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Summer Undergraduate Research in Engineering (SURE)

SURE offers summer research internships to outstanding current U-M undergraduate students who have completed their sophomore or junior year (preference will be given to those who have completed three years of study) by the time of their internship.  Participants have the opportunity to conduct 10-12 weeks of full-time summer research with some of the country’s leading faculty in a wide range of engineering disciplines. The program provides opportunities for students to assess their interests and potential in pursuing research at the Masters or Ph.D. level in graduate school.  All participants must apply online through the SURE website.  Accepted applicants from the University of Michigan receive guidance by a faculty advisor in a College of Engineering research facility, a stipend of $6,000, attend regular meetings and seminars and contribute to an abstract booklet with highlights of their summer research project and/or experience.

Selection Process: Once the SURE Manager has shared your application with the Department, we will provide the eligible applications to the Faculty Mentors who will review your application materials. It is possible that they will reach out to you directly for further information. You do not need to do anything else, but if you have any specific questions regarding a SURE Project, you are welcome to reach out to the listed Faculty Mentor. Any notification of an offer will be sent from the SURE Manager.

General Timeline:
January – Application opens and is due
February – Applications are reviewed
March – Offers will begin being sent out
April – Offers may still be issued during this time
May – SURE Projects may begin

Learn more:

The 2023 SURE application opens on January 4, 2023.
Click here to access and submit application.

The application is due January 20, 2023

Mechanical Engineering 2023 SURE Research Projects


ME Project #1: Dynamics of Piezoelectric Microsystems
Faculty Mentor: Kenn Oldham,
Prerequisites: Statics and or dynamics coursework
Project Description: Piezoelectric microsystems are miniature sensors and actuators that convert strain to voltage, and vice versa, in devices just a few millimeters in size.  Applications include miniature robotics, medical devices, and micro-assembly.  In this project, the student will perform a combination of experimental testing and dynamic modeling of devices fabricated by the Microdynamics Laboratory in Mechanical Engineering, to better understand motions that are feasible for these miniature engineered systems.
Research Mode: Hybrid, In-Lab 

ME Project #2: Oil Wicking Through Dendrites
Faculty Mentor: Solomon Adera,
Project Description: Experimental characterization and modeling of oil wicking through porous ice dendritic network.
Research mode: In-Lab

ME Project #3: Sessile Water Droplet Evaporation
Faculty Mentor: Solomon Adera (
Project Description: Experimental characterization and modeling of the evaporation of a sessile water droplet residing on micro/nanotextured oil-impregnated surfaces.
Research mode: In-Lab

ME Project #4: Engineering Synthetic Exocytosis
Faculty Mentor: Allen Liu,
Project Description: Building synthetic cells is an exciting area of synthetic biology with opportunities to unravel basic design and organizational principles of cellular life and for biomedical applications. The current paradigm in the construction of a bottom-up synthetic cell system involves the creation of more sophisticated cell-like systems based on current understanding of cellular designs. We are interested in creating a synthetic cell that can secrete contents upon a stimulus. This is akin to how natural platelets and macrophages secrete enzymes when they become stimulated. In this project, we are using complementary peptides or DNA strands to induce fusion between two membranes and developing strategies to have membrane fusion be dependent on calcium ions. Ultimately, we want to develop synthetic cells that can sense mechanical forces to trigger release of small molecules. Such systems will have profound implications in the future development of cell-based therapy. As part of the team, the student involved will have an opportunity to learn various in vitro biology and imaging techniques. Candidates with interests in biology and hands-on lab work are highly desirable. Basic knowledge in chemistry and molecular biology is a plus.
Research Mode: In-Lab

ME Project #5:  Design and Testing Optimization of a Salt Hydrate Reactor
Faculty Mentor: Bala Chandran, Rohini,
Prerequisites: Thermo-dynamics, Introduction to Programming
Desirable Pre-requisites: Intro to Heat Transfer, SolidWorks/CAD, MATLAB, COMSOL, Arduino, Desire to do hands-on experiments
Project Description: Salt hydrates offer the ability to store thermal energy to enable deeper penetration of renewables. By absorbing and releasing water vapor from the air, salt hydrates can shift building heating and cooling loads. Although promising, current salt hydrate reactors tend to be demonstrations and suffer from a lack of design optimization. This project will focus on the design and testing of a lab-scale reactor prototype to see how system parameters impact the performance of the salts. Experimental results will be coupled with existing multi-physics models to gain fundamental insight into the limiting mechanisms that guide power output and cyclability. These results will help create a design guide to inform future efforts in salt hydrate reactors.
Research Mode: In-Lab

ME Project # 6: Life Cycle Assessments and Policies: Why It Matters for Hydrogen and Other Fuels
Faculty Mentor: Volker Sick,
Project Description: The need for and interest in the production of hydrogen as well as fuels from carbon dioxide is increasing rapidly. There are significant technical, financial, and regulatory barriers to overcome to build up the associated industry. This project will analyze an example production process and how its success will depend on the availability of suitable policy support. With the passage of the Infrastructure law and the inflation reduction act, the US now has several instruments in place to support the construction and operation of new production plants. The project will examine how policies will favor or support particular technology pathways.
Research Mode: In-Lab, Hybrid

ME Project #7: 3D-Printing of Custom Assistive Devices
Faculty Mentor
: Albert Shih,
Project Description: This project explores the use of 3D-printing (also known as additive manufacturing) for custom assistive devices to improve the quality of care for people with disabilities. The project works closely with the University of Michigan Orthotics and Prosthetics Center (UMOPC) with the goal to develop design and manufacturing methodologies for a new service system for rapid turn-around and high-quality 3D-printing of assistive devices that will have personalized fit and comfort. Such assistive devices include lower and upper limb prosthesis, orthoses for diabetes partial foot amputees, ankle-foot orthoses for stroke patients. Contact modeling based on computed tomography (CT) or 3D scanning images will be developed to design the geometry.
Research Mode: In-Lab

ME Project #8: Freeze Casting with Improved Thermal Control
Faculty Mentor:
Wenda Tan,
Prerequisites: design, manufacturing, mechatronics
Project Description: Freeze casting is a cost-effective way to fabricate directional porous ceramics materials ( In the current process, the freezing usually starts from a stationary cold plate. As the freezing front moves away from the cold plate, the temperature gradient and cooling rate at the freezing front are reduced, causing the porous microstructure to gradually change. The variation of porous microstructure along the freeze direction introduces directional inconsistency to the final products, which is a great challenge for the freeze casting process. In this project, we plan to design and prototype a freeze casting system to enable improved control of thermal conditions. The project, if successful, will allow the fabrication of consistent porous ceramics microstructure along the freezing direction.
Research Mode: In-Lab 

ME Project #9: Computational Studies of High-Speed Interfacial Flows
Faculty Mentor: Eric Johnsen,
Project Description: In this project, the student will computationally investigate the evolution of interfaces separating different fluids (e.g., bubbles, droplets, etc.) undergoing large accelerations. The scientific goal is to better understand how interfaces deform under such accelerations and how rapidly the different fluids mix. Depending on the student’s interests, the project may emphasize basic flow physics studies using large-scale numerical simulations, numerical methods development, and/or data-driven modeling/machine learning. Motivating applications range from biomedical (cavitation-bubble dynamics in therapeutic ultrasound or traumatic brain injury) to energy (interfacial instabilities in inertial confinement fusion), from transportation (droplets dynamics in hypersonics, cavitation erosion in naval hydrodynamics) to astrophysics (vortex rings in supernovae).
Research Mode: In-Lab, Remote, or Hybrid

ME Project #10:  Shape Memory Alloys for Gripping Middle Ear Prostheses
Faculty Mentor: Karl Grosh,

Project Description: The middle ear bones are the smallest bones in the human body (1 millimeter in diameter and ~10 millimeters long).  These bones are responsible for transmitting sound from the outer ear to the fluid-filled  cochlea which then sends signals to the brain.  Over 360 million people worldwide and 30 million people in the US suffer from significant hearing loss (loss that affects their daily life), and auditory prostheses (hearing aids and cochlear implants) make a significant difference in people’s lives.  We have a project to build ultra miniature and lightweight (less than 10 milligrams – lighter than a rice grain) accelerometers that fit on the middle ear bones to enhance the safety, usability, and comfort of auditory prostheses..  Our work in fabricating the accelerometers is progressing with benchtop and human testing underway, but we need a robust way to hold the accelerometer and attach it to the middle ear bones.  In this SURE project, we explore the design and manufacture of tiny grips, related to some already used in middle ear bone (ossicular) replacement surgery, like Grace Medical’s Megerian Nitinol SRP, are contemplated; however our needs are different and a modified approach is indicated.  We have already begun this redesign phase, creating CAD drawings and ideation of the design, and look to continue this process.  Interaction with engineering and medical school faculty are planned.
Research Mode: In-Lab