Sina’s new journal article to be published in August

I am proud of all of the hard work that Sina did to get this paper to publication.  It took diligence from the initial experiments and simulations all the way through the revisions and submission process.  Thanks as well to Peter and Tyler for finding the formatting, grammar, and spelling mistakes that eluded prior my review.


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Local Makers Contributing PPE during the COVID-19 pandemic

I’ve been impressed by the response of makers in the Charlotte community to the need for PPE in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.  It would be easy to just crank up the 3D printer and think that you are making a difference, but Charlotte MEDI has taken the right path by linking closely with the end users to make sure that what they are manufacturing matches the need.

On a personal front, it was a nice feeling to see the little Lulzbot Mini cranking out some faceshield parts for the effort, but hats off to Charlotte MEDI for making sure that effort wasn’t just a feel good, but an actual benefit.

The College of Engineering has had a strong showing, with Terrence Fagan in Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Science coordinating the effort from the beginning and Joshua Tarbutton bring his machines at his company online to laser cut the faceshields.  I couldn’t be prouder to have them as colleagues.

A nice write up on the efforts can be found here.


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Magnetic Gearing Students produce…Mechanical Gears

Tyler and Peter were able to help out the NASA Lunabotics team this semester by doing the CAM work in Fusion 360 to replace a couple of custom gears that had worn out over the years.  The group has produced parts on the CNC numerous times before, but this time had the added wrinkle that we didn’t actually run the code (Mr. Pritchard in the machine shop ran it), which gave us all a bit of an education on what information needs to travel along with the file when someone else is going to be doing the final manufacturing.


Fusion 360 Simulation of the Gear being milled out


Final part as machined by Mr. Pritchard

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Waves 2 Water: Round 2

Even with all of the COVID-19 chaos in the background, Landon and I got our submission into the Design Stage of the Waves to Water Prize.  We ended up bringing in some UNC Charlotte to help us get across the finish line in the form of David Barnett (UNC Charlotte December graduate for mechanical design and visualization help) and Rusabh Gandhi (current UNC Charlotte MS student in Applied Energy and Electromechanical System for modeling assistance).  It involved the four of us distributed among 3 different states at times, but hopefully they like our submission.


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Ready for First Robotics Competition: Asheville

March 27-29th at UNC Asheville.  I’ll be the one in the black vest and yellow hat.

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Waves to Water Prize: Design Phase

I’ve had the pleasure of working the past few months with Landon Mackey, PhD on a entry into the Waves to Water Prize ( sponsored by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.  The charge is to use wave energy to provide desalination for coastal communities as part of the recovery process following a natural disaster.  Landon and I met a number of years ago through meetings related to the NC Renewable Ocean Energy Program and share a similar outlook on engineering designs.  We’ve based our design on prior work done by the SAROS team (, which was a spinoff of a UNC Charlotte senior design project, sponsored by Fred Wagner, a Charlotte area entrepreneur.  Our design, based on lessons learned during the SAROS project is the Wave Actuated Tethered Emergency Response Bouyant Reverse Osmosis System (WATERBROS).  We were pleased to be selected as one of the winning teams out of the CONCEPT phase of the competition (video here) and are hard at work on the DESIGN phase submission.


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December 2019 Graduates: Casey and David

This past December saw the graduation of Casey Nichols with his MS in Applied Energy and Electromechanical Systems and David Barnett with his Graduate Certificate in Applied Energy and Electromechanical Systems.  My goal with mentoring students in to add value regardless of where the students are when they come into the group.  Both Casey and David came into the group as motivated, technically sound undergraduates with a willingness to work and an eagerness to learn.  I’m happy to say that they are stronger when they left the group than when they joined, but the research group is a whole is better for their contributions over the past few years.  Luckily, I have a new crop of undergraduates Peter and Tyler who look quite promising and who benefited from Casey and David’s mentoring over the Fall semester.  Casey has started a job at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado and information about David can be found at (

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

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