Please I need help in getting ideas for my undergraduate thesis, I am a mechanical engineering student and I have been searching for a long time with no good results, if anyone has links or good ideas please help me.
That's a bit of the problem chris, I am trying to build something that would cost effective and have good maintainability in the long run and can at least power one house.
From a mechanical standpoint wind energy is ok, I am looking at fuel cells too but I feel as though all these are pointing towards electrical power production than being mechanically inclined.
Let me know what you think generally. Thanks.
I think you are being a little bit ambitious with your project and I suspect you are missing the point a little bit of an undergraduate theis. As there are many many areas to even remotely designing and building a cost effective source to power one house and it cant be done in one project.
For example some ideas I can think of regarding the wind energy thing for a home would all be along the lines of.
Feasability of A Wind Turbine for Home Power Generation in Urban Areas.
Now even this could inculde: CFD analysis of some typical air flows in an urban area (massive CFD project) showing how the air flow is disrupted by the other buildings and how its likely to make a wind turbine pointless.
I remember a project done a few years ago (i think it was a masters student) looking at why a corridor between two buildings in Sheffield was notorious for having a wind tunnel effect.
Another project could be to design a way to cheaply attach a existing small scale wind turbine (one large enough to power the average home so a few kilowatts) to a house. So looking at the forces and moments generated by a roof top wind turbine when static and from the vibrations caused by the blades rotating.
What have you been told by your University, they should have some research areas that you can look at to see what other people are looking into and doing to give you an idea of the scope.
i have always thought building your own propane refrigerator a la "The Mosquito Coast" with Harrison Ford would make for a cool project. This may be stepping into the realm of ChemE however, it does require the use of some mean chemicals.
What exactly do you mean by undergraduate thesis? I'm sure this isn't quite to graduate thesis scale, but is it more/less than final year project? Same?
Either way, if you're looking into alternative energies, I'm kind of inclined to agree with Chris. I think it would be interesting to do a topic of the INfeasibility of small scale alternative power. Look at the options of buying vs. cost savings. Then perhaps look at cost/design of manufacturing something from scratch. Maybe have a table which compares the cost of various technologies to power a single light bulb.
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