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An Update to a Multidisciplinary Hydroelectric Generation Design Project

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Multidisciplinary Engineering Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.178.1 - 24.178.13



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Paper Authors


David M. Feinauer P.E. Norwich University

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Dr. Feinauer is a Lecturer in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Norwich University and he coordinates the freshman engineering experience for students of Norwich’s David Crawford School of Engineering. He holds a Ph.D. and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Kentucky.

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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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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.

Feinauer, D. M., & Prairie, M. W. (2014, June), An Update to a Multidisciplinary Hydroelectric Generation Design Project Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20069

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