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Incorporating Materials Science Projects In A Capstone Design Course

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1996 Annual Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

June 23, 1996

Start Date

June 23, 1996

End Date

June 26, 1996



Page Count


Page Numbers

1.253.1 - 1.253.3

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Paper Authors

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Jr., Paul J. Coyne

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F. Xavier Spiegel

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

Session 2364

Incorporating Materials Science Projects in a Capstone Design Course

F. Xavier Spiegel and Paul J. Coyne, Jr. Loyola College Department of Electrical Engineering & Engineering Science


The format, goals, and philosophy of the Loyola College Engineering Science Program’s capstone design course will be discussed in addition to particular projects based on course work in Materials Science that were attempted in recent years. Design projects in Materials can be particularly difficult to initiate for several reasons, among them the lack of facilities, adequate samples, equipment and limited funds. The authors have developed several projects that have overcome these difficulties and which have been well received by the students.


The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) describes design as the process of devising a system, component, or process to meet desired needsK. A capstone design course is an integration of the entire engineering education as well an exercise in communication skills, all of which are brought to bear in the completion of a given design objective.

The Bachelor of Science in Engineering Science degree program allows students to concentrate in either materials science, digital science, or electrical science. Each student must complete a two-course sequence, four credits each semester, during the fourth year of the program that exercises prior course work in a design project. The goals of this course sequence are: students will engage in a large scale capstone design project; students will exercise written communication skills; students will develop oral presentation skills; and students will engage in discussions on engineering professionalism emphasizing ethical, social, and environmental aspects of design.

The course is run by a single faculty member who takes care of the administrative details, conducts in- class discussions, and works with all students on the refinement of their written and oral communication skills. Additionally, each student selects a faculty member who acts as a technical consultant during the year. Individual projects are approved by the course instructor in consultation with the student’s technical consultant. During the first semester the student must complete a paper design of the final project. When appropriate students are encouraged to begin experimentation to help in making intermediate decisions in the design process.

The grading scheme during the first semester is a combination of the completion of administrative details, such as weekly progress reports and individual meetings with the instructor or technical consultant, and the paper design document that details the design analysis and construction details. Given the variation in design projects the instructor tries to balance the difficulty of the analysis task with the quality of the analysis. During the second semester the students complete the construction of their project. The semester concludes

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Coyne, J. P. J., & Spiegel, F. X. (1996, June), Incorporating Materials Science Projects In A Capstone Design Course Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia.

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