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An Integrated Interdisciplinary Technology Project In Undergraduate Engineering Education

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Capstone Design & Project Courses

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.220.1 - 12.220.12



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Paper Authors


P. Ruby Mawasha Wright State University

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P. Ruby Mawasha is the Assistant Dean of College of Engineering and Computer Science and is the director of Wright STEPP. He holds a PhD from the University of Akron, and is a PE. He has received numerous honors including Omicron Delta Kappa, Pi Tau Sigma, Pi Mu Epsilon, and Tau Beta Pi. His research interests include thermo-fluids sciences, bioengineering, applied mathematics, and engineering education.

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Kumar Yelamarthi Wright State University

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Kumar Yelamarthi is currently a Ph.D. student, and holds a Masters in Electrical Engineering from Wright State University. He serves as the lead Graduate Teaching Assistant for the Freshman Engineering and Computer Science Program. He was honored as the most outstanding Graduate Student in 2004, most outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant in 2005, and also has been nominated for excellence in teaching awards several times. He is currently an author on over fifteen publications. His research focus is low-power VLSI methodologies, and engineering education.

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J. Mitch Wolff Wright State University

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Joseph Slater Wright State University

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Zhiqiang Wu Wright State University

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

An Integrated Interdisciplinary Technology Project in Undergraduate Engineering Education


The ever changing engineering curriculum mandates an emphasis on interdisciplinary projects. Through interdisciplinary projects, students will be exposed to a curriculum that allows them to work in teams of multi-disciplinary members with focus geared towards integrated technologies. This effort requires collaboration of students and faculty from multiple disciplines, and provides students an opportunity to learn from several other engineering systems. In addition, these projects will also help students to learn and deal with the societal aspects of engineering.

The main focus of the paper is the interdisciplinary collaboration of electrical and mechanical engineering students on a senior capstone design of an integrated technology High Altitude Balloon (HAB) system. This project involves the design of a system with a smart high altitude balloon that would reach an altitude of 100,000 feet and return safely to earth. Major challenges in this project were the efficient design of wireless communication modules, and radiation heat transfer analysis on the payload system. The electrical and computer engineering students focused on wireless communication technology, control system design, and data analysis. The mechanical engineering students focused on the design aspects of payload, balloon filling mechanism, flight path prediction based on the study of wind data, and development of a balloon tracking system.

Through this experience, students have learned principles of integrated engineering technology, and nurtured their skills in cooperative learning, team work, and effective planning. This paper presents in detail the modes by which these have been achieved, results obtained and improvements planned for the next senior design team.


Weather balloons have been used for many years by meteorologists to study weather patterns in the upper atmosphere. Recently there has been increasing interest in other studies that could be performed using weather balloons in “near space” environment. The exact definition varies, but “near space” is often considered the area of the earth’s atmosphere between approximately 100,000 - 200,000 feet. Universities and other scientific institutes, such as University of Montana and NASA Glenn Explorer Post, Cleveland, OH, have been developing programs in this area. The goal of this capstone senior design project was to develop a ballooning program in Wright State University (WSU).

The first step taken in the project was to assemble the team and brainstorm on the approaches and experiments to be performed. The HAB student team comprised of five students (three from mechanical engineering, and two from electrical engineering), and four faculty members (three from mechanical engineering, and one from electrical engineering). The entire HAB team meets once every week to discuss the weekly progress, and sub-teams (electrical and mechanical) meet

Mawasha, P. R., & Yelamarthi, K., & Wolff, J. M., & Slater, J., & Wu, Z. (2007, June), An Integrated Interdisciplinary Technology Project In Undergraduate Engineering Education Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1921

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