student doing engineering research project

10 Virtual Engineering Research Project Ideas for High Schoolers

Research Opportunities and Ideas
Jordan Ellington, Jin Chow

Have you been thinking about exploring your interest in engineering but aren’t sure where to start? You’re in luck! There are dozens of engineering focused career options out there and we’re almost certain that you can find one that aligns with your curiosity. The top three engineering degrees fall within the categories of mechanical, electrical and civil engineering, but there are a plethora of other options to investigate!

Although often associated with hands-on laboratory work, there are plenty of fun and advanced engineering projects you could engage with in the comfort of your own home.

Here’s a list of 10 virtual research project ideas to get you started. To get started on your own research project learn more here.

1) Understanding Structural Failures

Type: Civil Engineering, Architecture
Level: Beginner

Although it’s devastating when buildings collapse, these failures leave us with a learning opportunity to explore. Identify a destroyed building or structure and start looking for clues! Why did the building collapse and what could have prevented it? With consent, feel free to interview the individuals who were troubled by this structural failure. How did this event impact the individuals local to the area?

Idea by mentor Caroline

2) Review of Artificial Clots For Preclinical Testing of Endovascular Medical Devices

Type: Biomedical Engineering
Level: Beginner

The medical device industry is looking to improve the ways in which they test their endovascular devices. This is a chance for you to gain a better understanding of how certain devices work, and to help come up with ideas to make them better. Your goal will be to write a review paper to better explain your findings and thoughts.

Idea by mentor Bo

3) Design a product from concept to physical prototype in 10 days

Type: Mechanical Engineering
Level: Intermediate

Mechanical engineering is a good direction to take if holding a physical product in your hand intrigues you! If the only thing holding you back from not designing your own product is simply not knowing how, this project is for you. Let your mentor help guide you through the steps from beginning to end to help provide you with the knowledge needed to design a product of your choice.

Idea by mentor Weixun

4) Electrifying ammonia synthesis

Type: Chemical engineering
Level: Intermediate

Fertilizers, along with many chemical products, contain Ammonia as a base. The issue that we face with ammonia is that it is being created through the Haber-Bosch process. Is there a better way to produce ammonia that doesn’t require the burning of fossil fuels, yet makes use of renewable energy?

Idea by mentor James

5) Electrical Engineering - Systems Exploration (data / energy)

Type: Electrical Engineering
Level: Intermediate

How is technology so smart? By simply pressing a button you communicate with your device and it knows what you’re asking it to do, but how? Select an application of your choice to thoroughly examine from the inside out. Take a deeper dive into the engineering process to better understand the complexity of each system. The final project will include a detailed case study covering one piece of the stack, along with a survey of your findings.

Idea by mentor Bob

6) Energy Harvesting in Space

Type: Aerospace Engineering
Level: Intermediate

How can we better power a spacecraft? It has been a constant challenge to keep a spacecraft charged while in space for a long period of time. The power generation that we currently have works fine for the time being but will only get us so far. What are some creative ways to power a spacecraft for a longer period of time? You can either brainstorm new ideas or investigate current ideas to help research a better way to help make this happen!

Idea by mentor Ashwyn

7) Snow Shovel

Type: General Engineering
Level: Intermediate

It’s tough to recreate an already existing product to make it better. Challenge yourself! Create a new and improved snow shovel. Why is your shovel better than the old model?

Idea by mentor Hassan

8) What attributes make a good airplane?

Type: Aerospace Engineering
Level: Intermediate

Let’s talk about airplanes! There are so many different types, some of which look drastically different from one another. Take a deeper dive into each design choice and why they might be built the way they are. What does the plane benefit from each of the features? Once studied, create your own airplane design!

Idea by mentor Tanay

9) Designing a Hydroponics System

Type: Bioengineering
Level: Advanced

Imagine an environment of your choice and select a hydroponics system that you feel is the most appropriate fit. The goal is to find out which types of plants will thrive in your environment. It’s your job to calculate nutrition, timing, and flow rates to get to the bottom of this. Design your system in a 3D modeling platform to prove how your creation can produce food for your area throughout the year.

Idea by mentor Lexi

10) Computer Animated Design & Manufacturing (CAD/CAM)

Type: General Engineering
Level: Advanced

Engineering relies heavily on digital 3D models from start to finish. These models help portray the ideas at hand in a more realistic way. Thankfully, our 3D printers today are intricate enough to assist with creating a 3D model and seeing the outcome very quickly. Choose an object around your school or house that needs to be fixed or adjusted! It’s time to learn about 3D printing while also designing a new part.

Idea by mentor Tony

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