Blogs

Everything you ever wanted to know about the mechanics of a horse's motion.

Mechanics of motion in nature

February 16, 2017 - Many animals change the rhythm of their footfalls and the pattern of their steps depending on their speed.  Horses are a good example of this because they move in distinct gaits.
Undergraduate, Taylor
Recent PhD grad Ritu shares her final blog from MechSE Illinois.

Urbana-Champaign to Cambridge

February 14, 2017 -   Hello World!   This is my final Mechanics of Motion post and I’m so grateful to have had the chance to blog my way through my PhD at MechSE Illinois. Over the years, I’ve tried to document various forms of professional and personal advancement, as well as outreach activities, that I’ve had the opportunity to participate in at UIUC.
Graduate
Taylor shows there is a certain beauty in the mechanics of a hot air balloon.

Lighter than air

February 9, 2017 -   Battle Creek Balloon Festival at W.K. Kellogg Airport.
Undergraduate, Taylor
If you're pursuing a career in academia, check out these opportunities.

Spring 2017 Academic Career Prep Opportunities for Graduate Students

January 24, 2017 - January 26 / Preparing for Academic Interviews3:30-5:00 p.m., 407 Illini Union Get ready for interviews during the faculty job search process. Presented by: Graduate College  February 2 / Negotiation Strategies4 – 5:30 p.m., 210 Illini Union How can you negotiate for the strongest start in a new job? Presented by: Graduate College  
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Spring Career Fairs

Spring 17 Career Fairs for MechSE Students

January 22, 2017 - There are 6 great career fair opportunities taking place this semester.  Don't miss these opportunities to engage with employers about full-time positions and summer internships. January 30 - Engineering Employment EXPO10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., ARC Internship and full-time job opportunities targeting engineering students.Presented by: ECS, Registration: ECS I-Link
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If you're headed to industry, check out these great opportunities!

Spring 2017 Industry Career Prep Opportunities!

January 19, 2017 - If you're headed to industry, check out these great opportunities! January 23 / Lunch & Learn: Job Search Basics12:00 – 1:00 p.m., 3300 DCL Learn what events, resources, apps, and websites will maximize your job search efforts. Presented by: ECS Registration: ECS I-Link
Graduate
In this continuation of her blog series, Views of MechSE, Taylor shares original photos she captures from around campus.

Views of MechSE: December gallery

December 11, 2016 - Berries left on a tree behind MSEB. Boneyard Creek in early December. Christmas decorations on the Quad side of MEL.
Undergraduate
Adventure c)

Adventure c) Go to the basement

December 8, 2016 -   c) Go to the basement   You take the key and the paper and hustle downstairs to the basement. Near the wind tunnel down the hallway you find an unmarked grey door. You try the key and it fits.     “Why can’t homework be this easy?” you wonder as you peer around the door. It’s dark, so you turn on the flashlight on your phone and see a steep narrow staircase whose end is swallowed by the darkness.
Undergraduate
Adventure d)

Adventure d) Keep the key for later

December 8, 2016 -   d) Keep the key for later   You put the key and paper in your pocket. The upcoming studying is looming overhead and you really just want to get it done. You walk over to Grainger and take the elevator to the fourth floor in search of your friend. You spot their table under the skylight and walk over.   “There you are!” your friend says. “We just got two dozen empanadas.
Undergraduate
Choose your own adventure in Taylor's final blog post of the semester.

End-of-Semester Adventure

December 8, 2016 -   You’re sitting downstairs at a table in MEL, trying to study for finals. You occasionally look up from your work to glance at the blinking outline of the Christmas tree on the red block wall. The colored lights are a welcome distraction from the equations you’ve been staring at.     One of the times you glance at the tree, you notice that a blue bulb is blinking rapidly.
Undergraduate, Taylor
Adventure a)

Adventure a) Go see the puzzle case

December 8, 2016 -   a) Go see the puzzle case   “I really want to go look at the case,” you say. “I’ll meet you over there soon, okay?”     Your friend goes back to Grainger and you grab your backpack and head upstairs. You thought the puzzle case hadn’t been returned yet, but sure enough, you find it back in its spot in the east hallway. The case stands open and you realize that someone must have solved it recently.
Undergraduate
Adventure a)

Adventure a) Go see the puzzle case

December 8, 2016 -   a) Go see the puzzle case   “I really want to go look at the case,” you say. “I’ll meet you over there soon, okay?”     Your friend goes back to Grainger and you grab your backpack and head upstairs. You thought the puzzle case hadn’t been returned yet, but sure enough, you find it back in its spot in the east hallway. The case stands open and you realize that someone must have solved it recently.
Undergraduate
Adventure b)

Adventure b) Go to Grainger

December 8, 2016 -   b) Go to Grainger   “Okay, let’s go,” you say. You’ll come back to MEL later. You walk across the quad with your friend and trek all the way up to the fourth floor.   “Surprise!” your friend says when you arrive at the group table under the skylight. “We ordered pizzas and snuck them up here! And we got Insomnia too. This is our stay-up-all-night eating and studying party.
Undergraduate
Taylor explains the amazing forces on a plane in flight.

Stay aloft

December 5, 2016 -   These T-6 Texans are exiting a downward spin.In one of the TAM 335 labs, an airfoil is rotated in the air duct until pressure is lost across the taps. Spoiler alert: the loss of pressure indicates that the airfoil has exceeded its critical angle of attack and lost its lift force. The angle of attack is the angle the chord line of the wing/airfoil makes with the wind passing over the wing (aka relative wind).
Undergraduate, Taylor
In this continuation of her blog series, Views of MechSE, Taylor shares original photos she captures from around campus.

Views of MechSE: November gallery

November 17, 2016 - Looking at the Engineering quad on a warm early November morning. A cardinal rests in the sun outside Talbot.
Undergraduate, Taylor
Happy Thanksgiving, from Taylor.

Popcorn, toast, pretzel sticks, and jellybeans

November 17, 2016 -   November 14 sunset as seen from First and Kirby, Champaign.Here’s some interesting Thanksgiving math:    The Guinness Book of World Records lists the largest pumpkin pie at 3,699 lbs. If a standard serving of pumpkin pie is 5.5 ounces on average, that pie could provide 10,760 normal-sized slices, feeding roughly one-fourth of all UIUC students.
Undergraduate, Taylor
All the numbers you ever wanted to know about student enrollment at Illinois.

Illinois by the numbers

November 10, 2016 - Ever think about just how big our school is? We have 44,880 students registered at school as of September. Of that total, 33,467 students are undergrads. Here’s the breakdown by college:  ACES 2,622 undergrad, 3,207 total students Business 3,102 undergrad, 4,195 total students Education 615 undergrad, 1,201 total students Engineering 7,564 undergrad, 11,069 total students
Undergraduate, Taylor
Check your inbox!

Spring decisions are out!

November 9, 2016 - Spring Graduate Admission decisions are out! If you haven't received your email notification yet, you will be receiving it very soon.  The Graduate Admissions Committee offers its congratulations to those who were selected for admission. We are busy accepting applications for Fall 2017 admission.  Our priority deadline for Fall is December 15th, and that's just right around the corner!  Contact mechse-gradillinois [dot] edu with any questions about the application process.
Graduate
Train engineers back in the day had to know the ins and outs of the mechanics of a steam engine.

Settle the West

October 31, 2016 -   They’re more of a novelty now, but steam locomotives (we call them steam engines) had a huge role in our country’s development, taking part in the Industrial Revolution, spurring the growth of countless towns along the tracks and assisting in the transformation of the west.   Despite its large size, the mechanics of a steam locomotive are fairly straightforward.
Undergraduate, Taylor
In this continuation of her blog series, Views of MechSE, Taylor shares original photos she captures from around campus.

Views of MechSE: October gallery

October 27, 2016 - Looking out at the engineering quad from the fourth floor of Grainger. Berry bush next to Engineering Hall.
Undergraduate, Taylor

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Adventure a)

Adventure a) Go see the puzzle case

December 8, 2016 -   a) Go see the puzzle case   “I really want to go look at the case,” you say. “I’ll meet you over there soon, okay?”     Your friend goes back to Grainger and you grab your backpack and head upstairs. You thought the puzzle case hadn’t been returned yet, but sure enough, you find it back in its spot in the east hallway. The case stands open and you realize that someone must have solved it recently.
Undergraduate
Adventure a)

Adventure a) Go see the puzzle case

December 8, 2016 -   a) Go see the puzzle case   “I really want to go look at the case,” you say. “I’ll meet you over there soon, okay?”     Your friend goes back to Grainger and you grab your backpack and head upstairs. You thought the puzzle case hadn’t been returned yet, but sure enough, you find it back in its spot in the east hallway. The case stands open and you realize that someone must have solved it recently.
Undergraduate
Adventure b)

Adventure b) Go to Grainger

December 8, 2016 -   b) Go to Grainger   “Okay, let’s go,” you say. You’ll come back to MEL later. You walk across the quad with your friend and trek all the way up to the fourth floor.   “Surprise!” your friend says when you arrive at the group table under the skylight. “We ordered pizzas and snuck them up here! And we got Insomnia too. This is our stay-up-all-night eating and studying party.
Undergraduate
Adventure c)

Adventure c) Go to the basement

December 8, 2016 -   c) Go to the basement   You take the key and the paper and hustle downstairs to the basement. Near the wind tunnel down the hallway you find an unmarked grey door. You try the key and it fits.     “Why can’t homework be this easy?” you wonder as you peer around the door. It’s dark, so you turn on the flashlight on your phone and see a steep narrow staircase whose end is swallowed by the darkness.
Undergraduate
Adventure d)

Adventure d) Keep the key for later

December 8, 2016 -   d) Keep the key for later   You put the key and paper in your pocket. The upcoming studying is looming overhead and you really just want to get it done. You walk over to Grainger and take the elevator to the fourth floor in search of your friend. You spot their table under the skylight and walk over.   “There you are!” your friend says. “We just got two dozen empanadas.
Undergraduate
Taylor explains the amazing forces on a plane in flight.

Stay aloft

December 5, 2016 -   These T-6 Texans are exiting a downward spin.In one of the TAM 335 labs, an airfoil is rotated in the air duct until pressure is lost across the taps. Spoiler alert: the loss of pressure indicates that the airfoil has exceeded its critical angle of attack and lost its lift force. The angle of attack is the angle the chord line of the wing/airfoil makes with the wind passing over the wing (aka relative wind).
Undergraduate, Taylor
In this continuation of her blog series, Views of MechSE, Taylor shares original photos she captures from around campus.

Views of MechSE: November gallery

November 17, 2016 - Looking at the Engineering quad on a warm early November morning. A cardinal rests in the sun outside Talbot.
Undergraduate, Taylor
Happy Thanksgiving, from Taylor.

Popcorn, toast, pretzel sticks, and jellybeans

November 17, 2016 -   November 14 sunset as seen from First and Kirby, Champaign.Here’s some interesting Thanksgiving math:    The Guinness Book of World Records lists the largest pumpkin pie at 3,699 lbs. If a standard serving of pumpkin pie is 5.5 ounces on average, that pie could provide 10,760 normal-sized slices, feeding roughly one-fourth of all UIUC students.
Undergraduate, Taylor
All the numbers you ever wanted to know about student enrollment at Illinois.

Illinois by the numbers

November 10, 2016 - Ever think about just how big our school is? We have 44,880 students registered at school as of September. Of that total, 33,467 students are undergrads. Here’s the breakdown by college:  ACES 2,622 undergrad, 3,207 total students Business 3,102 undergrad, 4,195 total students Education 615 undergrad, 1,201 total students Engineering 7,564 undergrad, 11,069 total students
Undergraduate, Taylor
Train engineers back in the day had to know the ins and outs of the mechanics of a steam engine.

Settle the West

October 31, 2016 -   They’re more of a novelty now, but steam locomotives (we call them steam engines) had a huge role in our country’s development, taking part in the Industrial Revolution, spurring the growth of countless towns along the tracks and assisting in the transformation of the west.   Despite its large size, the mechanics of a steam locomotive are fairly straightforward.
Undergraduate, Taylor
In this continuation of her blog series, Views of MechSE, Taylor shares original photos she captures from around campus.

Views of MechSE: October gallery

October 27, 2016 - Looking out at the engineering quad from the fourth floor of Grainger. Berry bush next to Engineering Hall.
Undergraduate, Taylor
MechSE's annual event drew top students from around the state and region.

Photo gallery: MechSE Open House and High School Visit Day 2016

October 17, 2016 -   On Friday, October 14, the MechSE Department hosted its annual Open House and High School Visit Day in Mechanical Engineering Laboratory. Prospective MechSE students—top high school students from around the state—visited to discover many of the exciting educational experiences the department offers, hands-on lab demonstrations, and opportunities to talk with current students and faculty.
Undergraduate
Taylor teaches us the science behind the colors of leaves.

If trees taught coloring

October 13, 2016 -   Illinois Arboretum, fall 2014.I like to press fall leaves so that they dry out and keep their color. Every year I’ll pick up leaves that are especially striking and stuff them in heavy books until further notice. Sometimes at the end of the school year I’ll find some still hidden in the back of a textbook.
Undergraduate, Taylor
In this continuation of her blog series, Views of MechSE, Taylor shares original photos she captures from around campus.

Views of MechSE: September gallery

October 2, 2016 - Lightning over Beckman at sunset.   Someone left a friend for the engineer.  
Undergraduate, Taylor
Taylor explains the science and theory of aeroacoustics.

Songs over water

September 21, 2016 -   Air flowing over an airfoil and cavity behaves differently when a spoiler is present.If you’ve ever blown over the top of an open water bottle and heard the bottle make a humming noise, you have produced what’s called an Aeolian tone.  Aeolian tones are sounds made by wind passing over or through objects.
Undergraduate, Taylor
Looking for things to do this month? Taylor's got the scoop.

Jump in

September 5, 2016 -   To all our new MechSE students: welcome to Illinois! And for those returning, welcome back!     We’re two weeks into the semester and, for many of us, right back in the swing of things.  Here are some upcoming events to think about planning ahead for:      
Undergraduate, Taylor
Hundreds of engineering freshmen, including MechSE students, were welcomed on the Bardeen Quad to celebrate their first days at Illinois.

FreshmanFest welcomes class of 2020

August 22, 2016 - The College of Engineering hosted its annual FreshmanFest on Saturday, August 20 for all new engineering undergraduate students. The event serves to welcome the class of 2020 to the Illinois family. Students enjoyed food, inflatables, and music on the Bardeen Quad.
Undergraduate
Armed with a car for the summer, Taylor takes time to venture out of Champaign-Urbana to experience what the surrounding small towns have to offer.

The world around us

July 6, 2016 -   With so much to do on campus, there might not be a lot of incentive to venture far from Champaign-Urbana, especially if you don't have your own transportation. All the same, I encourage you to explore central Illinois if you have the chance. It's always good to be familiar with the landscape where you've been living. And when you actually take a look around, you will find a lot more than corn and soybeans, as you will see in the pictures.
Undergraduate, Taylor
Bored this summer? Try these.

Lazy days of summer (maybe)

July 4, 2016 -   This print was made by pressing paper on top of shaving cream colored with food dye.If you happen to find yourself bored and need a low-key activity to pass the time, consider trying some of these.     Make miniature popsicles using an ice cube tray.  Try experimenting with combinations of pieces of fruit, fruit juice, and yogurt or pudding.
Undergraduate, Taylor
Practice this skill and you'll survive any situation.

Telling apart the Olsen twins

June 21, 2016 -   An obvious difference between these two cars is the arrangement of the tail lights.Having an eye for detail is a useful thing. Getting in the habit of paying attention to what you’re looking at and noticing some characteristics can be helpful for identifying the object later in a different context as well as for spotting abnormalities or potential failures.
Undergraduate, Taylor

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Two MechSE graduate students introduce a new RSO to focus on offering more local outreach opportunities to other grad students.

Grad students ENVISION more accessible STEM outreach

May 25, 2016 -   Matt Milner and Ashley ArmstrongMechSE graduate students Matt Milner and Ashley Armstrong were both student athletes while getting their undergrad degrees in STEM. And they both cut their teeth on athletics outreach— but back then, they did sports camps, not STEM camps.
Graduate
MechSE graduate researchers have been named semi-finalists in the campus Image of Research competition.

MechSE grad students compete in Image of Research contest

March 22, 2016 -   Update 4/7/2016: Congratulations to MechSE's Mohamed Elhebeary!
Graduate
PhD candidate Ritu Raman is featured on the College of Engineering website for her achievements in helping to develop tiny walking bio-bots.

Building with biology: College features Raman and team's research

February 14, 2016 -   MechSE doctoral candidate Ritu Raman.Miniature biological robots developed at Illinois are flexing their muscles. Engineers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have demonstrated a class of walking “bio-bots” powered by muscle cells and controlled with electrical pulses, giving researchers unprecedented command over their function.
Graduate
Ritu makes the case for why all grad students should focus on professional growth outside the lab.

My take on non-technical conferences

January 26, 2016 -   Hello World!   This time last year, I wrote a blog post on the different types of technical conferences I’ve had the opportunity to attend during my years in graduate school.
Graduate
Students from the GraMS group bond create a platform for encouraging interaction with each other - a soccer team.

Grad students form MechSE United soccer team

January 13, 2016 -  
Graduate
Video feature on Herschel Pangborn's experience as a MechSE grad student.

Herschel Pangborn reflects on experience as MechSE grad student

January 10, 2016 - Herschel Pangborn, a PhD candidate in Professor Andrew Alleyne's research group, talks about how Engineering at Illinois approaches graduate education with the best interest of grad students in mind, how his research group developed and maintains a commercial software toolbox, and more. 
Graduate
The Graduate Research Expo, hosted by GraMS, allowed 35 graduate students to hone their presentation skills while sharing their research with their peers.

First GraMS Graduate Research Expo a success

November 10, 2015 -   On November 9, the Graduate MechSE Students organization (GraMS) hosted the first MechSE Graduate Research Expo. Thirty-five graduate students presented their research posters to their peers while honing their poster-presentation skills.
Graduate
Check us out at these recruiting events!

MechSE Grad Recruiting Fall 2015

October 1, 2015 - MechSE Grad will be at the following events this fall - please stop by and say hello!
Graduate
MechSE grad student Rebecca Corman shares her take on grad life in MechSE at Illinois.

Grad life at MechSE: One student's perspective

September 30, 2015 -
Graduate
Graduate students in Andrew Alleyne's research group setup an interactive booth at the farmer's market in Urbana to demonstrate control systems and dynamics.

Want to learn about control systems? Go to the farmer's market!

September 7, 2015 -   Over several weekends in August at Urbana’s Market at the Square, members of MechSE Professor Andrew Alleyne’s research group, including Ashley Armstrong, Bryan Keating, and Spencer Kieffer, employed yardsticks and an inverted-pendulum balancing robot to challenge Urbana-Champaign residents' balancing skills and knowledge of sensing, control systems, and dynamics.    Market-goers of all ages were invited to determine whethe
Graduate
We're in full swing!

Fall semester underway!

August 26, 2015 - What a busy couple of weeks this has been!  We are busy getting students settled and setting everything in place for the Fall semester.  Last week was full of orientation and welcome sessions, and our GraMS students organized a lunch to welcome our new students.  We also had some of our students at the farmer's market for the past couple of weeks for an outreach activity.  Here are a couple photos from the market!  Our students will be there again this Saturday - be sure to check it out!  It's so great to see everyone back from summer!
Graduate
Master's student took third place at the annual ASME Mechanisms and Robotics Conference earlier this month.

Grad student wins ASME award for robot design

August 13, 2015 - Xiaotian Zhang (left) demonstrates his team's robot design.
Graduate
Several of Naira Hovakimyan's grad students are featured on the Autonomy Incubator blog, part of NASA.

MechSE grad students featured on NASA blog

August 12, 2015 - MechSE PhD students Bilal Mehdi and Javier Puig Navarro, both part of Naira Hovakimyan's research group, were featured earlier this summer on the Autonomy Incubator blog, as they work on coordinated flight research and testing for the NASA internship program. 
Graduate
Important dates and things to do

Fall 2015 Arrival Information

June 15, 2015 - We are looking forward to the arrival of our new students this fall!  Here are some important dates and things to do upon your arrival.
Graduate
Apply Today!

Now accepting applications for the new MEngME Degree Program

April 30, 2015 - I am excited to announce that we are now accepting applications Fall 2015 applications for the new MEngME degree program!  AND, we've made the application process even easier for the inaugural class!     -     No application fee for Illinois graduating seniors - MechSE is paying for the application fee for Illinois graduating seniors.  Email with questions regarding submitting your application and getting the waiver.
Graduate
Be a part of the inaugural class!

Info Session Announced for New MEngME Program

April 22, 2015 - As you may have heard, the new Master of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering degree was approved by the Illinois Board of Higher Education earlier this month.  This is an exciting opportunity to be a part of a world-class graduate program for Fall 2015!  We will be hosting an info session on this program this Monday, April 27th, at 4:00 pm in the Deere Pavilion in MEL.  This is especially a great info session for graduating seniors at Illinois.  See you there, and please contact me if you have any questions!
Graduate
The New MEngME is official!

The NEW MEngME Program is official!

April 13, 2015 - The halls of MEB have been active as the new Master of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering (MEngME) has been approved by the Illinois Board of Higher Education!  The first class will enroll in Fall 2015.  Interested?  Fill out our early interest form, and I'll notify you when the application system has opened for the new MEngME.  You can find more information about the new program here
Graduate
Nishana Ismail is recognized for her success and entrepreneurism by the Illinois Technology Foundation.

Grad student and entrepreneur honored with Fifty for the Future Award

March 24, 2015 - MechSE grad student Nishana Ismail (MSME ’13) has received a Fifty for the Future Award. Hosted by the Illinois Technology Foundation, the Fifty for the Future event honors University of Illinois students who have shown determination and dedication to the advancement of technology. This year, ITF presented the awards on March 10.
Graduate
MechSE grad student Jacob Wagner receives IGERT fellowship, which has allowed him to study neuroscience and conduct interdisciplinary research.

IGERT trainee uses Baxter to manipulate flexible objects

March 24, 2015 - In the Bretl Research Group, MechSE graduate student Jacob Wagner will test the group’s theoretical research on flexible object manipulation using the Baxter research robot.
Graduate
Grad student Gregory Hardy is using his NSF Fellowship to study methods of improving efficient heat transfer.

NSF fellow seeks heat transfer optimization using vortex generators

March 17, 2015 - Gregory HardyTo Gregory Hardy, his NSF Graduate Research Fellowship awarded last year, is the product of three years of commitment to the application process.
Graduate

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