Engineering major assists in research at Georgia Tech

October 26, 2015
Mark Cops

PLATTEVILLE, Wis — From June 1 to Aug. 27, Mark Cops, a senior mechanical engineering major at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, participated in a Research Experience for Undergraduates at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Ga.

“The goal of the project is to harvest energy from noise in hydraulic systems,” Cops said. “Energy suitable for low power applications such as self-sufficient wireless sensors.”

Prior to the research, Cops and 20 other students attended introductory fluid power lectures and toured the lab facilities at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., for a week before heading to their designated research facilities.

For the next 10 weeks, Cops worked in the Integrated Acoustics Laboratory at the Georgia Institute of Technology on an ongoing project sponsored by the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power, a National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center. The project was titled, “Hydraulic Pressure Energy Harvesting.”

“I started the summer by testing a previously manufactured Hydraulic Pressure Energy Harvester prototype. The prototype results were below expectation,” Cops said. “I was then responsible for the design of a new HPEH prototype with the hopes of harvesting more power and being able to troubleshoot what was going wrong with the old one. The prototype was designed and then manufactured in the machine shop at Georgia Tech. We were able to test it and it turned out that we got good results and were able to pinpoint where the initial problem was.” 

Cops worked under Dr. Kenneth A. Cunefare, a professor of mechanical engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Ellen Skow, a graduate research assistant. Various undergraduates have contributed to the research over the last three years.

“I found research to be highly self motivated,” Cops said. “You will get out as much as you put in which, as with other things, will often require a lot of hard work.”

Cops presented his research at the Fluid Power Innovation and Research Conference 2015 in Chicago, Ill., from Oct. 14-16.

Written by: Sara Newquist, University Information and Communications, 608-342-1194,


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