Dr. Ram Chandran believes a new breed of engineer is on the horizon at Kettering University.
DENSO North America Foundation, the nonprofit charitable arm of the DENSO International America Inc., has awarded Kettering a $100,000 grant that Chandran thinks will help the University prepare engineers in the use of the latest control systems technology available today.
The contribution will help Kettering establish a Dynamic Systems Laboratory and also support the University's MECH-430 Dynamic Systems II course, which provide core systems and controls laboratory experience for students.
Chandran, an associate professor of Mechanical Engineering at Kettering, was lead author of the Kettering proposal and coordinator for the development of the new laboratory. He believes this new facility is key in preparing the next generation of engineering leaders skilled in the latest simulation technology.
"This new laboratory will include computer systems, software, hardware and actual control systems used in real applications," he said. "Students will conduct experiments, collect and analyze data using experimental setups. In addition, students will correlate experimental data with simulation responses obtained using mathematical models developed during the class. Finally, the hands-on experience offered by this laboratory will enhance their understanding of how controls and systems work, and how to design better systems."
Judy Howald, associate vice president for Corporate and Foundation Gifts, helped develop Kettering's proposal to the foundation.
"Since the DENSO North America Foundation only recently began making grants, we're very pleased to be among the first award recipients," she said. "We look forward to a long and beneficial relationship with DENSO as well."
At Kettering, a large number of mechanical engineering students work on products that utilize multidiscipline systems at various stages of product development, such as design, testing and validation, modeling, simulation and project management. With this recent grant, Kettering's Mechanical Engineering Department will effectively put into place a new state-of-the-art laboratory that provides students an opportunity to model, simulate, analyze and examine performance using computer simulation, Chandran said.
Kettering expects to develop a series of courses that incorporate the use of the laboratory into classroom exercises and projects. One of the main features of Kettering's Dynamic Systems Laboratory includes the seamless integration of data logging, analysis and modeling packages in both time and frequency domains using off-the-shelf software packages such as MATLAB/SIMULINK and LABVIEW. Some experiments planned for the laboratory include simulation and analysis of an air-fuel ratio control system; a solenoid driven (controlled) fuel injection system; a knock control system in a spark ignition engine; an ABS control system; and an automotive climate control system. Since many of these control systems use embedded software, Kettering hopes to give students an introduction to digital control systems and their implementation using PC and related development software.
The focus of the DENSO North America Foundation is to provide grants to institutions throughout North America for educational and/or scientific purposes, with an emphasis on engineering and technology. The foundation is funded by DENSO International America Inc. and has current assets of $5 million. DENSO is also the first Japan-based automotive supplier in North America to establish a corporate foundation.