College of Engineering & Computing

Student Spotlight

Rocket Engine Test Stand ImprovedRocket Engine Test Stand Improved

Vibration Dampening

Major change has been made moving from a temporary vibration inducing metal structure to a long term vibration damped concrete structure.  The test stand measures thrust and all six degees of freedom (X, Y, Z, Pitch Roll, Yaw)  The driver for having a thrust test stand is to analyze the characteristics of a motor that create spin stabilization.  Many small motors have internal fluting to cause stabilization when fired.  The stand fits a large variety of solid motor types.  Hybrid motors can be tested with some equipment modification.  This test stand was built by Florida Tech students to test the thrust properties of rocket engines.

This is a new chapter in Florida Tech’s long history of building and testing rockets. After a rigorous safety review the modified test stand was cleared for a test fire. The stand was used to characterize the rocket motors for the USLI students.  The thrust stand performed well.

Human Powered VehicleHuman Powered Vehicle

Successful first run

The Human Powered vehicle, built for speed by the mechanical engineering students as their senior design had a successful first run.  Human-powered transport is often the only type available in underdeveloped or inaccessible parts of the world, and if well designed, can be an increasingly viable form of sustainable transportation.

ASME's international Human Powered Vehicle Challenge (HPVC) provides an opportunity for students to demonstrate the application of sound engineering design principles in the development of sustainable and practical transportation alternatives. In the HPVC, students work in teams to design and build efficient, highly engineered vehicles for everyday use

FL Tech Students Fly on ZeroGFL Tech Students Fly on ZeroG

Students continue microgravity research

A team of 4 undergraduate students and 1 PhD student traveled to Houston, Texas as to fly experiments on the ZeroG research aircraft for the NASA Facilitated Access to the Space Environment for Technology (FAST) program.  Fl Tech was one of the 17 out of 52 applicants from industry and universities to win a spot on the zero gravity flight.

Our research project was dedicated to studying the behavior of liquid dynamics in reduced gravity to mimic the behavior of rocket propellants in a space environment. We were highly successful in collecting valuable data which will be used by scientists and engineers at NASA and commercial companies to benchmark and validate numerical models of liquid sloshing inside of rocket propellant tanks in micro-gravity.

  1. Brittany Essink (AE, class of 2012)
  2. Torin Crandall (AE, class of 2012)
  3. Richard Schulman (AE, class of 2012)
  4. David Becknell (AE, class of 2012)
  5. Ran Zhou (ME, doctoral student to defend PhD in December 2010)

 The team is very excited about the data and even more so about being able to provide a truly unique experience to fly in zero-gravity and to be part of a cutting-edge research program.


Student Rocketeers CertifiedStudent Rocketeers Certified

Rocket launches a sucess

Spaceport Rocketry Association held its monthly rocket launch in Palm Bay. FIT was well represented. In addition to the National Association of Rocketry Certifications listed below David Jarkey aced his test and had a perfect rocket flight for his Tripoli Level Two Certification. The Student Rocket Society had 5/6 rockets qualify for a level one certification. Jake Kapfhamer, Chris Jarry, Chris Hansen, and Esteban Guzman. Joe Bussenger had a rocket flight which flew and was partially recovered. 

Students joins NASA Virtual CommunityStudents joins NASA Virtual Community

Research leads to Zero -G

Student design projects can mentally take you to a higher plane. For Michael Vergalla the Tank Fluid Dynamics project took him on board a different kind of plane. It lead to research as a Graduate student at Florida Tech. He continued working on modeling slosh dynamics in fuel tanks under microgravity. The experiment was flown on the NASA Zero-Gravity flight in an effort to simulate and analyze the behavior of liquids in motion under simulated microgravity. 

As a result of his work Mike was one of the two Florida Tech Students who participated in the new NASA Student Ambassador Virtual Community program.  Ryan Clegg, a senior with a double major in Florida Tech's physics and space science jioned Mike in working with students across the globe on NASA projects.


Freshman Projects Score BigFreshman Projects Score Big

Pinball Wizards contect in MAE

Each year the freshman in mechanical engineering are challenged to build and compete with a team project.  This year’s project was a pinball machine.  A far cry from electronic gaming, the pinball machines created were inventive with a good deal on mechanical engineering design to make the flippers work.  This year the contest was won by Travis Martins, Jordan Liebold, Scott Weiss, Sahil Shah (from left to right).

Watch Video

The standings were:

  • In 5th PlaceTeam #18 – Alien Strikeforce
  • In 4th Place Team #7 - NaziBlaster
  • In 3rd Place Team #14 – Team Logo
  • In 2nd Place Team #3 – FIT Paintball
  • In 1st Place Team #11 - Casino

Special awards were given also. They were:

  • “Takes a Beating but Keeps on Playing” Award- Team Logo 
  • Most Popular Game -FIT Paintball Team
  •  “Nielson Award” for Most Highly rated Game-Team 11 Casino.

HORIZONS ScholarshipHORIZONS Scholarship

MAE student winner

Junior Christina Lucas was awarded the prestigious HORIZONS Foundation scholarship by Women in Defense, a National Security Organization and an affiliate of the National Defense Industrial Association. Ms. Lucas was one of three students nationally to received a scholarship. The two other students were from Carnegie Mellon University and Georgetown University.

Ms. Lucas is a junior in Mechanical Engineering. She is focused on mobile robots and unmanned autonomous vehicles. Her work as an Intern in the Robotics and Spatial Systems Lab (RASSL) at Florida Tech has resulted in the development of a six-legged robot prototype. “A basic idea of how it would be useful is that it will be able to go up and around obstacles where other robots are not able to go, therefore making it less dangerous for troops,” Lucas said. She has begun a peer-reviewed paper awaiting publication and preparation of a patent for this robot. The application is aiding troops in dangerous environments. She intends to pursue a career in the development of these types of advanced military systems.

Ocean Engineering goes to the RacesOcean Engineering goes to the Races

Freshman boat competition

Ocean Engineering freshman got the chance to participate in a design, build and race your boat competition.  This is a hands-on way of learning what it takes to model a design on the computer and get it built.  The student’s boats were manufactured on the CNC mill at Florida Tech’s machine shop.  A total of 9 boat designs were completed.  Races were held at the Southgate pool.

E-Week CompetitionE-Week Competition

Fl Tech vs. Siemens Engineers

During the E-Week, FL Tech Teams competed against 41 teams of Siemens' engineers to build a climbing device from a rat trap and rope. The competition was on Feb. 19 at Siemens/Orlando. Our first place team climber used their back-up device to climb over 12 inches.  Still, their device beat out the majority of Siemens engineering teams and made it into the qualification round of the final 16 teams.

Imagine CupImagine Cup

Fl Tech Receives Honorable Mention

Florida Tech’s programming team 1,2,3,4 won honorable mention in the 2011 Imagine Cup, USA.  Nicholas Baldwin, Ryan Knee, Ryan Small, and Stephanie Drinks competed in this event sponsored by Microsoft.  The Imagine Cup an opportunity for students to use their creativity, passion, and knowledge of technology to help solve global challenges and make a difference in the world. While competing for cash and prizes, students gain real-life experiences, make new friends, and change the world.  It is one way Microsoft encourages the brightest young minds to join together and use technology to take on the toughest problems facing our world today.

Congratulations to team 1,2,3,4!

Southeast Region (SER) programming contestSoutheast Region (SER) programming contest

The Fl Tech Team, Panter A placed 4th overall. The team of Erdal, Tim and David solved 5 problems in just over 300 minutes.  UCF (University of Central Florida had 3 teams that bested Florida Tech.  Florida Tech outscored some stiff competitors like the University of Miami, Georgia Tech, Clemson and the University of Florida. 

The regional contest director is Ryan Stansifer (Florida Tech Associate Professor in the Deptment of computer Science) Pictured are Florida Tech team Groux, Owen, and Gamez.

Florida Tech hosted the 2009 Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Southeast Region (SER) programming contest. Seventy eight programming teams from the states of MS, AL, GA, SC, and FL competed with the best team representing the region at the world finals.  This is part of the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) sponsored by IBM. Teams of three students write computer programs to solve a set of problems in five hours. The goal is to improve the skills necessary to solve problems with computers.  Like last year, the contest will be conducted in a GNU/Linux environment. The programs can be submitted in Ada, C, C++, C#, Java, Haskell, Pascal, and Python.