June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
24.178.1 - 24.178.13
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. They complete the secondcourse in the sequence in their respective disciplines. A final project in the second semester thatcould bring the students back together to make discipline-specific contributions to a multi-disciplinary project was desired. The chosen project was a hydroelectric generation project inwhich the ME students designed a turbine to work in a laboratory flume, and the ECE studentsdesigned a permanent-magnet generator with power monitoring. In addition to designing theirrespective components, the students had to communicate with others among the variousdisciplines to define interfaces and requirements for their designs so all the components couldwork together as a larger system. The first year of the project was successful in that the studentteams were able to design working components that functioned together in a system to generateelectricity, and the experience generated several lessons-learned that will be used to enhance theexperience for the next class of freshmen. Many of the lessons learned were adopted in thesecond annual iteration of the project. The scope of work for each of the respective disciplineswas narrowed and the project test platform was modified to afford the students the opportunity totest, measure, and analyze the performance of differing mechanical turbine designs. A number ofnew challenges were present in the second iteration of the project. The paper will be an updateto a previous paper presented at this conference and will include a discussion of the scope of thedesign problem, a summary of the lessons learned and associated project modifications that wereincorporated through multiple project executions, and a qualitative discussion of the value of themultidisciplinary project to student achievement of course specific outcomes related to thefreshman engineering sequence.
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