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Mississippi State University - 2016

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Engineering Information

Student Projects

Student Design Projects Description

AUVSI Student Unmanned Aircraft Systems - Students from several disciplines including aerospace engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical and computer engineering, and computer science have competed and placed within the top ten nationally for the last seven years, including 1st in 2008 and 2nd in 2010. The students design and build an autonomous air vehicle to fly a prescribed flight path and determine the location and characteristics of ground targets. The vehicle must be capable of real time modification to the flight profile and provide the data either in real time format or shortly after landing.

NASA University Student Launch Initiative - Students in the department compete with interdisciplinary teams from across the nation. They must design, build, and launch a rocket to obtain an altitude as close to 5,280 feet above ground level. The rocket must carry a scientific payload and be recovered. The competition also requires a significant K-12 outreach activity. As part of this requirement the MSU Space Cowboys has created and conducted a rocket launch competition for middle school students. Middle schools from three states have participated in this competition. The Space Cowboys placed 2nd nationally in the 2007, 2010, and 2012 competitions.

High-Altitude Balloons - Students in the two-semester sequence senior capstone Spacecraft Design collaborate with students in the Electrical and Computer Engineering senior design sequence to design, build, and fly heavily instrumented high altitude balloons. The payloads of these balloons, which can reach altitudes of 100,000 feet, serve as fully functional satellite simulators.

Design, Analysis, Optimization, Fabrication, and Testing of Stiffened Panels (ASE 4623): Working in teams of two or three, students apply the topics covered in the course to design, either based on weight or a combined figure of merit, an optimum set of stringers to stiffen an 18 x 24 x 0.032 in. or a 9 x 12 x 0.032 in. 2024-T3 aluminum sheet that can support a specified design ultimate load (range: 16,000-22,000 lb) in axial compression. As part of this project, students evaluate different stringer design concepts; develop an algorithm for analysis of different failure modes; write an analysis program in Fortran and combine it with a commercial optimization code (DOT); determine the optimum size, quantity, and arrangement of stringers; find the minimum number of fasteners; fabricate one panel per student; and then test each panel to failure in a laboratory setting. Teams submit detailed written reports and give oral presentations to complete the project.

Students in the 2-semester sequence senior design course work in teams to complete, construct, and test the design of a device for biological or biomedical applications. This course includes an innovative entrepreneurial aspect. Along with all completing a systematic approach to engineering design, teams provide a detailed budget and marketing plan for all devices developed. The MSU Entrepreneurship office hosts a biomedical business plan competition for students within the senior design course. Interested teams are invited to the competition and the top three teams are provided cash prizes. Entrepreneurs from around Mississippi judge the student teams. Design projects change on an annual basis. Although the problems are biological/biomedical in nature, the students rely heavily on mechanical and electrical engineering principles for their design solutions. Sample bioengineering problem statements are as follows:
• A better infant heart monitor: Infants under the age of one year are at risk for an ALTE (Apparent Life-Threatening Event). ALTE can be revealed as an episode of respiratory arrest lasting longer than 20 seconds which exhibits changes in cardiac rhythm. The conventional monitors currently available do not provide a contact-free method to monitor infant heart rate. Design a low cost, aesthetically pleasing, contact-free, user friendly infant heart monitor that will automatically track the heart rate of an infant and will alert parents if an issue arises.
• Ambulatory Infusion Pump: Cancer accounts for 13% of all deaths worldwide. Infusion pumps are an efficient way to deliver chemotherapy; however, the high cost of these devices limits accessibility to low income cancer patients. Develop a more cost efficient ambulatory infusion pump while maintaining the durability and performance of existing models, therefore making these devices more accessible to persons of low-income regions.
• Alternative Powered Autoclave: Rural clinics in under developed countries do not have access to autoclaves for sterilization of medical tools. Current models available to large hospitals, they are expensive and need constant maintenance. Design a simple and effective autoclave that can be run off of alternative power.

Concrete Canoe - The project is to design and build a four-person racing canoe using concrete as the primary construction material. The overall geometry and basic materials criteria are specified by the American Society of Civil Engineers' National Concrete Canoe Committee. A suitable construction jig and form must be designed. A concrete reinforcing system and mix must be developed. The material must have a sustainable component. Once completed, the canoe is raced in five races: men's slalom, men's sprint, women's slalom, women's sprint, and co-ed slalom. The competition also involves the construction of a display, preparation and submission of a written design report, and the presentation of the design report to a panel of judges. These components are evaluated by a panel of professionals. This is an annual project. This year the students finished second in the regional competition and tied Texas A&M and NJIT for 19th at the national competition.

Steel Bridge - This project involves design, fabrication and competitive erection of bridge structure using steel in accordance with the rules developed by the American Institute for Steel Construction (AISC). The structure must span a pre-defined distance between four to six meters and carry eccentrically-placed vertical loads of 1,500 pounds and horizontal loads of 150 pounds. The bridge is evaluated by a team of professionals on vertical and lateral deflection under load, cost, constructability, construction time and aesthetics. This is an annual project. The team finished fourth at the regional competition. This was due, in part, to a deviation in loading made by the site judges which contradicted the national rules and competition policies.

Timber Bridge " This project involves the design, fabrication and testing of a prototype bridge in which the primary building material is wood. Only fasteners made of metal are allowed. This is sponsored by the Southwest Mississippi Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D), Inc., a rural development program focusing on natural resources development. The corporate sponsor is Bell Structural Solutions in Minnesota and the competition is also endorsed by ASCE's Structural Engineering Institute (SEI). The wood used in this project must be from a commercially available species and treated to AWPA standards. Bridge members cannot contact with the ground. Design span was 3.8 meters with a maximum individual piece length of 2.1 meters and maximum width of supporting base plates at 60 mm. The structure is loaded at 5-kN increments up to 20kN and held at this peak load for one hour. Deflection is measured for each load increment and over the sustained peak load. Evaluation is based on bridge performance, a design report, design drawings, and constructability. In 2015 MSU ASCE Chapter finished first in deflection and esthetics, had the highest percent wood in the structure, and finished third overall in the National Timber Bridge Design Competition.

Environmental and Water Resources Laboratory - The environmental and water resources laboratory is conducted with undergraduate students serving as experimental designer. Students select topics of interest and design research experiments, under the supervision of the instructor, to investigate the topic. The students design and construct the test apparatus, develop the data collection protocol, prepare the necessary materials, and supervise the experiments.

Construction Materials Laboratory " The undergraduate laboratory on construction materials provides students with a background in codes, building materials, pavement materials, aggregates, testing methods defined by ASTM and ACI. To provide synthesis of this knowledge, the students work in teams to design a material to meet a specific hypothetical project need, test their design, and give an oral and written presentation which is judged by a group of professionals, graduate students, and upper-level undergraduates.

Civil Engineering Comprehensive - This is a class project offered to expose students to the team design approach on a diverse set of multidisciplinary projects. Students, working as pseudo consulting firms, develop a comprehensive design for a civil engineering system. The design includes environmental and water resources site assessments, engineering of structural, hydraulic, environmental, geotechnical, and materials systems which are required for the complete project functionality. Preliminary plans and specifications are developed. Presentations and project posters are presented in a competitive format to a jury. The projects have included a high school athletic complex, a regional airport, a light rail connecting two cities with an airport, a camp for kids undergoing cancer treatment, a five-story boutique hotel with activity complex and shopping mall, a wastewater treatment facility, and a grey-water treatment and storage facility.

The AIChE Car Competition - Comprising student members from all ranks, the objective of this competition is: (1) To provide chemical engineering students with the opportunity to participate in a team-oriented hands-on design and construction of a small chemical powered model car. (2) To design and construct a car that is powered with a chemical energy source that will carry a specified load over a given distance and stop. (3) To encourage students to become actively involved in their professional society. (4) To increase awareness of the chemical engineering discipline among the general public, industry leaders, educators and other students. The team works on planning and design throughout the fall semester and constructing and testing in the early spring semester. The competition is first held at the regional level (for us, the Southern Region of the United States and Puerto Rico). The top five teams from the Southern Region are allowed to compete in the national contest. Our AICHE chapter has an active team planning for the spring 2016 competition.

The Chemical Engineering capstone plant design course requires groups of students to design a chemical plant to include technically- and economically-viable solutions. The open-ended projects are intended to test the ability of the students in the teams to synthesize a "best" solution from among the myriad of possible solutions. Each year the topic of the design problem changes and can include the AIChE design problem which is sponsored by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. One best solution to this problem can be entered into this contest for consideration by the national committee. The top design solution is announced each year at the annual meeting of the AIChE held in November. In 2011, MSU student teams placed first and third in the national competition. Each year, our program submits top performing team designs submitted during the plant design course to the national competition.

Separation Processes: A design project is given (spanning the last month of the semester) where students are given a multicomponent stream that they must design a separation process for that satisfies multiple constraints. For example, in a three component stream, they must produce two streams of given purities, while minimizing costs. The chemical system/composition chosen is always one where the constraints/purities cannot be met by simple manipulation of a single tower. This is typically a real world problem, with reflux ratios and production capacities typical of those seen in a petrochemical complex. Students must not only sequence the separations, meeting the constraints, but must also size the column(s) (determine column diameter, height), choose the type of column internals (tray or packed), size condenser and reboiler (determine heat transfer area) given available utilities; and cost these items. They are required to produce a design report where they discuss their design, providing the rationale and supporting evidence for their design decisions. Two examples are given below.
• Styrene from Ethylbenzene: This project involved separating styrene and ethylbenzene from a stream of seven components. A key constraint was that the styrene temperature had to remain lower than 125 oC to avoid spontaneous polymerization.
• Cumene from Propylene and Benzene: This project involved separating cumene and benzene from a 4 component mixture. The purity of the cumene stream was specified, and the benzene stream had to contain less than 0.01 mole fraction of cumene.

Reactor Design: A design project is given where students are given a feed stock, and a reaction scheme (always multiple reactions, at least one desirable product; at least one undesirable product; in some cases, desirable product may undergo secondary reaction). Students are only given a temperature and pressure at which feedstock is stored. They must decide what type of reactor to use (CSTR, PFR), what feed conditions should be used (T0, P0, feed volumetric flowrate), how the reactor should operate (isothermal, adiabatic, nonisothermal/nonadiabatic), whether inert material should be co-fed. They are given information about available utilities for heating and cooling. They are required to produce a design report where they discuss their design, providing rationale and supporting evidence for their design decisions. A grading rubric is provided to the students at the start of each project, so they are very aware of what elements must be included in the report, and at what level information must be provided and presented to achieve a satisfactory grade.

Process Design: Typically, three projects are given over the course of the semester. The first project usually focuses on a comparison of two design alternatives (which is most economically/technically better). The second project focuses on an existing process, which must be altered to either increase or decrease production capacity (a Debottlenecking/troubleshooting problem). The third project typically involves considering the inclusion of novel technologies for process improvement - for example, including gas permeation units to recover hydrogen and thereby, reduce hydrogen feedstock requirements; also, looking at heat integration for energy savings. Each project is completed in approximately three weeks; design reporting requirements differ from first to last project, so that students develop expertise in producing the different required elements in a design report.

Fluid Flow and Heat Transfer: Working in teams of people with different motivations, attitudes, and personalities is an integral part of the engineering profession and it is also commonplace that chemical engineers thrust into leadership positions. Therefore, group design projects were assigned for the Fluid Flow Operations (CHE 3203) and Heat Transfer Operations (CHE 3213) classes. Each individual member of the team could contribute their own creative ideas to the overall work and should also be accountable to each other in order to ensure team success and productivity. The projects are open-ended equipment design problems involving a specific engineering problem or equipment requirement needing application of chemical engineering principles and fundamentals, as well as engineering design heuristics and data on reference materials such as Perry’s Chemical Engineering Handbook. Students in the Fluid Flow Operations class were tasked with designing a fluid flow system consisting of a pump, pipeline, storage tank, and delivery system that would harvest a liquid with a given set of chemical properties from an underground reservoir and deliver it to consumers in a nearby building at a reasonable throughput rate. The students were given the geological data on the depth and volume of the underground liquid reservoir and they were required to design the said flow system that will use the least amount of pumping power possible. This design project problem was revisited during the Heat Transfer class during a following semester in which the students were required to design heat exchange equipment that will cool or heat the harvested liquid to a specified temperature. It was found that the liquid harvested from the underground reservoir was available at a high temperature, at which the liquid is lethal to consumers. The students were required to design a shell and tube heat exchanger based on the required cooled temperature of the liquid by applying the heat transfer concepts learned in class as well as design heuristics for heat exchanger design that were discussed. All projects were constructed as a proposal type document with the aim of selling the design concept to a prospective client. Students were graded individually based on their contributions and as a team for the overall quality of the finished product. This type of projects allows the students to apply the fundamental concepts and engineering principles that they have learned in class; exercise creativity and innovation while keeping in mind the constraints based on economics, sustainability, and ethical considerations; and train themselves in working in teams efficiently and effectively.

CHE 2213 Chemical Engineering Analysis is a three-credit-hour course required in the second semester of the freshman year. Through the use of LEGO®NXT robotics and supporting equipment (pumps, valves, tanks, piping, etc.), CHE 2213 provides students with a highly visual, project-based approach to learning engineering fundamentals. Employing an engineering “design cycle”, student teams collaboratively design, build, test and optimize a chemical process to accomplish a specific task (e.g. liquid level control in a chemical process tank, processing a set of reactants to produce a valuable product, or modifying a process stream to meet certain design specifications). Through the introduction of increasingly complex “team challenges” students are engaged in an integration of communication skills, engineering topics and engineering design principles. Introduction of the design cycle provides teams a guide for solving the problem at hand over successive refinement of their designed solution. The importance of material balances and controlling processes in chemical engineering is emphasized in a series of team challenges integrating the LEGO® NXT system with a bench-scale fluids handling system. A submersible pump delivers a fluid (e.g. water, acid/base, or salt solution) to a tank through a small needle valve controlled by the NXT robotics “Intelligent Brick” (i.e. a 32-bit microprocessor). In the latest iterations of the course, we have strengthened emphasis on process variables/measures (e.g. concentration, pH, temperature, pressure) and material balances. Student teams conduct team challenges using these measures as indicators of “product quality”. For example, one challenge requires feeding de-ionized water and a salt solution from two separate reservoirs to a mixing tank"maintaining a prescribed salt concentration in the outlet stream (as indicated by a conductivity sensor). Another challenge allows students to feed dilute acid and base solutions (typically vinegar/sodium bicarbonate) to a mixing tank, maintaining a particular pH.

Process Instrumentation and Automatic Control: In CHE 4223, Process Instrumentation and Automatic Control, a design project is given where the students are required to develop a numerical model to simulate the dynamic response of a chemical process to examine various control strategies. The students also utilize Loop-Pro software to control several chemical processes.

Each BS curriculum includes a capstone design course, except for Computer Science.

Software Engineering Senior Design Project - The software engineering capstone design experience consists of a two-semester sequence in which students from the software engineering (SE) program in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering team with students from other disciplines on campus to work as an industrial team on a software engineering product for a real customer. Each year, the students in the Software Engineering Senior Design class are charged with developing a system and exercising the entire software engineering lifecycle - from requirements to delivery. During the 2016-17 academic year, the Software Engineering Senior Design course involves four teams working on four different projects.
This year's projects include the following systems:
EcoCAR3 ADAS - Mississippi State University's EcoCAR3 team is currently in the 3rd year of the 4-year competition with 15 other universities throughout the US and Canada. The CSE Senior Design team is working to develop and enhance the vehicle's vision-based Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). The team is developing vision processing algorithms to assess real-world traffic and surroundings (e.g., stop signs, speed limit) to enhance driver experience and safety.
Future Grower Technology - College of Ag and Life Sciences - The goal of the Future Grower program is to develop training systems to teach the next generation of greenhouse and grower house operators how to successfully manage agricultural resources in a safe, non-threatening environment. The team is developing a server-based simulation game to use as a training tool and incorporating actual commercial control interfaces, 3D models of selected plant species, and trainee remote interfaces on iOS and Android mobile platforms. This application will reduce the operator training time by simulating shortened virtual growth cycles.
The FSB Companies Cattle Management System - The FSB Companies is a boutique investment firm that invests in and manages a diverse portfolio of companies at all stages of growth. The FSB portfolio contains agricultural holdings focused on livestock management. The senior design team is developing a full-stack web application with iOS and Android mobile app interfaces to track the status, location and health of managed cattle, straw inventory, and breeding cycles. This system will replace a manual, paper process and allow access to available metrics to enable process improvement.
Camgian Microsystems - Camgian develops advanced sensing and information processing platforms that deliver real-time, actionable intelligence. The CSE Senior design team is supporting development of Camgian's Egburt fog computing software platform providing sensor analytics to its clients. The team is developing algorithms to detect and report correlations between streams of sensor data to alert operators to data anomalies prior to actual disruptions in operations. The system will produce an interactive network map upon anomaly detection that the operator can use to pinpoint the source of any problems.
CSE 4713 Programming Languages - This class has a semester-long project that involves the design and implementation of a language translation system. This project is required for computer science students and serves to bring together the knowledge from the pre-requisite classes into a semester-long project involving the analysis, parsing and implementation of a model computer language.

Both electrical engineering and computer engineering students participate in a two-semester senior design sequence. Student teams are composed of three to five students and are free to choose their own projects. In the first semester, student teams complete a working prototype, with the second semester dedicated to fine-tuning, packaging, and testing of the final design.

Senior design teams compete each year at the IEEE SoutheastCon Hardware Design Competition that has teams from 30+ regional universities, building autonomous robots to perform various tasks. Our ECE student team has placed in the top three positions seven times and secured first place four times (1st in 2003, 1st in 2005, 3rd in 2006, 1st in 2007, 2nd in 2008, 3rd in 2010, and 1st in 2014). Our students have also participated in the software and ethics competitions at SoutheastCon. Senior design teams can also be sponsored by external sources such as private companies (e.g., Nissan) and state/federal agencies (e.g., Mississippi Department of Transportation and Army Material Systems Analysis Activity, Proving Ground, Maryland).

Outside of the framework of the senior design sequence, other ECE students are teaming with aerospace and other engineering students to compete in the annual Student Unmanned Aerial System (SUAS) design competition, sponsored by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. This is an international competition where the MSU team placed second overall out of twenty-five teams in 2010 and placed first out of sixteen teams in 2008. In addition, Mississippi State University is one of 16 universities in North America participating in EcoCAR 3: An Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition. Sponsored by General Motors and the U.S. Department of Energy, the goal of this 4 year-competition is to redesign a Chevrolet Camaro into a hybrid-electric car that will reduce environmental impact, while maintaining the muscle and performance expected from this iconic American car.

Manufacturing Processes Design Project " Industrial engineering students in IE 3323 work in teams to define the sequence of processes, along with specific machines and tooling required to efficiently and economically manufacture a selected commercially available product.
Systems Simulation I Project - Industrial engineering students in IE 4773 work in teams (undergraduate) or individually (graduate students) to complete a project involving either the solution of an actual manufacturing system problem from industry, or the design of a production or service facility defined in cooperation with the instructor. Each project must involve a detailed analysis of all aspects of the project including problem definition, identification of key performance measures, development of an operational description of the problem, simulation implementation, and model verification and validation. In addition to the intermediate reports submitted during the semester, each project must submit a final report along with their model.
Senior Design Project - Industrial engineering senior design students work in teams to design a production facility for a product they choose or a service facility for a service they choose. Each team must conduct detailed analyses of all aspects of the proposed venture, including the market for the product, the selection of a site for the facility, fabrication and assembly process design, material handling systems design, facility layout, facility and product safety, and financial analysis. Each senior design team collaborates with teams from another industrial and systems engineering class, Manufacturing Processes. In addition to intermediate reports submitted during the semester, at the end of the semester students submit a final report and make a presentation to practicing industrial and systems engineers who critique their designs.

All mechanical engineering students are required to take a series of design courses. Among these are machine design, energy system design (ESD) and mechanical system design (MSD). The last two are considered the capstone courses in the curriculum. In MSD, students work in teams of 4 to 7 students. Each team is assigned an industry project, and a proposal and final report are required. In addition, the students are required to deliver a design review/update presentation as well as a final presentation. Use of computer aided engineering tools like finite element analysis (FEA) is an integral part of the project. Other activities include peer evaluations and team building exercises.

SAE Formula Car. The Mechanical Engineering student section of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) annually designs, builds, and races a formula car in the International SAE competition. A team of approximately 35 students are involved every year with this project. Almost half of these students assume a leading role for one aspect of the project (e.g. powertrain, chassis, body). The completed car and team travel to race location to participate in the competition in the Spring semester each year. Funding for the project comes from corporations, alumni, private donors, the Mechanical Engineering Department, the Bagley College of Engineering, and Mississippi State University.

EcoCAR 3. MSU is competing in year three of the four-year EcoCAR 3 competition, which is the latest in a series of advanced vehicle technology competitions (AVTCs) sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and General Motors and managed by Argonne National Laboratory. As the premier collegiate automotive engineering competition in North America, EcoCAR 3 provides MSU students the opportunity to "re-engineer" a GM-donated Chevrolet Camaro to minimize fuel consumption and to reduce its environmental impact, while maintaining the performance expected from a Camaro. MSU’s student teams have historically performed exceptionally well in DOE AVTCs and the EcoCAR 3 team seeks to build on the strong foundation for success established by its predecessors.

ASME Human Powered Vehicle Challenge (HPVC). The Mechanical Engineering student section of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers annually designs, builds, and races a practical, eco-friendly transportation by means of human powered vehicles. A team of approximately 15 students are involved every year with this project. About 5 or 6 of the students assume a leading role for one aspect of the project (e.g. composites, innovation, safety, design). The completed bike and team travel to race location to participate in the competition in the Spring semester each year. Funding for the project comes from corporations, alumni, private donors, the Mechanical Engineering Department, the Bagley College of Engineering, and Mississippi State University.