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A Senior Capstone Project In Pump System Design

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

ASEE Multimedia Session

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Page Numbers

7.101.1 - 7.101.12

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Charles Forsberg

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Session # 2793

A Senior Capstone Project in Pump System Design

Charles H. Forsberg

Department of Engineering, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY 11549


Hofstra University recently received a grant from the American Societ y of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) for students to design and build a pump system demonstration unit for the mechanical engineering laboratories. The grant was awarded through ASHRAE’s Undergraduate Senior Project Grant Program. Senior mechanical engineering students designed and built the pump system as their capstone design project in the thermofluids area - one of two such design projects required of seniors.

The objective of the project was to construct a pump unit incorporating two variable speed pumps which could be operated individually, in a series arrangement, or in a parallel arrangement. Sufficient instrumentation was to be provided to enable determination of the head- flow characteristics of the pumps in all the various configurations, and also the pump efficiencies. The unit was also to be portable and mounted on a cart so it could be used in classroom demonstrations in addition to being part of the laboratories. The ASHRAE grant provided the very welcome means of obtaining the desired experiment while giving the students a meaningful design experience which extended the students’ knowledge gained previously through lecture courses in fluid mechanics and instrumentation.

This paper describes the design and construction experience. It discusses the various alternatives considered by the students in the system design, and provides details of the final selected design, including parts list. It also describes the students’ experience in project construction. This information should be very useful to faculty desiring to add such an experiment to their labs.

Moreover, the paper describes non-technical aspects of the project. The project ultimately was very successful, with the pump experiment being incorporated into the mechanical engineering laboratories and used regularly in lab courses. Nevertheless, several problems were encountered during the endeavor. These problems were related to project organization and scheduling; interactions between faculty, students, and lab technicians; equipment procurement; division of work among the students; and the students’ abilities and motivation. The paper discusses the problems and makes suggestions for avoiding or at least minimizing such problems in future similar activities. This information should be very useful to faculty in planning and directing senior capstone design courses, regardless of topic.

“Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition, Copyright 2002, American Society for Engineering Education”

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Forsberg, C. (2002, June), A Senior Capstone Project In Pump System Design Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada.

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