Tag Archives: senior design

Aluminum Castings

Steve Toth

Steve Toth,
Senior, Engineering Technology and Management

Athens, OH 4 November 2015

Ever since I took Metal Fabrication and Casting (ETM 2180) my sophomore year, I have been interested in castings. In the class, we were simply learning about the process. Now in my senior year, I’m delving deeper into the process.

One of the projects I have recently been working on is developing a casted aluminum OHIO badge using the sand casting process. My hopes behind this is to use the castings in my senior production run (capstone).


One thing that makes my development process different from traditional methods is that I have been developing and testing 3D printed patterns and runners which are traditionally machined or carved out. I started out with designing the badge using SolidWorks (a 3D drafting software). The part was then converted into a .STL file which could be read by the 3D printers owned by the ETM department.


Once the parts were printed, they were glued to the pattern board where sand could be packed around them. After the board is removed, a cavity is left for the molten aluminum to fill. As you can see, my first couple of patterns did not allow the sand to take.


After some massaging in the interior edges (larger fillets), larger draft angles and additional post print finishing I was able to create a workable pattern that was casted as seen in the picture at the top.

Now after creating a successful prototype and proving the concept, I have developed a (hopefully) ideal casting pattern that can be used in my capstone project next semester.

Designing a Drone

Ali McCormick

Ali McCormick,
Senior, Electrical Engineering

Athens, OH 15 September 2015

As an Electrical Engineering Senior, you are required to complete a yearlong (two semester) senior design course in order to graduate. In this course we are divided into teams and given a project to work on. For my project, my team has been assigned the hedgehog indoor-search-and-rescue drone.

The objectives of this particular project are to design and implement a design on a hedgehog-style drone that will enable it to do multiple required tasks. The drone must navigate through indoor hallways of Stocker basement without crashing. The drone must achieve autonomous flight, meaning that it will fly on its own for the most part, but have the ability to be taken over by an operator at any point.

The drone must also collect and store data that is taken by an infrared camera that will be attached to the drone. The data will later be used to create a 2-D map of the environment. Finally, the drone must use the infrared camera to locate heat signatures and analyze if the specific signature is a person or not.

This summer I had the opportunity to get a head start on the project by working as an undergraduate researcher for Ohio University’s Avionics department. I took a look at the specific lasers that will be used for our project to help the drone avoid collisions. I created code that enabled the lasers to have basic functionality with a Raspberry Pi, and we will be furthering this code as we begin moving forward with the project. I’m excited to see how the project progresses.

Civil Engineering Bridge Design

Nick Sparks

Nick Sparks,
Senior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 26 April 2015

This past Friday marked my final day of classes for my undergraduate degree. In addition, I presented my final presentation for my senior design project.

I choose to do the structural senior design project which required my partner and I to design a bridge. We were given a bridge location, as well as the length and width dimensions the bridge must satisfy. Given this information, my partner and I began to create our bridge, which was a great challenge for my partner and I because we both did not have much experience in bridge design.

My partner and I began by conducting research on bridge design which led us to the finding that the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) has a design manual. We found this manual to be most helpful during our project. Furthermore, we were given computer programs in order to help with the iterative process for the superstructure and substructure.

The most challenging part of this project was the girder design for the superstructure. We ran into many problems where the girders failed; however, not by much. This caused us to come up with a whole new design. This project was great for our senior project due to the fact it taught us that even after much research about bridges, we still don’t know everything there is to know.

Android BAN Senior Project

Patrick Hanlon

Patrick Hanlon,
Senior, Electrical Engineering

Athens, OH 16 March 2015

Here is an update on the status of my group’s current senior design project. So far our team of seniors–Morgan Haggerty, Trevor Vogelhuber, Levi Moore, Gordon Fleming, and I–have been nominated by a contest committee as one of the top six teams in the world. The contest we have entered is hosted by the IEEE Antenna and Propogation Society. Though there are more contest rules, the main ones are fairly straightforward: build a body area network (BAN) that consists one or more vitals-monitoring sensors, a microcontroller, a custom antenna, and an Android application.

In addition to being nominated to the top six, we have completed some major milestones in our design. We have custom fabricated numerous antenna designs through photolithography and have analyzed their radiation pattern on the spectrum analyzer. Also, we have temperature, heart rate, and fall detection sensors integrated on a central microcontroller. Finally, I am working on finishing up our Android application that will be able to display all the data collected from the sensors on the screen of an Android-enabled mobile device. The data transmission will be through a Bluetooth 2.0 (Smart Bluetooth) signal. This is a low-energy transmission that will allow power consumption to be at its lowest.

Our project is coming to a conclusion, and we hope to have a working product soon. Some final goals are to get the Android application running with all the rest of the system integrated and have the completed unit stored in a small enclosure for aesthetics.

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.