Senior Capstone Design
The Senior Capstone Design Program in Mechanical Engineering builds on our lab-based, hands-on curriculum to provide students with “their first job,” a project supplied by companies and entrepreneurs. These clients benefit from having a student team address their dynamic goals and tight budgets, and provide a fresh perspective.
Our Senior Capstone Design teams are formed based on student background, interests, and strengths. Student teams are advised by an eight-person advisory team, the members of which are specially selected for their technical expertise and for their proven ability to guide students through solving real-world, applied problems.
The projects span two semesters, beginning with the development of a project plan, whereby students define end-user needs, client needs, design objectives and constraints, and metrics for success. Proceeding through concept generation and selection, and then through the system- and component-level design stages, each team ultimately produces a working prototype that is tested and refined to meet the project objectives. Projects commence in late August and early January.
Examples of Recent Projects View all 2014 Projects
Heat Stress Prevention Kit
Team Members: Jessica Buck, Sean Mackey, Sophia Rizzo, Nicholas Sill, John Schuman, Joshua Kizer, Mikhail Alexander, Mechanical Engineering
Advisors: Jaclyn Johnson, Kevin Johnson, Bill Endress, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Sponsor: Air Force Research Lab
To design for a wearable cooling device for soldiers in the field. The team won top prize at the Air Force Research Lab University Design Challenge
Read More: Heat Stress Prevention Kit
Limited Edition RAM Truck Tailgate—Structure
Christian Vreeland, Thomas Gruber, Evan
Rosemore, and Taylor Erva, Mechanical Engineering
Gregory Odegard, Mechanical Engineering-
Chrysler Group LLC
Our team worked in collaboration with another Senior Design team to develop a special edition lightweight carbon fiber tailgate for use in the next generation RAM 1500 for Chrysler Group LLC. The prototype tailgate was expected to reduce current production weight by 25 percent while maintaining loading integrity and integrating a custom selling feature.
Automatic Loading and Unloading Gravity Flow Rack System
Team Members: Jeffrey Baker, Andrew Crepeau, Samantha Kallman, Clay Sekely, and Halley Shawbitz, Mechanical Engineering
Advisor: Paul van Susante, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Sponsor: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
We are tasked with the complete design and prototype of a mechanism that couples a material rack to an assembly rack, transfers full containers of parts from the material rack to the assembly rack, and transfers empty containers from the assembly rack to the material rack.
Center Beam Railcar Repurpose Design
Jocelyn Tervo, Riley Peterson, Becky Schlak,
William Melcher, Alec Bolthouse, and Nathaniel
Scheetz, Mechanical Engineering
Kevin Johnson, Mechanical Engineering-
NU-Rail and Michigan Tech Rail Transportation
There are currently thousands of idle center beam railcars being stored across the United States. These railcars were once heavily used for carrying dimensional lumber, but after the housing industry crashed they were not fully utilized. Our team has been tasked with the objective to create a conversion design that will enable the use of these idle railcars in a growing industry, specifically the oil industry. We must create a conversion design with multiple constraints and objectives in mind.
Honorable Mention 2015 Design Expo Award Winner
Dynamometer Calibration Device
Team Members: Kristopher Benaglio, Christopher DeGroot, Adam Deibler, Kenneth Smith, Mechanical Engineering
Advisor: Paul van Susante, Mechanical Engineering-
Sponsor: John Deere
Project Overview: This design team is working with John Deere to develop a new dynamometer torque meter
calibration device. A dynamometer, commonly referred to as a dyno, is a popular test instrument used to measure variables such as torque, speed, and power output. The current calibration method used by John Deere utilizes a static weight stack attached to a moment arm. This design must be replaced because it exceeds the dynamometer test cell envelope, is difficult to transport from test cell to test cell, requires considerable time and effort for two workers to assemble and disassemble, and requires the repetitive lifting of 40 to 45 pound weights.
Hand-Crank Cycle Integration
Bethany Aebli, Greg DeVillers, Jacqueline Kukulsi, Elizabeth Reinke, and Alicia Walby, Mechanical Engineering
Paul van Susante
Hand cycles for disabled athletes are currently unreliable and require designs that meet their needs while remaining competitive. The need for a newly designed hand cycle was voiced by Achilles Freedom Team members and heard by GM. Four Senior Design teams began designing two different alpha prototypes in January 2012, and they were completed in December 2012. Our team has taken the best designs from the two alpha prototypes and integrated them into a single beta prototype with further optimization and new design.
Heat Recovery Steam Generator Improvement
Team Members: David Bayer, Jordan Jackola, Jani Lane, and Michael Pristov, Mechanical Engineering
Advisor: Jaclyn Johnson, Mechanical Engineering-
Sponsor: DTE Energy
DTE Energy is partnering with Michigan Tech to create a series of senior design teams. Each team will be researching specific aspects of the design, operation, and maintenance of combined cycle power plants. This project team is the first in a five team series and is focusing on the thermodynamic and thermoeconomic analysis of the heat recovery steam generator performance within the combined cycle. In particular, our team investigated the effects of ambient environmental conditions and load requirements on the plant efficiency and operations. The combined team efforts will be used to improve the design and operations of DTE Energy’s future power plants.
Jaipur Foot Improvements
Miriam Paquet and Reid Barber, Mechanical Engineering; Stephanie Boomgaard, Ben Cottrill, and Kevin Peterson, Biomedical Engineering
Dr. Nina Mahmoudian
Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering
The Jaipur foot was developed to provide an
amputee in India with a simple, practical, and lowcost
prosthetic that is compatible with an active
and culturally appropriate lifestyle. In 2011, a design
team successfully made improvements to the
Jaipur foot to reduce its weight. The new objective
was to improve compatibility of materials with
the manufacturing process, while maintaining the
affordability and functionality of the foot. The project
culminated with a trip to India to meet with Dr. Anil
Jain and observe patient use of the prosthetic.