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Graduate student challenges himself to pursue engineering dream

MAE graduate student Quanqi Dai (right) and his faculty advisor Ryan L. Harne, assistant professor, in the Laboratory of Sound and Vibration Research. MAE graduate student Quanqi Dai (right) and his faculty advisor Ryan L. Harne, assistant professor, in the Laboratory of Sound and Vibration Research. “Engineering is always a verb for me,” said graduate student Quanqi Dai when asked why he chose to study mechanical engineering. “I enjoy the process of making scientific discoveries for practical applications and sharing them with others.”

Dai is a graduate research associate in the Laboratory of Sound and Vibration Research (LSVR), led by Ryan L. Harne, assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Dai’s research focuses on nonlinear structural dynamics and vibration energy harvesting. He hopes to develop a novel approach to supplying electrical energy, which could serve as an alternative to traditional batteries. These efforts, which were recognized for their importance throughout the research community, were recently published in the Journal of Intelligent Material Systems and Structures.

“Quanqi has been an integral member of our lab since its establishment,” said Harne. “Early on during his senior undergraduate year he showed his skills at experimental fabrications and undertaking, helping to lead critical experiments that resulted in a paper published in the Journal of Sound and Vibration. During his graduate program he has broadened his strengths to include theoretical and simulation work in the studies on converting kinetic energies into electrical power.”

“I enjoy this work because it gives me the opportunity to apply what I learn from textbooks into promising applications,” said Dai.

Dai’s research didn’t happen by chance. He left home to follow his dream of becoming an engineer, and hasn’t looked back since.

Prior to becoming an Ohio State student, Dai spent a year at Wuhan University of Technology in China, located in his hometown of Wuhan and where both of his parents were employed.

“I have always been a ’good’ son and student who strictly obeyed my parents and teachers,” said Dai. “However, after one year of college in China, I realized that my life has always been controlled and planned by others. I didn't want to continue living that life. I decided to leave my hometown to study abroad. I wanted to challenge myself, take charge of my life and pursue something I was really interested in.”     

More than five years of studying and research experience at Ohio State has laid a solid foundation for Dai. Following his expected autumn 2017 graduation, he is eager to use what he has learned in an industry setting.

“Quanqi’s contributions to the LSVR team are sincere and he has helped to mentor and guide numerous undergraduates who work with us on diverse projects,” said Harne. “When Quanqi graduates and moves on to an industry research role, his place in our lab will be tough to fill!”


- Colleen Herr, Center for Automotive Research (CAR)