Mechanical Engineering Senior Design Week

Each year, seniors from the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering participate in Senior Design, in which students showcase a variety of senior design projects that they built throughout the semester. 
The course is split into a Mechanical Engineering Senior Design Course and an Aerospace Engineering Senior Design Course, both of which task students with specific issues they must solve by designing and building a prototype of a product or device that could aid in a variety of different applications. 

In the 2023 Mechanical Engineering Senior Design course, there were 8 sections comprised of 217 total students. 

The students presented and demonstrated their projects across three senior design days, during which each team would pine for the favor of the judges and industry sponsors that would select the winning teams for each project. 

Ingersoll Rand was a new Senior Design sponsor this year and they challenged students to design an Inlet Dehumidification System (IDe) for Ingersoll Rand that will operate upstream of the air compressor system to reduce the possibility of condensation forming in the compressor. The design was required to be non-hazardous, quiet and compact. The unnamed first place team in this section was comprised of students Harper McCraw, Matt Rouse, Ethan Kamm, Holden Carroll and Will Philpott.

Daimler Trucks was another new MAE Senior Design sponsor sponsored a project and tasked students with improving safety, ergonomics and efficiency by designing a durable system that would be used in downloading of different cab sizes. Team A, comprised of students Claire Kabrich, Christian Martin, Jinwook Jung, Kyle Dale and Samantha Pendergrass, took first place in this section. 

Longtime Senior Design Sponsor John Deere challenged students this year to prototype a lawn mower discharge chute design that would close off the space between the mower deck and ground when the discharge chute was in the up position, but would allow the mower to operate as normal when the discharge chute was in the down position. The winning team in this section was DeerePack, made up of students Dustin Best, Ethan Garrott, Jason Smith and Jacob Michalowski.


Another returning Sponsor, Pentair, tasked seniors with designing a device that is capable of automatically measuring out and dispensing a particular amount of solid pool chemical into a pool pump return line by the push of a single button, and Pentair plans to integrate the student designs into their current pool pad setup. The Winning team in the Pentair section was Team Vortex.

Another veteran Senior Design sponsor, Caterpillar, asked students to design and manufacture the mounting mechanism for trimble displays. These displays are mounted inside the cab and allow the operator to monitor blade attachments during operations. The requirement of the redesigned mounting mechanism included having the ability to reposition the display in the middle of the door for easy operations and to move it out of sight when the machine was not in use. Team Heimlich was placed first in this section.

The Bob Barker project this year was to design and fabricate a janitorial handle which can be used for cleaning cells and pods in correctional facilities. Further, this handle needs to withstand forces generated during regular cleaning and cannot be used for any malicious intent and purposes. The winning team, The Handle Scandals, was comprised of Dinah Gorodesky, Alondra Martinez-Arroyo, Owen Sondergard, Max Sudderth and Gaoyuan Xu.

The final 2023 sponsored Senior Design project was from Zurn, who asked students to design an automated flow rate control system that utilizes a battery-powered stepper motor to operate a ceramic-cartridge valve. The winning team, Zurn Rush, was comprised of students amon Merritt, Duncan Hinson, Joel Reynolds, Parker Morrison and Zack Hannah.

In addition to the sponsored projects, the PackMotorsports Formula and Baja SAE teams participated in their own mechanical engineering senior design projects, each of which pertain to a specific portion of their 2023 Formula or Baja vehicles.

The first Baja team Senior Design project consisted of designing uprights for their 2023 SAE competition where design of these uprights is critical as it is a load-bearing member acting as a physical mounting for suspension arms and wheel assembly. 2023’s design has achieved required goals of reducing the weights of these uprights considerably without compromising with the strength of the part.Speaking of numbers, they have been able to reduce the weight of the part by 60%.

The second Baja Senior Design project focused on making a 4-wheel drive system which is mandated by SAE for their competitions where this 4-wheel drive system will help in transfer of torque to all 4 wheels for better acceleration and off-road performance. They have designed the system such that this 4-wheel drive system can be engaged/disengaged when necessary so that when the forward wheels do not need to be active the 4-wheel drive system can be turned off to ensure minimal loss in engine power.

Finally, the Formula SAE Active Thermal Cooling System team designed an active cooling system for the accumulator which is responsible for removing heat from the battery pack via a working fluid. The project comprises design of plate assembly with milled out surfaces which induce turbulence in the working fluid such that the maximum allowable temperature is 60 degree Celsius. They demonstrated their design by setting up the test bed with all the components in place with temperature sensors which showed promising performance in dissipating heat from the working fluid with minimal pressure loss.

These three designs are all implemented into the 2023 Baja and Formula SAE competition cars.

Join us at our next Mechanical Engineering Senior Design Week, Spring 2024.

Details coming soon.