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University of Utah - 2016

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Engineering Information

Student Projects

Student Design Projects Description

School of Computing:

Senior Capstone Project CS4500. This course is the capstone experience for graduating Computer Science seniors. It involves the development of self-selected student teams, with the emphasis on applying sound, disciplined software engineering practice. Projects are defined and selected at the beginning of the semester, after which progress is demonstrated through documentation, meetings, and demos. The class culminates in a Demo Day at which students present their projects to faculty, students and project sponsors.

Electrical Engineering:

The senior students are matched up with their senior projects at the end of the junior year. The students may sign up for a Clinic project (usually involving five students), an individual project from the student's employment situation, a project suggested by a faculty member in the College of Engineering, or an idea the student would like to pursue. All students work on a team consisting of two or more students. The student meet weekly during the Fall and Spring semesters of their senior year. During the meetings, they complete the research on their projects, prepare oral presentations, prepare demonstrations, prepare a poster, and write their final reports. Each team group prepares a poster and demonstration of their project which they present at the annual Technical Open House in the Spring semester. The team group also writes a final report.

The real motivation in this very structured senior project procedure is to have the students participate in an engineering job prior to obtaining employment beyond their degrees. The student must be in charge of the project or the part of the project in which he or she participates. Each team group organizes the work into parts and each student is responsible for their part of the project. Additionally, each student submits a contract that organizes their work into three main milestones. This latter attitude toward the senior project is very meaningful in setting a level of performance that makes the students achieve some success before receiving their BS degrees.


As part of the Biomedical Engineering B.S. degree requirements, undergraduate students are required to complete a two-semester capstone design sequence (Bioen 3801-4801, 6 cr. hrs) and a three-semester senior project sequence (Bioen 4200, 4201, 4202, 5 cr. hrs). In the capstone design sequence, students work in interdisciplinary teams to design, build and test biomedical devices or systems (e.g., glucose sensor, closed-loop drug infusion system, vestibular evoked potential, etc.). The course sequence also includes didactic instruction covering the design process, biomedical device development, regulatory issues, intellectual property, ethical issues, current issues in world and national health care, and entreprenurial bioengineering topics. A very significant fraction of the time is devoted to open-ended hands-on design including the technical details required for design success.
All students participate in a senior project (Bioen 4200, 4201, 4202) that is over and above the design projects included in the capstone sequence. Students select approved senior projects consistent with their career goals, and work on their projects in industry, clinical medicine, or bioengineering research laboratories. The senior project course sequence includes extensive training in communication, including written, oral and poster formats. In addition to these major capstone experiences (capstone design and senior project), eight of the required classes include significant design components (Fundamentals of Bioengineering I and II; Biocomputational Methods, Biosignals, Biosystems, Biotransport, Biomechanics and Biomaterials).

Civil and Environmental Engineering:

The format of CVEEN 4910 Professional Practice and Design is structured around civil infrastructure projects wherein the students manage the process of producing the necessary documents and work products that constitutes a preliminary engineering study for a “client.” This role is played by representatives of city, county, state or University agencies that have specific needs for preliminary evaluations regarding: alternatives development, feasibility, cost and schedule for future projects sponsored by their respective agencies. To this end, the students work with the client to develop evaluation and design criteria which lead to the selection of a “preferred alternative,” which is presented to the client. Following this selection, students continue in completing preliminary design for the preferred alternative, which typically includes deliverables or evaluations pertaining to: design drawings, calculations and project layout; estimated project cost; construction schedule; and considerations of sustainability, safety, environmental impact, etc. Client involvement and feedback to the students is a critical part of the learning process that is included in the course.

The course framework requires frequent communication and evaluations to create viable solutions and preliminary design. To initiate the project, establish workflow and define deliverables, students are divided into teams that are responsible for specific elements or aspects of the project. These teams are multi-disciplinary and have activities associated with project management, environmental policy, water resources management, civil site planning and layout, transportation, structures, geotechnical, etc. according to the tasks and needs of the project. Each project is led by a project management (PM) team, which is ultimately responsible for coordination and completion of the project. This PM team works with other student sub-teams and their respective team leaders, and the whole constitutes the “Student Engineering Associates” (SEA) of the University of Utah, which affixes its name and logo to all work products.

In addition to evaluating, designing and detailing this extramural project, the student receives instruction in the following professional practice topics:

• Ethics
• Leadership
• Project Scheduling
• Project Management and Conflict Resolution
• Construction Documents
• Cost Estimating
• Alternative Dispute Resolution
• Sustainability
• Value engineering
• Quality Assessment and Quality Control
• Safety
• Life Long Learning
• Public Service Responsibilities of Engineers

Materials Science and Engineering:

The senior project is the capstone design project tying together many aspects of materials science and engineering. Each student’s project will demonstrate their knowledge in a number of areas, including thermodynamics, kinetics, processing, characterization, and materials properties. It should also include an understanding of the structure, properties, processing, and performance of the material. The project will demonstrate the student’s ability to apply these concepts to solve applied materials problems rather than perform basic research or operate lab equipment. Each team will consist of 2 " 4 students, depending on the size of the senior class and the nature of the project. The student’s faculty adviser will oversee the design and technical aspects of the student’s project.

Mechanical Engineering:

Mechanical engineering students conceptualize and produce an engineered system product through the capstone senior design sequence at the University of Utah. Student teams are established and begin with problem identification and definition, benchmarking and background research, idea generation techniques, needs analysis, scheduling, budgeting, construction, testing, analysis and optimization. Engineering analysis and testing of beta prototypes, final design parameters and economics analysis are required. Students focus on the use of integrated experimental/numerical simulation tools in a research and development environment to analyze and optimize the design of engineering systems, components or processes. The need for concurrent design for failure prevention, reliability and quality at the earliest time after conceptualization is emphasized. Completion of the capstone senior design project involves extensive oral and written reporting to document the design progress. The capstone design experience provides students with an opportunity to practice implementing principles of the design process with an emphasis on design methodology. This experience culminates in a demonstration of the final product.

Chemical Engineering:

There are aspects of design in several courses in the department including heat transfer, fluid mechanics and the unit operations laboratory. The sophistication of the design in these courses is rather limited, but from the early days of the training of our chemical engineering undergraduates there is a discussion of design. The real effort to teach chemical process and product design is handled in a two-course capstone design sequence (CH EN 4253 and 5253). In this sequence the students start with smaller units performing designs and cost analysis. They build up to multiple units in a section of a process, e.g., multiple distillation units in a separation block. These designs are heat integrated and attempt to find operating optimums. Finally, a complete plant is designed with heat and mass integration providing a comprehensive design report for the complete chemical plant. Approximately one-half of the students perform the AICHE student contest design problem each year and the other one-half of the students do a design for a local industrial client that has been hand selected by the professor.

Metallurgical Engineering:

Students in metallurgical engineering are exposed to small design projects in several courses during their junior- and senior-level courses. They perform capstone designs in extractive and physical metallurgy that focus on metallurgical process synthesis, flowsheet development, and associated economic analysis. For extractive metallurgy, the students utilize metallurgical data from mining properties typical of those from within the state of Utah. From the data, they determine an appropriate process flowsheet, perform mass and energy balances, and size equipment. The designed process is then cost estimated, and a preliminary economic evaluation is performed to determine if the project would meet certain economic hurdles. For physical metallurgy, the students are required to design a metallurgical process to deliver certain physical properties for a metal part. The students are required to utilize previously learned skills to perform necessary metallurgical testing and physical characterization of metal parts.

Mining Engineering:

Before they graduate, mining engineering students at the University of Utah are provided an actual engineering experience from concept to production through a senior design project. They begin with problem identification and definition, team organization, background research, idea generation techniques, needs analysis, scheduling, budgeting, construction, and optimization of proposed design including engineering analysis, and economic analysis of final the design. Students focus on optimization of engineering systems, components and processes. Emphasis is on economic viability and environmental responsibility. Completion of the senior design project includes oral and written reporting documenting the design process. It provides the student with principles of the design process with an emphasis on methodology in design and culminates in a demonstration of the final product including verification and documentation of how the final product meets all stakeholder needs. Students frequently submit senior design projects to national competition.

Geological Engineering:

Students in geological engineering are exposed to design projects in multiple courses at several levels in curriculum. Students are required to address simple design requirements as parts of assignments in stratigraphy, fluid dynamics, and groundwater courses, which are mostly taken in the junior and senior years. During the senior year, two capstone design courses are integral parts of the geological engineering curriculum. The solute and groundwater remediation course, GEO 5390, requires a multi-student team to construct a remediation scheme for a real-world groundwater contamination problem. The capstone geological engineering design course, GEO 5150, involves the solution of a significant design problem in the area of geotechnical engineering. In the past, this has involved integration of field data, state-of-the-art computer software, cost estimates, and environmental assessment. Both design experiences emphasize a multi-disciplinary team approach with effective oral and written communication.