I'm a PhD student in mechanical engineering, although my research is more interdisciplinary. My supervisor's background is in electrical/mechatronics engineering.

There is a mechanical design project I volunteered to help with early on during my studies, thinking it wasn't too much work. It turned out to be a lot more complicated than I thought, involving designing and putting together a custom battery pack, which I didn't have any experience with before. This project is not related to my main research and I don't want to make it the main project since I am no longer interested in mechanical design.

My supervisor thinks it is as straightforward as welding some conductors to the batteries and running it once without a balancing circuit to get a heat distribution. My supervisor has been pushing me to complete this, but both me and our project manager (with experience in mechanical design/fabrication) are not very confident about it. Some issues I can think of are batteries getting shorted during the welding process (because of our custom holding structure), the risk of running the pack without monitoring/balancing, or if we want to use a commercial battery management system, the time it will take to set that up, both software wise and wiring wise since we don't have provisions for the wires.

On the one hand I know this project needs to be done as soon as possible so my supervisor can deliver it to his funding agency, on the other hand I don't know how much more time I need to drain into this before getting it to work and I can't make my supervisor believe this is more complicated than he thinks.

In terms of the funding situation, I'm not entirely sure where my funding is from and which source this project is for since my supervisor has multiple sources. Although it was made clear that my supervisor doesn't intend for this to be my main project.

Would appreciate it if I could get some perspectives on the situation.

  • Are you being funded to work on this project? Oct 12, 2022 at 17:57
  • Probably yes, although my supervisor has multiple funding sources and I'm not entirely sure which project/person belongs to which. Oct 12, 2022 at 18:01
  • 1
    If you are an RA, then your PI can tell you what to work on 20 hours a week. You should figure that out first. Oct 12, 2022 at 18:06


You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .