Tag Archives: senior design

Chemical Engineering Process Design I

Courtney Sterrick

Courtney Sterrick,
Senior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 9 December 2014

One of my favorite classes this semester was Process Design I. In this required chemical engineering course, we learned about the typical approaches one takes to design a chemical plant. A major portion of the course was spent on identifying the best separation strategies for different combinations of chemicals based on their boiling points, solubilities, and other physical and chemical properties. We also focused on reducing the amount of energy required for a particular process as well as recognizing potential safety concerns.

This semester, our final project required us to design a chemical process using the reactant isobutyraldehyde to form methacrolein. Due to side reactions and excess reactant, a number of separation mechanisms were required to obtain essentially pure methacrolein. To test the success of various designs, we were required to use CHEMCAD, a chemical engineering simulation software. My favorite part of the project was identifying how to make the series of separations as easy as possible. It was a giant puzzle! In addition to separating the chemicals to achieve desired purities, we were also required to reduce the amount of energy to be supplied by utility streams.

Once the design was complete, a safety analysis of the proposed process was conducted. In this part of the project, we studied the flammability, reactivity, and health hazards for each chemical individually and combined. Operating pressures and temperatures, as well as other risks related to the process equipment, were also identified. This project was a great way to culminate the course; it combined the major learnings throughout the semester into a single assignment.

Despite being one of my most difficult classes while at OU, it has been one of favorites. I learned a lot throughout the semester and look forward to continuing the material in the spring in Process Design II.

EE Senior Design: Body Area Network Design

Patrick Hanlon

Patrick Hanlon,
Senior, Electrical Engineering

Athens, OH 7 December 2014

Every Electrical Engineering Senior is required to complete a senior design project of some sort before they are able to graduate. In our case, we were able to pick our team mates – a group of 5 friends since freshman year. Senior design projects are not limited to any particular project path, but our senior design project is unique in a special way.

The IEEE Antenna Propagation Society is hosting a contest where undergraduate students have the chance to assemble a team to design and create a Body Area Network (BAN) system. The contest requires that the team be no larger than 5 people and accomplish the following:


  • Create a BAN that monitors a user’s heart rate or has fall detection
  • Fabricate an antenna that communicates data to a smartphone via Bluetooth (2.4GHz) with a class 3 power rating (<1mW)
  • Display the received signal strength (RSSI) on the smartphone
  • Have a replicable product for less than $1500 USD.

In order to even qualify for the contest, the teams must complete all of these requirements. The selection rounds are as follows: first round is select the top six teams, the next round is the top 3 teams, and finally the winner.

We, the Ohio University BAN team, have submitted our proposal and have been selected of the top six teams in the world. In the previous year not a single US team was chosen, so this is an honor and an accomplishment for our team.

Currently we are working with many different types of vitals-monitoring sensors and integrating them into a small microcontroller circuit board. This is the first leap into the darkness for the project. With many more tasks to handle, we should be able to gain the knowledge to conquer and overcome obstacles. The goal is to win the contest and present our product to the world at the IEEE Antenna Propagation Symposium in Vancouver, so keep your eye out in the e-News Newsletter for our team in mid-April.

Starting ISE Senior Design

Eric May

Eric May,
Senior, Industrial & Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 25 November 2014

Each year, the seniors in industrial and systems engineering are assigned a senior design project to complete before they graduate in May. The senior design projects are real-life problems or areas that need improvement from companies. It’s great because we get to help them, learn, and apply industrial engineering practices, and the companies get to have a problem solved.

When seniors enter senior design, they have the opportunity to select projects from real companies that interest them. They serve as industrial engineering student consultants and the companies are their real clients. There is accountability for both the students as consultants and the companies as clients. The students are given a problem, and are responsible for analyzing that problem and applying industrial engineering principles following the Six Sigma methodology to come up with a solution to the company’s problem.

My group’s senior design project is with a distribution company. The company has a lot of machines across many locations which, naturally, require maintenance. Our project is to analyze the requirements of their facilities, interview maintenance staff, talk with senior leaders, and then research maintenance management software to implement. One of their key goals is to get oversight over how each of their locations is performing so that they can better understand their business and potential areas where they can save money. By keeping their machines running, and downtime at a minimum, they can ship products faster and more reliably, which means customers can benefit too! We’ll be looking at the pros and cons of different packages, how it affects their company, and then presenting our final recommendation.

Having the opportunity to work on hands-on projects is one of the great things about the Russ College of Engineering and Technology that is going to really help me. It’s one thing to talk about a theory or concept in class, but the real learning comes from interacting with real people, doing presentations, and solving problems. Engineering at Ohio University isn’t just about doing math and science, it’s about learning to work with other people as a team toward a goal, and developing your personal and leadership skills. Once you develop these skills, you’re unstoppable, and I think our college truly understands that.

SourceAmerica/AbilityOne College Design Challenge

Scott Kostohryz

Scott Kostohryz,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 26 June 2014 – After 4 years, I cannot believe my time at Ohio University is coming to a close after one more semester. After finishing my senior design project and submitting a report and video to the SourceAmerica/AbilityOne College Design Challenge, our senior design team (Team Flower Power) found out we were finalists. Our entire team was given the opportunity to fly to DC from June 16th – June 19th for recognition of the award.

Unfortunately only 2 of my 4 teammates could make it. Marissa Singley, Nick Reed and I had the opportunity to see the sites and sounds of DC. One of the best places we visited was the Air and Space museum. My favorite exhibit was the Wright Flyer which was on display.

Wright Flyer

Going out to Washington DC also gave our team the opportunity to meet the other finalists. One team was a group of undergrad electrical engineering and computer science students from Weber State and the other was a team of 3 graduate students from Oregon State University.

One of the most exiting and touching parts of the weekend was doing a simple team builder. We were placed in teams of 3 from different schools and given a bag of parts and a set of instructions. By the end, each team had a prosthetic hand to be given to a victim of a land mind accident in another country. It was a moving team builder where we all worked together to make a difference. Here is a link for more detail on the team builder: Sunrise – A helping hand for landmine victims.

At the end of the week, at a congressional reception, it was announced by Ohio Congressman Steve Stivers that Ohio University had won Best Overall Design in the AbilityOne College Design Competition. It is a great honor to have worked with such a great team, and bring recognition to Ohio University. I do not think that the 3 schools honored at the reception were the only winners. The true winners were the non-profit organizations and those with disabilities who were helped through this design competition.

ME Senior Design

A writeup on the competition, Ohio University, and the Senior Design Team can be seen at the Athens Messenger web site.

ME Senior Design Success

Marissa Singley

Marissa Singley,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 19 April 2014 – Senior Design is coming to a close. We recently delivered our prototype. It was a success. The ATCO employees and staff loved it. We were so happy to see the final product finished and working. The plates were cleaned with ease and ready to be painted and made into a passion flower! Seeing the positive reaction of our friend with disabilities to all of our hard work made it completely worth it.

Watch our prototype in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyTWlYW12Fc

Actually, it made the entire 4 year mechanical engineering journey worth it. Senior design proved that we can overcome controversy and troubleshoot with the team provided. It took all the skills that I have learned and applied them to a real life situation. It taught me patience and confidence in myself and my engineering skills. I learned about all aspects of engineering, including design, research, and manufacturing. I have had so much fun this past year! This class has made me look forward to my engineering career.

ME Senior Design Team

ISE Senior Capstone

Connor Mitchell

Connor Mitchell,
Senior, Industrial and Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 17 April 2014 – Every year senior students in the Russ College are required to complete a senior capstone project as part of their course requirements. The senior capstone project allows students to use the skills they have learned throughout their career and apply them to a real world situation. Normally the group is overseen by an adviser, but the team is responsible for coming up with their own ideas and possible ways to analyze and fix the problem. In most majors and in my case, teams are formed and then an outside client is determined. The client then gives the team the problem and the project begins.

I’m a senior in Industrial and Systems Engineering. Industrial Engineers try to make processes and systems more efficient, which in the end, saves money for the company. This year my team was selected to help out Ohio University’s Environmental Health and Safety Department. The team was assigned to study the variability behind exterior handicapped actuators as well as card swipes that will replace most exterior keys that all students use.

To give an idea of how long these projects last, Industrial and Systems Engineering projects begin in November and end right before spring finals in May. First we met with our client and he assigned us our project. Then we defined the problem and set out to accomplish our task. Next we collected our data, which consisted of measuring heights and positions of actuators and card swipes around campus. After that, we conducted an experiment to determine the optimal height and position of the actuator and card swipe. After analyzing the data, we made suggestions and a proposed plan to our client.

I summarized this entire project in a few sentences within this blog; however, this project took many months of hard work and team cooperation. I was able to apply my engineering knowledge and skills that I learned during my four years as an engineering student to a real life project.

Faculty-Student Wiffle Ball

Scott Kostohryz

Scott Kostohryz,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 9 April 2014 – As the year comes to a close, it was a sight to see our Department Chair, Dr. Kremer, sliding into home off a hit into left field. With the faculty out of their element today and on the field, the Mechanical Engineering professors and some students had an exciting game of Wiffle ball outside of the Convocation Center. Outside of the research, papers and assignments, the professors and students enjoyed an exciting Second Annual Mechanical Engineering Student Advisory Board Student/Faculty Wiffle Ball Game.

Through all of the bumps and bruises, it was great to see us all “out of our element” and strengthening the bond outside of the classroom. This isn’t the first thing the faculty has done with the Mechanical Engineering students but it will be a highlight for me. I don’t know of a campus where you can have this kind of interaction with professors. It was quite a thrill.

Wiffle Ball

Today was also a great day for our Senior Design team. We delivered our project to ATCO for a test run with the clients. It was excellent to see the smiles it brought to the advisors’ faces and how excited the clients were to use it. This new metal cleaning machine will replace removing ink by hand, pressure washing, and will now allow those with disabilities to be part of the cleaning. All while improving the cleaning process and allowing ATCO to clean year-round. All the hard work and energy was worth it to see one of the clients, Eathan, light up and excited to use our new machine.

ME Senior Design