Manufacturing Support for Solar Racing at Appalachian State

The Magnetic Gearing Research Group was happy to provide some manufacturing support to Appalachian State University’s Team Sunergy as they made modifications to their car ROSE (Racing On Solar Energy) in advance of their upcoming race this October in Australia.

We were able to use the Haas Mini Mill to produce new battery holders.

App State students visit to assist with manufacturing.

Finished battery holder component.

Team Sunergy ROSE logo.

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Microhydro Workshop at Appalachian State

I got to head up the mountain in early June to Appalachian State University for a workshop on covering the principles, practice, and lessons learned with microhydro power.

PowerSpout Pelton Turbine being tested.

Brent Summerville (the instructor for the course) presenting a trailer mounted microhydro station including coiled penstock, power electronics, and batteries.

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FIRST Robotic Competition: Asheville 2019

Belated links to the NC FIRST Regional Event in Asheville.  As always, NC FIRST photographer Danny Levenson has captured some great shots from the event (

Dr. Williams as the Lead Robot Inspector for the event with his rest of the inspection team (including Kevin C. from UNC Charlotte Mosaic).
picture by Danny Levenson

Dr. Browne (in yellow) briefs the teams on rules for the event.
photo by Danny Levenson

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Spring Semester Wrap Up

The Spring 2019 semester wrapped up with a flurry of activity.  Three undergraduate research assistants (David Barnett, Austin Joyner, and Ryan Williams) graduated with their BS in Mechanical Engineering Technology.  While Austin and Ryan are moving on into the workforce, David is following Casey’s lead and sticking around for graduate studies.  Timely graduations are part of the equation when you are hiring undergraduate research assistants, but it can be bittersweet.  You are happy to see them transition to the next phase of their professional development, but you do miss the finely tuned operation of the research group when they are gone.



The magnetic gearing research group also landed another accolade, as Casey Nichols took second place in the inaugural EPIC Innovator competition for his presentation on an modular in-conduit turbine with magnetic transmission for low head hydropower applications.



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An unusual defense

The shooting on April 30th disrupted a lot of events on campus at the end of the semester.  That said, I was impressed with the flexibility and resilience shown by the faculty and students as they pushed forward with work that still needed to get done.  It wasn’t the venue that Ashley Ciero was planning, but she was adaptable (as well as her committee).  She deliverable an excellent defense of her master’s thesis in front of her committee and her peers (who made the drive to S. Charlotte) and was unruffled when Merle abruptly left her presentation after only 5 minutes.

Ashley Ciero and her advisor Dr. Hewlin following her successful master’s thesis defense.

Ashley Ciero’s thesis committee (+ Merle)


Dr. Hewlin, Merle, and Dr. Noras preparing for the defense.

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Conference Travel in April

April was a busy month for conference travel, with Waterpower Week in Washington and the NC Renewable Ocean Energy Program Symposium in Wanchese, NC.

Waterpower Week had numerous solid sessions and it there are some interesting resources coming online.  The big news was the Powering the Blue Economy Report, but it was also good to hear of the MHK updates planned to the System Advisor Model and the informaiton available through the MHK Atlas.  


The NCROEP Symposium and Coastal Studies Institute Open House provided a great opportunity for my students to showcase their work to peers and the general public.  The CSI was an excellent host as always, but I think my students may be jealous of the view outside of the CSI as compared to our labs in the Smith building.

C. Nichols, D. Barnett, A. Joyner, and S. Modaresahmadi at NCROEP 2019.

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Magnetic Gearing Group at Discovery Place for Engineering Week

Austin, Casey, and David volunteered at the Takeover Day at Discovery Place.  They had over 150 visitors who learned a bit about gears and magnets.

Additional photos can be found here


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