Acquisition of a high-speed thermal camera for undergraduate lab courses, senior design projects, and research

Project Title: Acquisition of a high-speed thermal camera for undergraduate lab courses, senior design projects, and research

Project Lead's Name: Dr. Muhammad Jahan

Project Lead's Email:

Project Lead's Phone: 513-529-0347

Project Lead's Division: CEC

Primary Department: Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering

Other Team Members and their emails:

  • Project co-lead: Dr. Andrew Sommers,
  • Faculty who would also benefit from the project and requested equipment include:
    • Dr. Carter Hamilton,
    • Dr. Fazeel Khan,
    • Dr. Giancarlo Corti,
    • Dr. David Munday,

List Departments Benefiting or Affected by this proposal:

  • Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering Department
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering Department
  • Chemical, Paper, and Biomedical Engineering Department
  • Physics Department

Estimated Number of Under-Graduate students affected per year (should be number who will actually use solution, not just who is it available to): 150

Estimated Number of Graduate students affected per year (should be number who will actually use solution, not just who is it available to): 10

Describe the problem you are attempting to solve and your approach for solving that problem: This proposal, if successful, will cover a gap created in the laboratory capabilities of the manufacturing processes and thermal science labs. We will re-design our machining Lab by allowing students to conduct experiments on the upgraded capacity. The high-speed thermal camera will enable students to study the effect of machining parameters, coolant, and material hardness on the tool temperature during machining. The current use of thermocouple for measuring the tool temperature during the lab is not a state-of-the-art technique, which also provides temperature readings much lower than the actual tool temperature. In addition, the students will also be able to use the equipment in their senior design projects, especially those projects focusing on thermal sciences and machining.

If the proposed high-speed thermal camera is installed, it is expected that every undergraduate student taking the MME 231 course will get an opportunity to use the equipment. The average class size for MME 231 has been over 75 students per semester for the past six semesters, and the number is projected to grow with the expected increases in enrollment in the MME department. In addition, students participating in capstone projects in MME 448/449 (Senior Capstone Design) and independent research projects are expected to utilize the thermal camera.

Manufacturing Processes is one of the core courses in the Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering (MME) department. All students in the MME department (Mechanical Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering, and Engineering Management) must take MME 231 (Manufacturing Processes) as part of their degree. Manufacturing Engineering and Engineering Management students are also required to take MME 437 (Automated Manufacturing), while Mechanical Engineering students have options to take the MME 437 course as one of their technical electives. A major portion of the MME students use CNC machines to fabricate their required parts during their final capstone design project. Additionally, student' clubs such as SAE Baja and Formula SAE heavily rely on the CNC machines to fabricate their suspension components and transmissions for these prestigious intercollegiate races. These two lab-based manufacturing courses and senior capstone design (MME 448/449) would benefit from the proposed equipment.

This proposal aims to enhance the manufacturing processes laboratory capabilities, especially for the machining lab, and to enhance the learning experiences of final year students. The system will:

  1. Benefit all MME students (about 700) by training them on how to use a high-speed thermal camera to monitor tool temperature during machining.
  2. Benefit many MME students through capstone projects, especially those using the CNC machines, turbomachinery and jet engines.
  3. Enhance the quality of Manufacturing Processes and Thermo-fluid Labs at the undergraduate level.
  4. Enhance the quality of research at both undergraduate and graduate levels.

How would you describe the innovation and/or the significance of your project: This proposal presents a case for the acquisition of a high-speed thermal camera system for use in the undergraduate MME curriculum and for research purposes. The main objective is to enhance the laboratory experience of the undergraduate manufacturing processes and thermal and fluid labs, as well as enhancing the learning experiences of students in their final year capstone design projects. The proposed thermal camera will also be used extensively in undergraduate and graduate research in the areas of manufacturing and thermo-fluid. The proposed thermal camera system will be used in the machining lab of the course. The "Manufacturing Processes" course (MME 231) is a combination of laboratory and theory, where the students participate in hands-on lab activities throughout the semester to understand various manufacturing processes. The students finally complete a project, where they make parts of a reciprocating pump using machining processes. In the machining lab, currently, students run experiments to investigate the tooltip temperature with the variation of machining parameters, i.e. feed rate, depth of cut, cutting speed; use of coolant, cutting tool material, and workpiece material. Currently, the students are using thermocouples to record the tool temperature during machining. The thermocouple tip is connected near the tooltip to record the tool temperature during cutting, which doesn't provide a very accurate measurement of the tool temperature. This is mainly because it is not possible to join the thermocouple wire close to the tooltip, as that would cause the tooltip to break during machining.

Having a high-speed thermal camera would allow students to record the video of the high-speed machining. From the videos, the information regarding tool temperature can be recorded, as the increase in temperature would be recorded by the color changes and digital displays of temperature from instantaneous sensing of the tool temperature. It would be beneficial for students if they could use this state-of-the-art technology of high-speed imaging for recording the tool temperature during the machining lab. Using the proposed thermal camera system, students could investigate the effect of machining parameters on tool temperature as well as analyze the relationship between cutting forces and the tooltip temperature.

Currently, the students learn the effect of machining parameters on cutting forces and tool temperature in the theory class. The proposed thermal camera will provide the students with an opportunity to test their theoretical knowledge by conducting experiments and comparing experimental findings with theoretical knowledge. MME 231 Manufacturing Processes is a required course for both courses. In addition to the manufacturing processes course, the high­ speed thermal camera will be used in the thermo-fluid lab, which is a required course for all the mechanical engineering majors.

Besides undergraduate courses, the proposed high-speed thermal camera would significantly impact the learning experience of final year students in their senior capstone design projects. In the capstone projects, there are multiple projects related to the area of the thermal sciences that requires measurement of operating temperature for gas turbine jet engines and other thermal-fluid systems (see Fig. 1 in the supporting attachment). Currently, students use a portable hand-held thermal camera, which is more than 10 years old and does not meet the criteria for most of the projects in terms of the maximum range of operating temperatures. The thermal camera that we have currently in the lab is ineffective for applications where the temperature goes higher than a few hundred degrees Celsius. In addition, the current thermal camera and its associated software have operating system limitations, which makes it difficult to implement and use on most modern computers. The proposed high­ speed thermal camera will not only be able to capture videos of objects in high speed, but it also will be able to capture surface temperatures as high as 3000oC. Therefore, the upgrade in the capacity of the thermal imaging will be significant.

Besides enhancing the teaching capacity, the proposed new high­ speed thermal camera will impact research projects of undergraduate and graduate students. The thermal camera will be specifically helpful for the research projects focusing on machining, tribology, thermo­ fluid and turbomachinery research. Several MME faculty are actively working on research projects in those areas. The faculty and students from other departments, such as Chemical Engineering and Physics, may also find this equipment useful for their research.

How will you assess the success of the project: The primary objective of the project is to make a significant contribution to enhance students' hands-on learning experience in their manufacturing processes and thermo-fluid lab. Three evaluation methods will be used to assess the efficacy of the project. First, the alumni surveys will constitute the most reliable body of information on the level of preparation instilled by laboratory activities. These surveys are conducted regularly by the department and will be modified to elicit information specific to this project. The second measure of efficacy will be data collected through the senior exit interviews, which specifically inquire about the quality of the laboratory experience, and from course evaluations. Additionally, faculty input on how the availability of the advanced quality equipment has enabled the inclusion of new assignments that entail design-related critical thinking and quality data collection in their courses will be gathered. Finally, end of semester course evaluations provide feedback on the students' laboratory experience, which is often identified by students as very positive towards an understanding of fundamental machining concepts.

In addition to these three evaluation methods, the number of final year projects and students using the thermal camera will be noted. The number of research publications that used the thermal camera for capturing data will be recorded. These data could also evaluate the impact the proposed equipment would have on the students' learning experience and research productivity.

Financial Information

Total Amount Requested: $75,000

Is this a multi-year request: No

Please address how, if at all, this project aligns with University, Divisional or Center strategic goals: University's Goals (based on Boldly Creative):

Advance Knowledge: The proposed high-speed thermal camera will mainly be used in the manufacturing processes and thermo-fluid lab and final year capstone projects, where students learn measuring advance knowledge and learning experiences of the undergraduate students.

Prepare students: Manufacturing processes is a compulsory course for all the students in Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering (about 700 students). Therefore, all the students in the MME department will get an opportunity to receive hands-on training on the proposed equipment through the machining lab. In addition, undergraduates and graduate students from other engineering departments and the Physics department of CAS will get a chance to use this high-speed thermal camera for their research.

Advance Miami's reputation for excellence and innovation: Besides enhancing the teaching capacity, the proposed new equipment will impact research projects focusing on machining, tribology, and thermal science. The availability of this new equipment would promote Miami's reputation through journal publications and innovations through possible patents from innovative research.

Develop/enhance partnerships: The proposed equipment could be made available to AFRL researchers/participants during summer workshop courses that they are taking on-campus through the MME department. Thus, the equipment could help CEC develop new partnerships by offering usage of the machine to outside entities and industries. The AFRL conducts research in a wide variety of areas including turbomachinery and aerospace engines. The proposed equipment will enrich the infrastructure for research in these areas and enhance the chances of receiving external grants from AFRL.

Demonstrate a long-term sustainability plan: The proposed equipment would allow the faculty and multiple disciplines to propose research on the areas requiring high-temperature applications, that they were unable to propose currently due to lack of this equipment. This will enhance the chances of getting funding from government and private agencies.

College's Goals (based in CEC 2020):

Learning and Discovery: This project will engage students, create new knowledge, advance the CEC research profile by publications and grants, and overall CEC's excellence on project-based learning or hands-on training.

Inclusive Culture and Global Engagement: The new equipment will be available to visiting students as well as students from different cultures and backgrounds at Miami University.

Effective Partnership and Outreach: The equipment could promote partnerships among various departments at Miami University through collaborative proposals and research on the multidisciplinary projects. Beside 700 students from the MME department, the equipment department working on biopolymers, scaffolds, tissues, and paper physics. This project will also help to create partnerships and relations with local manufacturing and aerospace industries as well as the Air Force Research Lab in Dayton.

This project will definitely impact the CEC 2020 divisional plan, as the students of CEC will be the primary users of the equipment.

Department's Goals:

The MME department's current mission is to provide students the best hands-on learning experiences as well as to improve the graduate program and research profile of the department. The primary use of the high-speed thermal camera system will be in undergraduate lab courses and senior capstone design projects, yet it can also be used for graduate education and research. This is because the system will allow advanced level experimentation on the machinability of materials as well as research on turbomachinery and thermal sciences. With the growth of the graduate program at the MME department, we are in need of the development of graduate courses in Manufacturing. The proposed high-speed thermal camera system will definitely enrich the capability of engaging graduate students in hands-on activities for graduate-level courses and projects. However, the thermal camera system will immediately impact the research experience of graduate students working on machining projects. The new equipment will enhance the quality of research by allowing the students to conduct an in-depth study on the predictive modeling and experimental validation of tool temperature during machining of aerospace materials.