ME 310-Independent Research

As a senior here at Lehigh, you can choose different elective classes to take in order to fulfill your major requirements.  Some people fulfill their requirements by taking classes related to Aerospace to complete their  Aerospace minor or classes to complete their Energy minor.  Whatever it is, you can choose to take any 300 level mechanical engineering course to complete your bachelor’s degree.  I’m actually not pursuing a minor because frankly, I’m not interested in either of these minors so I’ve chosen to take a different path relating more to strength of materials and fluids.

But going back to what I was saying, one of the 300 level courses that you can take here at Lehigh is ME 310, which as the title of this blog mentions, is an independent research class where you pair up with a professor and do research for him or her.  My research project is with Professor Herman Nied and I’m working on the Mechanical Testing of Hardened Railroad Rails.  I was actually involved in this project during the summer where we performed tensile tests on many specimens with the Instron testing machine and we had to calculate several of its properties.  Now I’m working on creating Compact Tension (CT) specimens from several plates of railroad that were cut off the cross section of the rails. Once we make these specimens, we’re going to perform Fracture Toughness tests for more analysis.

These are the rails that we started off with:


These are the main rails that came from Mountaintop and were brought down to Whitaker.


After cutting flat sections through the cross sectional area of the rails, this what each “slice” looked like. There are 3 slices in total.


This a picture of the crown slice of the rail where we measured its height.


After cutting 3 sections for each slice that I had, I labeled everything to make sure I knew where everything was.


Here I’m basically using a face mill to machine down the rust off the crown.

So that essentially how far I’ve gotten so far, but I’ll hopefully be posting more of this with weeks to come.


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