Tag Archives: senior design

ME Capstone: Recycling Collection

Matt McKenzie

Matt McKenzie,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 13 April 2018

Capstone design for mechanical engineering is a year-long course where a small group of seniors are assigned a client and work together through the engineering process from problem identification to delivering a prototype.

For my capstone project, I have been paired with a local non-profit called Rural Action Zero Waste Initiative, RA ZWI for short.RA ZWI works to divert waste from landfills by cleaning up after local festivals and sorting the trash to send it to its appropriate recycling or compost location.

The problem that my team is looking to solve is to collect a large majority of what they call bulk trash—plastic bottles, aluminum cans, and other waste—in a time period of around 30 minutes. They are having a problem cleaning around the stage area effectively in the short amount of time between the end of the show and when heavy equipment comes in to break down the stage. When this equipment comes in, it tears up the ground and compacts any remaining trash into making it much more difficult to collect.

The client has tried to use some off the shelf solutions before in ways that they were not designed to operate which proved somewhat effective, but nowhere near durable enough and constantly breaking. To solve the issue at hand, and continue the trend of recycling, my team has decided to use a leaf sweeper housing and hopper that RA ZWI has utilized in the past with some effectiveness, but we have designed in a number of improvements to solve the issues and make it more reliable.

After some initial rapid prototyping, we were able to pitch the design to our faculty mentor and our client and are currently rounding out the manufacturing of our prototype. Following the prototype being completed, we will have a number of tests to conduct and make any adjustments to the design to improve its collection efficiency before delivering it to the client and putting it through its paces with them in the coming weeks.

ME Senior Design

Emily Morello

Emily Morello,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 8 April 2018

The main class of senior year for mechanical engineers is senior design. Senior design is a year long class, which is very different from most other engineering disciplines. In the beginning of the fall semester, students were placed on teams based on their areas of interest in engineering. The teams were also made based on student’s strengths and weaknesses to make the teams balanced.

Each team is then assigned a customer with a problem that needs to be solved. The teams work with their customer for the entire year until they solve the problem. Every customer is very different and has a unique problem that needs solved.

My project for senior design is extremely different than most students’. Our customer is a lecturer at Ohio University, Dr. Burnette, and our project is to create a medical device that treats cervical dysplasia with a plasma.

The reason this device is so important is because the current procedure to treat cervical cancer is extremely invasive and can leave the woman infertile in some cases. The idea of using a plasma to treat cancerous cells is that it will kill the bad cells without causing harm to the healthy cells.

At first, it was hard to start our project because we had such a large scope. My team had to do extensive research to learn about the female reproductive system, and it took a lot of thinking to design a device that is safe for procedures. We ended up narrowing our scope from a procedure to an experiment so we can use the device we are designing as a learning tool to answer questions we have and improve the device in the future.

My team has come a long way this year. I can proudly say we have a working prototype that we are going to show at the Ohio University Expo this upcoming Thursday, April 12th . The week after the expo we have senior design demo day which wraps up our senior design experience.

I am very thankful for the project I was assigned because I learned a lot. Senior Design definitely made me use all of my engineering knowledge I learned from college in one class.

Chemical Eng. Capstone Class: Unit Operations

Nathan Arnett

Nathan Arnett,
Senior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 7 March 2018

In my final semester of Chemical Engineering coursework, it truly feels like everything is starting to come together—it’s almost as if the curriculum were set up that way! The first three years of classes were largely more about theory and concepts, learning about things through lecture and small hands-on projects. However, in my senior year—and this semester, especially—the classes are much different.

One such class that is different than any prior is a class called Unit Operations, and it essentially acts as the Chemical Engineering “Capstone” course. In this class, two fellow seniors and I work in a group on 5 projects over the course of the semester. While only 5 projects may not seem like much, trust me and my classmates when I say it is!

All kidding aside, the projects are really not too bad as long as you have good group chemistry and solid time management. For lifelong procrastinators like myself, the time management part has proven a little difficult, but then again, that is kind of the point in the class: to prepare graduating seniors for the real-world.

In this class, we have one week to write a pre-lab report on the project we will be conducting. A few of the projects are running a distillation column, using a fluidized bed to dry cracked corn, and using a filter press to remove limestone from water.

As students, we are responsible for putting forth the engineering theory involved and making predictions of results as well as physically (and safely!) conducting the experiment in two 5-hour lab sessions. At the end, results are analyzed and submitted in a second, post-lab report, and the process begins again with the next project.

While this class may seem from the outside like a burden or overwhelming, I have to admit I do enjoy it. I find it very interesting to be able to apply the multitude of things gained in the classroom over the past 3.5 years to a real-life setting. Seeing theory put into practice is one of the most exciting aspects of Chemical Engineering and engineering in general—especially when those theories hold up in actual experiments!

Hearty Software: Update

Mollie Whitacre

Mollie Whitacre,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 2 March 2018

In the beginning of last semester, I talked about my senior design project. For a recap, it is developing an Android and iOS application to calculate a user’s risk for Cardiovascular Disease in 15-20 years.

I am in a team with four other Computer Science majors but split up internally based on which platform we are developing. I am on the iOS team and work with two other people.

We have made a lot of progress since last semester, as one would hope. With the success we have had, there has also been a lot of struggles. I quickly learned how to communicate with our clients who did not know as much about technology and software as we did. That is probably the hardest barrier our team has had to get over.

Watching our two apps deploy onto actual devices is a pretty cool experience. Looking back to August, I had no idea what the programming language Swift was, and now it seems that I think more in Swift than English.

Our team finally has a validated Healthy Heart Score to give to the user and now we are currently working on a feature using slider bars to show how certain behaviors can positively or negatively affect their risk in the future. With only seven weeks left in the semester, I am excited to see a final version of our application!

Finally Done with Senior Design

Sean Neff

Sean Neff,
Senior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 10 December 2017

This semester was by far the longest 15 weeks of my life. What do I have to thank for this grueling yet empowering struggle? My senior design project of course!

In Civil Engineering, we have the choice of taking three different types of senior design classes. In the fall, there is Land Development senior design. In the spring, there is Environmental/Water senior design and Structural senior design. Because I am interested in transportation, planning, and municipal engineering, the Land Development senior design was the best choice for me.

The overall concept of the class is to design and plan a housing subdivision complete from the initial surveying to the completed utility and grading plans.

In my opinion, this class is the class where you will learn the most Civil Engineering topics out of any class in the curriculum. Over the course of 15 weeks, I learned how to:

  • do a topographic survey of 30 acres of land
  • plan and design roadways with horizontal and vertical curves
  • grade out existing land to make it usable for homes
  • plan out storm sewer, sanitary sewer, and water main utility lines
  • design a detention basin with correct drainage plans

…and a whole lot more which would take up way too much time to

For the first time ever in a college class, it finally felt like I was being an engineer. To go from nothing to a complete design with all the bells and whistles was something so amazing to be a part of. It wasn’t without mistakes, which my group made a fair amount of. But it was from these mistakes in our design that allowed us to learn the most.

At the end of the class, we presented our design to a panel of 10 professional engineers. They all had specialties they used in their real-world engineering jobs and were able to comment on all of our plans and designs. Even though presenting to them was nerve racking, their input was awesome and it was great to hear comments from veteran engineers.

Even though I wouldn’t recommend taking senior design with 19 credit hours and being the head of two large organizations, it was the biggest learning experience of my college career. The skills I learned with surveying and AutoCAD I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I definitely feel ready to take on the real world now.

CS Senior Design: Hearty Software

Mollie Whitacre

Mollie Whitacre,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 29 October 2017

Every student who goes graduates with an engineering degree from Ohio University will go through a class called senior design. It is designed around the idea of giving students real-life experience before they graduate. For computer science majors, we are given mainly software projects presented by external clients.

I am in a group with four other people and our team name is Hearty Software. We were given the option to choose between different projects that were presented to us and we thought that the project named Healthy Heart Score sounded the
most interesting.

The Healthy Heart Score is an assessment designed in Harvard that is used to calculate your risk for Cardiovascular disease. Our job is to take this web application and convert it to an Android and iOS application.

Since this class goes for the entire year, we are still in the beginning phases
of this project. I am enjoying how we get to collaborate on a project with outside clients and how real this project seems compared to week long assignments given in class.

Senior design’s class structure is built around how a software business would be in the real world, which I think is unique from any other class. Once the end of the school year comes, we hope to have a working iOS and Android application that our client is happy with!

Wrapping Up Senior Year

Kevin White

Kevin White,
Senior, Industrial & Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 11 April 2017

My final year at Ohio University has been the fastest year yet. It seems like yesterday that I was sitting in freshman orientation stressing out about the next four years of my life. I missed my friends and family at home. Shortly after that, I developed my own family here in Athens and I am not ready to leave them.

Something I always tell the prospective students while I am taking them on tours is how fast college goes—especially at such a great school like Ohio University. I felt that it would be very difficult for me to find friends here at Ohio University as a freshman but the programs and organizations here make it near impossible to not find friends.

My final semester has been consumed of my senior capstone project in which my project team is working with Muskingum Valley Educational Service Center located in Zanesville, OH. We have been developing a database with them to help them with their documentation systems. I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect ending to college, I love the work that we are doing for them and the client has been great to work with.

As I prepare to go into the “real world” when I move to Pittsburgh in June, I will take the knowledge, experiences, and relationships from Ohio University with me. I hope to develop the type of friendships and relationships in Pittsburgh that I have developed in Athens.