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A Capstone Senior Engineering Design Course: A Project Case Study And Its Subsequent History

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.5.1 - 6.5.9



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Paper Authors

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Paul Duesing

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Kevin Schmaltz

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Dan Goodrich

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Pamela Schmaltz

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2525

A Capstone Senior Engineering Design Course: A Project Case Study and Its Subsequent History Pamela Schmaltz, Kevin Schmaltz and Paul Duesing Lake Superior State University

Dan Goodrich Continental Teves, Inc.

I. Introduction

A senior engineering design course can be used to develop ties with industry while giving students a taste of real-life project engineering. The engineering and technology curricula at Lake Superior State University (LSSU) incorporate a two-semester, multidisciplinary capstone senior design course in which students participate in projects funded by local or regional industries. As such, the university must balance the needs of the funding company with the realities of teaching project engineering to students who may never have been involved in a “real” engineering project before. The funding companies expect and deserve a quality project and the university must provide students with a major design experience subject to realistic constraints that can be monitored and measured. Often, too, the students are more likely to remember and learn from a situation in which things goes wrong instead of a situation in which everything goes well.

This paper discusses one of LSSU’s recent senior projects and the difficulties encountered both during and after its implementation. Continental Teves, Inc. (CTI), a manufacturer of electronic chassis systems (including Anti-lock Brake Systems and Traction Control Systems), approached LSSU to design, build, and test a surface friction tester. Aided by the engineering faculty and several industrial contacts from CTI, a team of six students implemented the project during a two-semester period. Along the way, they encountered many challenges, both expected and unexpected. Inadequate project planning and delivery delays resulted in the final product being delivered two weeks late, with only the most cursory of testing completed.

The surface friction tester delivered to CTI was successful in obtaining reliable friction coefficients when measured against other existing surface friction testers, such as that used by Continental General Tire Company. Significant problems existed with the tester, including control system limitations – most importantly the difficulty in maintaining a preset downward force on the test tire. In addition, some of the components were less durable than expected and failed prematurely. Finally, the tester exhibited a resonance problem that had not been anticipated. LSSU faculty and CTI engineers substantially redesigned the tester to correct the problems discovered and to upgrade the friction tester capabilities. LSSU and CTI have continued to co-operate on subsequent senior design projects.

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Duesing, P., & Schmaltz, K., & Goodrich, D., & Schmaltz, P. (2001, June), A Capstone Senior Engineering Design Course: A Project Case Study And Its Subsequent History Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--8981

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