Senior Design Project
The Capstone Courses: Senior Design Project
In the final year, our mechanical engineering students are required to take MEEN 401 and MEEN 402 in successive semesters. These courses largely represent the culminating experience of their degree program, requiring them to draw upon the knowledge gained in previous years, and to hone their skills as engineers entering the workforce. The students are required to perform the design for a realistic project, sometimes chosen by themselves or the faculty, or sometimes chosen by our industry partners. These activities provide the students with their first real-life design experience and teaches them that every engineering project is different and presents new challenges, and that for each project an engineer must call upon his or her coursework, ingenuity, experience, and collaborative skills. In the first semester, the students, working in teams of three or four, perform the conceptual design, involving an assessment of various alternatives, and associated issues, such as materials, technologies, failure modes, costs and benefits, safety, feasibility and manufacturability, etc. Students then develop a “scope-of-work” and an anticipated time-line and a budget for the various tasks. The project is then developed in the second semester, and includes laboratory testing, machining, computer modeling, and/or fabrication. It requires our students to obtain the required information not merely from their previous coursework but also from variety of other courses, thus inculcating the need for life-long learning. The students present their capstone projects to a large audience consisting of industry representatives and others, at the end of the second semester. Our recent senior design projects include:
Shell Eco-Marathon Urban Car Concept Dynamometer
The Shell Eco Marathon (SEM) tournament is an annual competition for designing the most eco-friendly car by utilizing the least amount of fuel. Determining the car’s performance in terms of power, torque and fuel consumption across a range of speeds gives competitors useful information to help them determine how to fine-tune the engine or how to drive the vehicle for optimum fuel efficiency. This work outlines our effort to design a portable dynamometer for measuring speed, torque, and hence power of an SEM while participating in competition.
Design of a Flywheel Installation and Manipulation Device
A flywheel is a mechanical device capable of storing and re-directing rotational energy to drive mass transportation systems such as metros and trams. However, installation and maintenance of a flywheel system is time-consuming and labor intensive. To overcome this, we have partnered with Williams Advanced Engineering to design a safe, lightweight and easy-to-transport device that is capable of lifting a 1200 kg flywheel, and can be operated by two service personnel with minimal vibrations.