Worcester Polytechnic Institute

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    St Gobain 24 VSM

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    Saint-Gobain Abrasives, situated in Worcester, Massachusetts, is renowned for delivering advanced abrasive solutions across many markets. Saint-Gobain’s bond plant specializes in producing intricate abrasives and bonds for standard and customer-modified grinding wheels worldwide. Our partnership allowed us to provide engineering-driven insights and solutions to the bond plant through meticulous observation and analysis with Saint-Gobain's personnel. The primary objective of this project was to enhance the operational efficiency of the bond plant and ultimately ensure the timely delivery of finished bonds to clients. The rationale for this project is to optimize the production process by streamlining workflows and improving Saint-Gobain’s strong market position. To meet this overarching objective, we narrowed the scope of the project into multiple achievable parts. First, we comprehensively assessed the production process, using value stream mapping techniques to identify and quantify the characteristics of various process steps as well as the bottlenecks within them. Secondly, we focused on optimizing physical workspace organization by utilizing the principles of the 5S methods. On top of this, our efforts were directed towards physically documenting the primary steps in the bond creation process to act as a guide for those unfamiliar with the process. Lastly, we completed a Time Value of Money (TVM) analysis to better understand how our efforts would yield returns. The conclusions were a projected decrease in non-value-added time, increased workspace organization and capacity, and a documented and streamlined process for Saint-Gobain to use in the future. Our TVM analysis projected an approximate 10% return rate within the initial year. A 5s process improvement can often yield an elevated rate of return relative to a small investment in equipment and labor

    An Examination of Share Buyback Program Execution

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    This study analyzes the efficacy and risks of various share buyback strategies, with a particular focus on the fixed participation rate approach. This strategy aligns buyback volumes with a fixed percentage of daily trading volume, aiming to minimize market impact, mitigate financial risk, and optimize shareholder value. Using Value at Risk (VaR) for risk assessment and Long Short-Term Memory (LSTM) models for trading volume prediction, we compare the fixed participation rate strategy against traditional methods. Our findings emphasize the need for a shift from strategies focused on short-term gains to those prioritizing market stability and long-term shareholder value creation. This research offers insights for corporate decision-making, policy development, and the advancement of sustainable financial management practices

    3D Image Reconstruction of a Fossil Using Neutron Tomography

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    Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) is an interdisciplinary field encompassing various inspection techniques and principles not compromising the structural integrity of the tested objects. NDT is commonly used in medicine, mechanical engineering, materials science, and numerous applications. Neutron imaging is a very efficient tool of NDT: contrary to X-rays, neutrons, when passing through the sample, are attenuated in accordance with the sample's composition or geometrical form and produce contrasts made by light materials (e.g., hydrogen, carbon, lithium). This characteristic gives neutron imaging a particular advantage when it comes to 3D visualizations. Neutron computed tomography (NCT) found its use in visualizing the inner structure of industrial, biological, geological, engineering, and other samples of interest. In this project, a unique small fossil appearing as the vertebral column of an unknown pre-historic animal embedded in sandstone was investigated with the use of NCT. The fossil was found in the Morrison formation in Wyoming by the expedition of the Swiss Aathal Dinosaur Museum. The work in 3D image reconstruction was performed at the Swiss spallation source SINQ of the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) (Villigen, Switzerland). The fossils was exposed to a neutron beam, and the contrasts thus obtained were post-processed with the use of mathematical methods assuming the exponential law of radiation attenuation (the Beer–Lambert law) and using the Radon transform of the distribution of the linear neutron attenuation. Implementations of these methods in the three pieces of software, ImageJ, MuhRec, and Avizo, were used for visualization of the fossil. A high-resolution 3D image of the sandstone block with the embedded vertebral column of the unknown animal was successfully obtained. The image seems to be showing all parts of bones and ribs hidden inside the sandstone block. However, the initial analysis was inconclusive as it was not possible to identify, based on the visible set of bones, the animal behind this fossil. The image, along with the materials documenting the full process of visualization, was passed to the Aathal Dinosaur Museum for more detailed investigation with the help of external paleontologist with relevant expertise

    Neuromorphic Model of the Human Auditory System

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    Many people are affected by disorders of the auditory system that can make it harder to connect to other people and the rest of the world. Thus, researchers of the auditory system have attempted to replicate it in different ways in order to better understand it. However, these models tend to be limited by their levels of abstraction, which makes it difficult to chain them together for joint study. The model described in this paper sought to find a middle ground in the levels of abstraction, and to keep it as physiologically relevant as possible. To do this, the model contained parts to model the basilar membrane, inner hair cells, and the auditory nerve. Code was written to simulate the various functions of the encoding of a signal performed by the inner ear. The encoded signal was then decoded in order to assess the validity of the model. A constant 2 Hertz (Hz) signal and a short voice recording were both run through the model that produced accurate and audible results

    Optimizing Storage Tank Design for Efficient Potable Water Supply

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    Public water systems ensure the supply of safe drinking water, catering to consumer, industrial, and firefighting needs while adhering to state and federal regulations. To replace an aging tank serving 4,800 customers in New England, this project designed a 3 million gallon capacity prestressed concrete tank with a 60 ft radius, 8 ft height, and concrete dome, aligning with AWWA standards. Site selection considered topography, access, and excavation cost. Historical data and water quality reports were used to evaluate potential issues like stagnation, disinfection residual, and disinfection byproducts. A cost-effective mixing system was implemented to prevent stagnation and maintain water quality during storage

    Creating pollinator-friendly spaces on the WPI campus

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    The premise of this project is to increase pollinator populations, starting on a small scale, as well as educate the WPI campus community about pollinators and their importance. Through our project, we delved into the concepts of pollinators and pollinator gardens, their contemporary significance, factors contributing to pollinator decline, historical perspectives, and previous WPI student projects, as we build upon these foundations by providing a template for the creation of a pollinator garden on the WPI campus

    Empowering the Bucarabones Community Through STEAM Curriculum

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    This project explores the challenges in rural Puerto Rico due to school closures, limited investments in teachers and standardized teaching methods. Centro de Apoyo Mutuo Bucarabones Unido (CAMBU) is a community-center working to bridge educational gaps in Bucarabones Puerto Rico. CAMBU has developed programs to support the Bucarabones community and their needs. CAMBU currently holds basic technology and art after-school programs for their community members. Our project developed a STEAM-based curriculum for youth and adults at the CAMBU community center

    The Dodo Board Game Collection

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    Professor Dean O’Donell was a long-time, well-respected faculty member in Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s Interactive Media and Game Development Department. As part of paying tribute to his memory, the Dean O’Donell—or DoDo—IQP Team was created to integrate games donated by his spouse into both the IMGD and general WPI communities. The team's main task required cataloging, organizing, and handling the donation materials, with the final goal of having them moved into the Gordon Library's board game circulation or the IMGD classrooms. This process is intended to be repeated by future IQP teams and this paper will serve as a reference guide for those students

    Selection Criteria for Deployment of Collaborative Robots

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    The global market of Collaborative Robots has been growing in the past years, resulting in new and creative applications that fall outside of the typical manufacturing applications. Even though newer generations of Collaborative Robots have been able to thrive in many applications and processes, there are still scenarios in which Collaborative Robots underperform. The objective of this project is to create a set of criteria for users to determine whether a process can be efficiently performed by a Collaborative Robot based on its limitations. The rationale for this project is to implement new applications for collaborative robots as the industry has struggled to increase market share outside of the industrial sector. The state of the art of Collaborative Robots has been mostly present in manufacturing processes and applications due to their ability to perform repetitive tasks with consistency and precision. The methods used involved data gathering through interviews and surveys with experts across various fields, and testing of a collaborative robot. The results show our data and analysis to create the set of criteria. The conclusions are that establishing a set of criteria for Collaborative Robots applications will help individuals determine if an application is appropriate for a Collaborative Robot to perform, resulting in an expansion and diversification of the current market for Collaborative Robots

    Helping a Youth Program Grow

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    Escape Monteverde is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the mental health of Monteverde’s youth. Their programs provide opportunities for students ages 15-17 to share without judgment and develop life skills such as teamwork and critical thinking. Our project focused on assisting Escape Monteverde to initiate three main methods of fundraising: international grants, sustainers, and utilizing community partnerships, and to communicate effectively with participants, their families, and prospective funders via a website we built for the program

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