Michael P. Hennessey, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering
School of Engineering
University of St. Thomas
110 O'Shaughnessy Science Hall
2115 Summit Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55105-1079
Phone:  (651) 962-5761
Fax:  (651) 962-6419
Email:
mphennessey@stthomas.edu

Movies

ASME Mine Madness 2004
As a continuation of Machine Design and Synthesis (ENGR 320) 2003, St. Thomas mechanical engineering students Mark Onwuji, Rob Roberts, and Stefan Yanovsky designed and built a vehicle to compete in the ASME Student Design Contest within our region hosted by the University of Nebraska, Lincoln in March 2004.  The basic idea is to use the vehicle to pick up “mines” from a minefield and return as many of them as possible to a collection area in a fixed period of time.  Traversing over obstacles (such as 4x4’s and 4x8’s) makes collecting some of the mines challenging.  Performance of the St. Thomas machine was in the average range.
http://ust-pcstream1.stthomas.edu/engineering/ASME2004.wmv

ASME Bulk Material Transporter 2005
As a continuation of Machine Design and Synthesis (ENGR 320) 2004 and an ASME Club activity, St. Thomas mechanical engineering students Rob Roberts, William Stipe, and James Zoss designed and built a vehicle to compete in the ASME Student Design Contest within our region hosted by the University of North Dakota in March 2005.  The basic idea is to transport as much of the bulk material (rice in this case) as possible from the floor, up the steps and into a bin in a fixed period of time.  Two of the entrants are shown, the winner with a very efficient machine, “Rice Rocket” from SIUE (Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville) and St. Thomas’ machine which performed in the average range.
http://ust-pcstream1.stthomas.edu/engineering/ASME2005.wmv

ASME “Sip-n-Puff” Controlled Fishing Rod 2006 As a continuation of Machine Design and Synthesis (ENGR 320) 2005, and an ASME Club activity and Individual Study, St. Thomas mechanical engineering students Joe Crimando, Andrew DePompolo, Robert Ertel, and Andre Trawick designed and built a machine to compete in the ASME Student Design Contest within our region hosted by the University of Missouri, Rolla in March 2006.  The basic idea is to create a machine that could (with proper interfacing) be used by a handicapped person to fish.  Fishing entails casting accurately to different targets and retrieving the lure attached to a weight representative of a fish.  The St. Thomas machine had some problems with tangled line (due to the required storage process) but still managed to perform in the average range.
http://ust-pcstream1.stthomas.edu/engineering/ASME2006.wmv

Machine Design and Synthesis (ENGR 320) 2004 Student teams designed, built, and tested a machine to climb stairs.  The internal St. Thomas contest was a proper subset of the ASME Bulk Material Transporter 2005 Student Design Contest.  Two teams and their machines are featured, out of 7 (total).  One of the machines is based on legged locomotion and wheels and the other is based on use of tracks.  Which one will make it up and down the stairs (2 steps) without losing control?  Watch and find out!
http://ust-pcstream1.stthomas.edu/engineering/ENGR3202004.wmv

Machine Design and Synthesis (ENGR 320) 2005
Student teams designed, built, and tested a machine to cast a fishing lure.  The internal St. Thomas contest was a proper subset of the ASME “Sip-n-Puff” Controlled Fishing Rod 2006 Student Design Contest and involved casting, but no retrieval.  The goal is for the machine to cast a fishing lure to within the designated target area.  One team is featured in the video and their first 2 attempts were unsuccessful.  Will the team be successful on the last attempt?  Watch and find out!
http://ust-pcstream1.stthomas.edu/engineering/ENGR3202005.wmv

Machine Design and Synthesis (ENGR 320) 2006
Student teams designed, built, and tested a trebuchet for use at The Works. The Works is a children’s technology museum located in Edina, MN and directed by Rebecca Schatz. A trebuchet is a medieval siege weapon that was used to hurl objects (such as large stones and animals) at castles. Structural damage, direct hits, or subsequent disease and infection from rotting dead animals could impart significant damage on the castle dwellers! Approximately 30 detailed requirements were specified for the design; they pertain to such issues as the range of motion of the projectile, different modes of operation, portability, and ease of use. Students used the CAD software SolidWorks to characterize the geometry of the design and MATLAB to solve the nonlinear differential equations of motion for all 3 phases of a successful hurl (slide, free hurl, and unconstrained projectile motion). The MATLAB simulations enabled students to establish good estimates for the various design parameters such as lever arm lengths and the size of the counterweight. A midterm design review provided a mechanism for feedback from the community partner (The Works) as well as from other faculty, who offered technical advice. The video snippet features a series of short segments on 3 of the machines (out of 6 total) during “contest day,” in December of 2006. Our class was fortunate to have several small children interact with the machines; after all, they are the ultimate customers of the machine. Since the video was made, several of the better machines have made it out onto the exhibit floor on occasion at The Works. Lastly, there were 2 lab sections, with one of them being taught by Dr. Michael Johnson of 3M.
http://stream.stthomas.edu/view.htm?id=ENGR3202006

Minimum-Time Skiing Project in Kinematics and Mechanism Design (ENGR 225) J-term 2005
How does one ski down the hill in minimum time?  This is an interesting mechanics and control problem that was studied theoretically, through simulation, and experimentally.  Ignoring the friction, the solution is to initially head straight down the hill (from a dead stop) and yaw at a constant rate such that one runs through the finish.  The straight line path is not time-optimal.  The video features 2 skiers close to the base of the Bakkelyka run at Welch Village near Red Wing, MN.  One skier traverses along a straight line and the other skier traverses along a curved path downhill from the straight line path.  Which one is faster?  Secondarily, how well do the skiers adhere to the 2 solutions alluded to?

http://ust-pcstream1.stthomas.edu/engineering/MinimumTimeSkiing.wmv

Minimum-Time Sailing Summer 2004 and in Kinematics and Mechanism Design (ENGR 225) J-term 2004
How does one sail from point A to point B in minimum time?  This is an interesting mechanics and control problem that was studied theoretically, through simulation, and experimentally (for the simple case of constant winds).  Mathematically, it is classified as a type of Zermelo problem based on the calculus of variations.  This video documents the yacht that was used (C & C 38) and gives one a sense of what it was like to conduct experiments on the yacht in the Apostle Islands by Bayfield, WI.  After determining the “boat polar” using Raymarine instrumentation for wind and boat speed and a GPS unit, two optimal/competing suboptimal route cases were successfully studied experimentally, one very close to the close-hauled point-of-sail (i.e. “pinching”) and the other close to a run point-of-sail, where the effect of the “dip” in the boat polar was observed.  Several hours after this video was taken, a storm came through with high winds and the crew had to “bare-pole” it back to Bayfield!  Five members of the School of Engineering and a St. Thomas student (Colin Sullivan) participated in this project.
http://ust-pcstream1.stthomas.edu/engineering/OptimalRouting.wmv

Dynamic 3D Visualization of Stress Tensors 2004
This video demonstrates how the state-of-stress at a point can be transformed arbitrarily in 3D by changing the orientation of the differential cube as a function of time.  It is all about a change of tensor bases.  SolidWorks was used for creating animations driven by MATLAB data generated from an arbitrary time-varying Euler rotation matrix and a fixed state-of-stress provided. In that sense, it is a generalization of Mohr’s circle and if you were wondering about the magnitude of the shearing stress on a given face, it is such that the corresponding  point is within the “tri-circular” region in general.
http://ust-pcstream1.stthomas.edu/engineering/StressTensor.wmv

 

Updated February 16, 2007