? Updates every few weeks. Anyways, here’s the latest scope with what went down to finish off the semester:

So I had mentioned last time that we had finished machining all of the specimens. Well, all of the specimens were then sent out and were supposed to be wire-EDM, but unfortunately that has not happened. The company that we sent our specimens to got confused with some of the dimensions that we wanted in our notched specimens and didn’t notify us until three weeks later! We thought we would get some of the specimens fairly soon, but that was not the case. We eventually talked everything out and they are finally now wire-EDMing the notches.  The company is also now wire-EDMing out the 0.2” slot that is shown in the figure below.


The rest of the dimensions remain the same, however, from our previous machining. We are including a slot into our specimen because this allows a more intact, sturdy method of holding the clip gauge while also allowing for a better crack to propagate. We at first were going to use knife edges to hold the clip gauge, but decided to avoid that method because having a slot surprisingly comes out much cheaper than the original plan and because we can easily fit the gauge clip within the specimen.

I had also mentioned a while back that we would fabricate a clevis in house to avoid paying a large amount. The clevis however, has also been delayed but this is because our shop manager has been really busy trying to accomplish 3 or 4 projects at the same time, so he hasn’t had enough time to fully create our specimens.

It’s unfortunate that my team and I could not run a fracture toughness test. I was really interested to see what the results would display, but the wire-EDM and clevis fixture situation are things that I personally cannot control.  I am consistent in asking for updates from everyone, but I can only give a reminder for these projects to be completed.

Next semester, however, I will continue my research project and be sure to get these tests done as quickly as possible.  There are 36 specimens that need to be tested, so figuring out how I will get them all done will be quite a challenge, but I hope that with some help from graduate students, I can get these done quickly and efficiently.

More updates to come next semester!  Winter break is here!

Holiday Cheer vs Finals Depression

I love FML. Unlike Linderman, it doesn’t have romantic lighting or beautiful interior design, it’s all business. Hell, the carpet next to a computer has been all but grinded away for the last year or so and it’s still not fixed. If you go to the upper floors of FML and walk along those study desks, you can definitely get a sense of the depressed air that permeates the campus during finals week.

Yesterday, I was walking to Chandler in hopes of finding a study spot. Lo and behold, it was snowing! Just taking a moment to pause and look around the campus really makes you appreciate how beautiful the campus is when it’s covered in snow. Maybe it’s like that everywhere, but I haven’t really gotten to see too much snow yet. Last semester (spring 2016) was my first time seeing snow at all. It really made me feel warm and excited for Christmas inside.

So there’s this dichotomy. Half of me feels warm and fuzzy with holiday cheer, and the other half of me is dead and hollowed out due to the stress of finals week. On one hand, I am seriously dreading this upcoming week. On the other hand, I can’t wait to go home and see my family and friends again.


Put that GPA Calculator Away

If you’re like me, at some point in this semester you might have received an exam or quiz and had all the life suddenly sucked out of you. Panicked, you bust out a calculator and start calculating exactly what you need to score on the next midterm/final to still pass the class or get an A in it.

Well put that thing away, cause worrying about that isn’t going to help. That’s not the mindset you want to have while going into the exam. Rather, you’re going to go into the exam confident in the amount of time you’ve spent preparing for the exam. You’re going into the exam knowing that you’ve done all you can to prepare so you’re going to ace that exam.

Having the mindset of “omigawd i need a 97 to get an A in this class” or “omigawd i need a 100 to pass this class,” already sets you behind as it gives you a defeated mentality.

So quit worrying about it and just keep reading that textbook, keep doing practice problems and you’ll be fine. We’re all smart kids, we’re at Lehigh. All of us have the potential to do well.

Besides, there’s always a curve you an fall back on. If you can’t beat the test, beat your friends :^).

Study Areas

Adding on to the list of reasons why FML is better than Linderman is that they are open 24/7 during exams week, giving all students, regardless of their sleep schedule, a place to study.

However, FML and Linderman combined only have so many open study places. Where can you go after that?

One good  place to look are empty classrooms. Now that it’s exams week, however, you should be careful about looking in empty lecture halls, as that’s usually where exams will be held.

Empty classrooms are the best. You get an entire classroom to yourself, a school computer to use so you don’t bring your own laptop and get distracted, and a blackboard to scribble whatever you want down. You can pig out on snacks in there, pace around while studying, and all that.

Just like seats in FML and Lindy, however, the classrooms usually get filled up fast. Maginnes, Chandler-Ullmann, and Lewis Lab are the usual culprits. So if you want a nice study area to yourself, it’s best to wake up early and grab it when most people have left and are still in bed.

Good luck, everyone! There’s only a week left now, you can do this!

More MatLab Woes

Not only did ME10 have a final project, but so did ME17 (the one with Excel and MatLab). Our final project asked us to write 1) A main file to determine the velocity and position of a space shuttle over a period of time by using 2) a function with constant drag force and 3) a function with a variable drag force.

Luckily, the equation for determining acceleration over a period of time with given constants was provided for us, so we didn’t need to think of that ourselves. The hard part was knowing how to write a main code that would call the function files that I wrote to print out the calculated y and V values.

It’s hard to express in word so I’ll just show you what I did.


The main code calls the functions then prints and plots out the results of the ode45 function, the integration function.


This function code calculates the velocity and acceleration when drag force varies with time.


This does the same but with constant drag force.


The result of running the code. It prints out a table of all the values and plots the velocity and position vs time graphs for an user inputted value for the mass of the shuttle.

Completion of the ME10 Project

ME10 ended a while ago, with our final in class exam happening on the first of December and our final project due on the eighth. This class was my first introduction to one of the key elements in Mechanical Engineering, which was the ability to use modeling software such as NX or Solidworks to create 3-D parts. It culminated in a final project that spanned the course of over a month, and in the end, it was pretty satisfying.

Although the project took over a month to complete, it wasn’t very difficult at all. The project was divided into four parts, and if you kept pace with one part every week or so, you’d be fine. The first part was sketching the parts that were going to be created by hand. The second part was creating the parts in NX. The third section required us to dimension said parts.

Finally, we put it all together. We gathered all the parts in an assembly and took exploded views before putting the parts together. In the end, it looked something like this.


Exploded Configuration


Assembled Configuration

Seven Days, Five Finals

Classes have ended and the only thing that remains between me and the completion of my third semester here at Lehigh is the classic Final Exams Week.

My first exam is MAT033, which is tomorrow, on the 13th. My last final exam is on the 19th, ME17. Altogether, I have five finals, meaning that within the span of one week, I will have taken five three hour exams. That’ll be a bunch of fun. As my MAT033 professor calls it, these exams will constitute our “judgment days” for those respective classes.

I’m not alone in this situation. In fact, many Lehigh students have an extremely condensed finals week. But that’s no reason to give up, rather, it’s more reason to try even harder. An entire semester’s worth of work needs to be paid off during this week. So hop on some caffeine or whatever it is that keeps you up and power through this final stretch.

Good luck everyone!