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A Multidisciplinary Hydroelectric Generation Design Project for the Freshman Engineering Experience

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Capstone Projects, Design Projects, and Teamwork

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.73.1 - 23.73.10



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Paper Authors


Michael W. Prairie Norwich University

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Dr. Prairie is an Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Norwich University in Vermont where he teaches electrical engineering courses and guides undergraduate student research in electrical system design. Prior to joining Norwich he spent 10 years in industry developing sensor systems after serving as an officer managing Science & Technology development programs for 15 years in the United States Air Force (USAF). He holds a PhD in Electrical Engineering from North Carolina State University, a MSEE from the Air Force Institute of Technology, and a BSEE from Norwich University.

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Gregory Wight P.E. Norwich University

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Director, David Crawford School of Engineering

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Peter Kjeer Harvard University

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A Multidisciplinary Hydroelectric Generation Design Project for the Freshman Engineering ExperienceA two-semester Introduction to Engineering course sequence at the authors’ institution hasMechanical Engineering (ME), Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) and Electrical andComputer Engineering (ECE) students together for the first semester, and they are separated intotheir disciplines during the second semester. A final project in the second semester was desiredthat could bring the students back together to make discipline-specific contributions to a multi-disciplinary project. The chosen project was a hydroelectric generation project in which the MEstudents designed a water wheel to work in a laboratory flume, the ECE students designed apermanent-magnet generator with wireless monitoring, and the CEE students designed astructure to support the wheel and generator. In addition to designing their respectivecomponents, the students had to communicate between disciplines to define interfaces andrequirements for their designs so all the components could work together as a larger system. Thefirst year of the project was successful in that the student teams were able to design workingcomponents that functioned together in a system to generate electricity, and the experiencegenerated several lessons-learned that will be used to enhance the experience for the next class offreshmen. The paper will discuss the scope of the design problem and the resulting designsolutions, the lessons learned, and the improvements for the second cycle of the project.

Prairie, M. W., & Wight, G., & Kjeer, P. (2013, June), A Multidisciplinary Hydroelectric Generation Design Project for the Freshman Engineering Experience Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19087

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