Industrial Engineering Student Presents Research at Honors Symposium

On Saturday, April 20, Honors College engineering students presented research projects they had been working on for the past two semesters. Ninety-one students and 27 faculty mentors participated in the symposium. The students’ work was judged by a panel of former symposium students, teaching assistants and engineering graduate students. Awards were given for Best Paper, Best Poster and Best Presentation in each of ten tracks, and a Best Overall Project Award was given to one team.

“I hope you appreciate your faculty mentors, who are inviting you into their world of research,” said Bob McMath, dean of the Honors College, in the keynote address at the event. “Thanks to their efforts, and yours, the University of Arkansas is building a national reputation for outstanding undergraduate research.”

Tyler Beneke and Austin Cash received the Best Overall Project award for their project, titled “Design and Analysis of the Prototype Container of the Physical Internet.” Beneke and Cash worked with industrial engineering professor Dr. Russell D. Meller. Their project involved creating a standardized modular container that could be used by the trucking industry. A standardized container would increase efficiency by protecting materials during transport and helping trucking companies ensure that their trucks are full.

The students used special software to figure out how to make a box that was lightweight, robust and easily collapsible. Their box also needed a lid, and the boxes needed to have interlocking parts so they could attach to each other. They had to determine which materials to use and perform cost analyses and stress tests.

Beneke, who will enter the industrial engineering program in the fall, explained that this project taught her a lot about engineering. “I didn’t realize that everything is so interconnected,” she explained. “It takes a group of different kinds of engineers to produce something.”

Cash, who will be studying mechanical engineering, explained he was excited to be able to contribute to Dr. Russell D. Meller’s broader research project, which involves the Physical Internet, an effort to increase the efficiency and sustainability of transportation logistics. “It's really cool to have worked on something of such magnitude,” said Cash, who plans to continue to work with Meller, refining the design of the container. “The thought of being part of something bigger has given me a new perspective on things.”

Release date: 5/10/2013