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U.S. Coast Guard Academy - 2016

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Engineering Information

Student Projects

Student Design Projects Description


FITNESS CENTER, New Haven, CT - This project will provide conceptual design documents for a new fitness facility at Sector Long Island Sound.

The original sewer system at Sector San Francisco is in desperate need of repair or replacement. A 1998 study recommended major repairs be completed in order to prevent further environmental contamination, however no major maintenance projects have been completed since the system was installed. This project will design and develop alternatives for either repairing or replacing the system.

PAVEMENT EVALUATION, Clearwater, CA - Several areas of the airfield at Air Station Clearwater are in need of repair and re-configuration which is crucial to operational capabilities. This project will analyze the air station pavement, determine which areas are needed to be repaired or replaced and design the pavement accordingly.

ENGINEERS WITHOUT BORDERS, San Ramon, Nicaragua - Farmers in Nicaragua suffer from a limited growing season due to a short wet season. The farms are not equipped with engineered systems that would enable them to hold the water for a later use, therefore preventing crops from growing outside of the wet season. This project is a joint collaboration with the local Engineers Without Borders chapter that will design a pump system and holding tank for a local farm, with the intent of implementing it in the future.

STORMWATER SYSTEM REDESIGN, Portsmouth, VA - The stormwater system at Base Portsmouth does not function as designed, currently flooding at peak flow. This issue causes traffic and access concerns and has also caused damage to vehicles on the base. This project will redesign the stormwater drains and possible design of water management techniques such as rain gardens, detention basins etc. in order to prevent future areas of flooding due to sea-level rise.


DIRECTION FINDING OF SPREAD SPECTRUM (SS) Signals -This project aims to solve the need for CG assets to have the ability to direction find on SS signals such as the new signal proposed for the 406 MHz Search and Rescue Satellite (SARSAT) system to augment search and rescue operations. Students will design and build a data acquisition system capable of estimating the direction of arrival of SS signals using both FFT and de-spreading methods, use a Software Defined Radio (SDR) to transmit and receive test signals and demonstrate proof of concept, and design algorithms to extract information from simulated beacon messages.

DYNAMIC POSITIONING 2 - Rising failures of shipboard dynamic positioning systems (DPS) due to sensors issues are of concern. The Marine Safety Center (MSC) requires a DPS test platform to study why these marine incidents are occurring and how the system can perform. This project consists of variety of networking designs for multiple sensors and sub-systems to achieve an autonomous real time control vessel. The measurement data from the vessel will be transmitted to microcontroller and computer. A centralized database is chosen that allows multi-user applications or programs in the present case to access, query, and write data simultaneously without closing connections.

THE POWER PROJECT- The power project is an exploration of power systems. Leveraging the Hampden lab equipment, cadets will construct a functioning generator switchboard with the capability of automatically paralleling up to three Hampden generators, balancing the real and reactive power, and automatically adding or removing generators as dictated by the load. Closed loop digital control systems will be implemented to adjust the speed of the prime mover (induction motor with variable frequency drive) and the generator’s field current to maintain a balance between all on-line machines. The system’s electrical frequency will also be time synchronized to GPS so that cadets may explore the reliance of the nation’s infrastructure on the GPS. A GUI operator interface will be constructed allowing simple control as well as advanced analysis of system operation. All data will be stored in a database for post analysis.

DGPS SMARTPHONE APPLICATION - Differential GPS service consists of a nationwide network of reference stations that monitor the GPS constellation to prepare a correction that is transmitted over a medium frequency radio beacon. Consumers use a DGPS receiver to receive the DGPS corrections and apply them to the GPS timing data to improve accuracy and provide a high level of integrity for end user applications. There are two goals for this project. Goal #1: Develop a Smartphone application to receive DGPS corrections over the existing Networked Transport of RTCM via Internet Protocol (NTRIP) standard and deliver the correction to external hardware/software applications through a USB connection. Goal #2: Apply the DGPS correction to Smartphone mapping/navigation applications

PORT CYBER-PHYSICAL SYSTEM SECURITY - As the newly-released Coast Guard’s Cyber Strategy reminds us, the Nation’s security and prosperity is critically reliant on a safe and secure maritime domain, where threats and risks to our Nation are effectively managed and maritime commerce continues to thrive. Presidential Policy Directive 21 on Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience notes that our Nation’s critical infrastructure is diverse and complex, consisting of distributed networks and interdependent functions and systems in both the physical and cyber spaces. The goal of this project is to increase the awareness of the cyber-physical threat by surveying the ICS infrastructure of a U.S. port and identifying an appropriate system to reproduce in a lab environment. This system will then be built, integrated, exercised, and be subject to a comprehensive vulnerability assessment. The results of this will be the basis for formulating mitigation strategies that will be demonstrated and contribute to assisting the maritime community in managing the risks these systems introduce to our ports.


SUBMERSIBLE ROV TO INSPECT FOR PROPER ANCHORING - It can be difficult to determine if a boat is properly anchored. A team of students is designing, fabricating and testing a prototype to inspect the anchor. The current design incorporates a tethered surface ROV with a submersible ROV equipped with an underwater camera to provide visual feedback to the user.

PORTABLE WASTE HEAT RECOVERY SYSTEM FOR WATER DISTILLATION - In a disaster, there is a critical need for electricity and clean water. Cogeneration is often applied to large industrial plants to extract useful work from waste heat. In this project, a team of students is extracting the waste heat from a portable generator to create clean water. The current design channels the generator’s exhaust through a heat exchanger to distill water. This combined with filters, etc. should provide clean drinking water.

There are situations in which it is better to put a UAV in harm’s way rather than a manned aircraft. This team of students is developing a system to launch a high speed UAV from a helicopter. They are also working on an application to satisfy an important Coast Guard mission. (Details are not provided for security reasons.)

LOW COST HEAT FLUX DETECTION EQUIPMENT - Fires at sea, including in situ burning of an oil spill, may be monitored by the Coast Guard. This may create an unsafe condition for crews and their ships monitoring the fires. Heat flux detection equipment exists but can be too expensive to deploy in the quantity desired. Our team of students is developing a low cost heat flux detection system.

DESIGN OF A DAVIT (Inland Waterway use) - Our Coast Guard cutters carry small boats to carry out their many missions. These must be safely lifted on and off. A DAVIT is a hoist commonly used for this purpose. As the small boats change, DAVIT requirements change. A team of students is designing a custom DAVIT for inland waterway use.


U.S. COAST GUARD MODULAR PATROL CUTTER - Due to expected future budget constraints, the current U.S. Coast Guard Offshore Patrol Cutter design may prove to be unaffordable. In order to mitigate this risk, two teams designed a Modular Patrol Cutter as a low cost alternative to fill potential U.S. Coast Guard mission gaps.
The Modular Patrol Cutter is designed to be an empty ship, i.e., it will be reconfigured with modular mission payloads to achieve operational tasking. One design variant uses the Standard Flex (STANFLEX) modular mission payload used by the Royal Danish Navy to achieve various missions while the second variant uses standard shipboard containers. The vessels must be economically competitive, safe to operate, energy efficient and environmentally friendly.

COMMERCIAL FLORIDA-HAVANA FERRY - In December of 2014, President Obama announced that the trade embargo with Cuba would be relaxed. Since then several companies have been issued licenses by the U.S. Treasury Department to operate a ferry service between the two countries. While it is unclear how Cuba will respond to the desire to reopen ferry services, it is clear that the loosening of the trade restrictions with Cuba has created an outstanding opportunity for businesses and tourism alike.
As such, two teams are working on the design of an vessel or vessels for transport of passengers and vehicles between ports in Florida and Havana, Cuba. One variant will operate out of Port Everglades and carry up to 600 passengers and 60 automobiles, while the second variant, operating from Tampa, will carry 250 passengers and up to 60 automobiles. The vessels must be economically competitive, safe to operate, energy efficient and environmentally friendly.


Design, Build, and Test of SAE Mini-Baja Off Road Vehicle for Competition and Recreational Use -
Preliminary design of an off-road vehicle capable of competing in the Society of Automotive Engineers’ Baja competition is presented. An overall design, along with advanced analysis on subsystems is presented along with prototype drive train and chassis subsystems. The team plans to race against a local university in Spring 2017. The project encompasses a wide range of practical mechanical engineering challenges faced daily by Coast Guard and industry engineers, including power conversion, human factors, and scheduling constraints.

Design, Build, and Test of Heavy Icebreaker Oil Distribution Box Propulsion Shaft Anti-Rollbar Mechanism - The Coast Guard’s only heavy icebreaker, CGC POLAR STAR, experiences a recurring engineering casualty on anti-rotation bars which prevent shaft propeller oil distribution (OD) boxes from rotating. The casualty renders the ship incapable of ice breaking for eight hours during repair. A prototype, incorporating energy storage and damping mechanisms, was designed after considering detailed dynamic analysis. The preliminary design incorporates a rapid repair fail-safe system.

Design, Build, and Test of Environmentally Friendly Low Emission Snow Trail Grooming System - The Wilderness Act of 1964 prohibits the use of combustion engines in certain wilderness areas. This limits options for grooming snow trails in remote areas. A local biking association expressed a desire for a prototype low emission snow grooming machine, leading to investigation of alternative fuel sources. Applications may also be suitable for Coast Guard Aid to Navigation units who manage trails for aid access. A design is presented to achieve lower emissions by converting a traditional gasoline powered snowmobile and groomer system to use Hydrogen as a primary fuel source.

Design, Build, and Test of a Corrosion Monitoring Device for Coast Guard and Marine Industry Assets -
Millions of dollars are invested in the inspection and repair of Aids to Navigation (ATON) due to corrosion. A prototype remote corrosion detection system is presented to significantly limit the number of inspections required to monitor Coast Guard assets. Design details and prototype components for a model buoy with integrated detection system are presented. The buoy uses renewable energy from wave action to power a data acquisition system. An effective design has the potential to save millions of dollars in time and resources for the ATON community, with implications for other CG communities.

Design, Build, and Test of Medical Device to Prevent Pressure Ulcer Complications - Pressure ulcers are estimated to affect over 180,000 hospital patients each year, with a significant number of deaths attributed to this cause. The preliminary design and prototype for a combined sensor and dynamic seating system is presented. The gel pad seat is actuated by a power screw to provide comfort to the patient. The concept incorporates an integrated control system which takes input from a sensor suite detecting temperature, pressure, and sub-epidermal moisture.

Design, Build, and Test of Classroom Regenerative Braking Demonstration Units - While regenerative braking and energy capture methods are increasingly used in commercial products, such as electric bicycles and hybrid automobiles, effective classroom demonstration devices are not available. The design of a classroom demonstration device is presented which translates, kinetic energy to stored energy, then back to kinetic energy. System efficiency data is provided to the user with an integrated data acquisition device. A prototype is demonstrated, and development of a practical device for use in advanced courses is considered.