SUNY Korea MEC Students Win Award at National Engineering Contest

A team of MEC students consisting of Jihyun Baek, Namju Lee, Norak Rin, and Giseon Sung, under the supervision of MEC Professor Gun Woong Bahng, participated in the 11th National University Fluid Engineering Contest, held during the 2019 Korean Society of Mechanical Engineering (KSME) Conference, from November 13 to 16. Their project, titled “Ceiling Fan Design: Efficiency Improvement” received third place. We recently spoke with Jihyun Baek (senior, MEC) about the project and the award. 


1. How do you feel about winning this award?

Jihyun Baek (JB): In fact, I didn’t expect the award because the time was limited to prepare the project. It was a good experience just to have the opportunity to participate and to present our project in the competition.


2. How did you find out about the contest?

JB: My classmate introduced me to this contest and asked if I wanted to enter. I was attending a class on fluid engineering systems, so I thought the competition would be a great opportunity for me to get a better understanding of fluid engineering.


3. What is the title of the awarded project?

JB: The project title is “Ceiling Fan Design: Efficiency Improvement.” Since there is no standard for designing and manufacturing ceiling fans, my team found design studies are necessary to increase the efficiency of ceiling fans. Therefore, we redesigned the wing feathers from the existing ceiling fans to improve the efficiency.


4. What motivated you to get interested in this topic? 

JB: In Thermal System Design class, we had a discussion about ceiling fans. At that time, I was wondering why ceiling fans, which are widely used in Southeast Asia, America and Africa, are not much used in Korea. I looked up ceiling fans on the internet and found out that there is no official standard design for ceiling fans. That was what sparked this project.


5. What were some of the challenges you faced?

JB: The invention of the air conditioner has reduced the use of ceiling fans, and moreover, fans have become a non-lucrative business. Therefore, it was hard to find materials or related studies regarding ceiling fans.


6. What was your most meaningful personal achievement during this process? What have you learned?

JB: I learned a lot from other teams that participated in the competition, especially how other Korean universities conduct research and how it is different from our university, an American university. Even though our project was not perfect due to time limits, I learned that it is important to complete and present what is prepared with confidence and not give up until the end. 

In the beginning, looking at the other teams, I felt my team wasn’t ready. However, I made up my mind, and thought, “Let’s do this!” thinking about the tremendous effort our team had put into the project. While I was discouraged after our presentation, I was delighted to hear we got an award. I realized how important it is not to give up.


7. Do you have a motto?

JB: Finish what you start. Grab the opportunity when it comes.


8. What do you think about the future of Mechanical Engineering?

JB: In the hundreds of years since the birth of machines, they have never left people, they rather have become closer, and now we can’t imagine life without them. In the coming hundreds and thousands of years, machines will not disappear. Mechanical engineering studies everything about the machine, from analysis, design, manufacture, security of finished product etc. Unless the machine disappears, I think the future of mechanical engineering will be endless. Since there are no areas where machines are not used, mechanical engineers are needed in every field.


9. What is your goal and future plan? 

JB: After graduating, I plan to pursue a Master’s degree in manufacturing at Stony Brook University in New York because I want to study more about manufacturing in which I am most interested among the disciplines of mechanical engineering. In the future, I want to gain field experience to learn how knowledge learned is being utilized in industry. My final goal is to help design and manufacture cars or airplanes and see my finished products running.


10. Do you have any message for MEC students?

JB: Don’t give up and do your best until the end. Never give up before you try hard. I am not smart or brilliant. However, I have almost completed studying four years of mechanical engineering and now I’m going for a Master’s degree. All of you can also do it. Think of the first time you submitted your application to mechanical engineering and of yourself as a mechanical engineer in the future. If you do your best in every class in every semester with the same passion you first entered, you will never regret it. Let’s go, MEC!