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Leveraging Student’s Interests in a Senior Design Project through Integration of Materials Selection Methodology

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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

Materials Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

24.865.1 - 24.865.13



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Paper Authors


Mary B. Vollaro Western New England University

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Dr. Mary B. Vollaro is an Associate Professor in Mechanical Engineering and Coordinator of the College of Engineering Honors Program at Western New England University. She received her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Western New England University, her M.S. in Metallurgy from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (The Hartford Graduate Center), and her Ph.D. in the Field of Materials Science from the University of Connecticut. She is active in the ASEE Materials Division, and has previously held leadership roles in the division.

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Michael Brennan

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Michael Brennan is a 2014 graduate of Western New England University, where he earned his B.S. In Mechanical Engineering. He has been an avid skier his whole life and was very excited to combine his new engineering knowledge with his passion for skiing in his senior design project.

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Capitalizing on a student’s interests in a senior design project through integration of materials selection methodologyFinding the ‘perfect’ capstone project that captures the student’s interest and personal passion,and incorporates the fundamental engineering knowledge they have gained over the past 3 or soyears, is always challenging. This paper will show, by example of an all-mountain ski, anapproach to integrating design through materials selection methodology. From the instructor’sperspective, the framework for working in collaboration with the student to outline a viabledesign project to meet all the course outcomes is presented. Specifically, outcomes for the seniordesign project course state that the student must demonstrate the ability to identify design tasksand their objectives, apply engineering design principles either by working on a product,improving a product, or designing experiments to investigate causes of either an observedphenomenon or a problem of engineering, establish a project schedule, document the designactivities, and give technical presentations of the results in the forms of progress reports, poster,final written report and oral presentations. In parallel, the student’s work will demonstrate howthe outcomes were achieved and the design activities were implemented in the project, whichincluded use of Materials Selections methodology (as presented by Mike Ashby) and the CESMaterials Selection software. The student project, “Analysis of Core Materials for Design andFabrication of an All Mountain Ski”, illustrates how the student was able to research ski designand mechanics, identify the most important properties, select an all mountain ski shape, analyzecore materials, select materials to maximize ski characteristics, optimize ski core design, andmost importantly, build and test the prototype all mountain ski. The instructor will shareassessment and reflection on the student’s progress throughout the project including self-learningof materials selection methodology with CES software, key milestones for instructor/ studentcollaboration, and the positive impact of the project as the culmination of the student’sundergraduate engineering education.

Vollaro, M. B., & Brennan, M. (2014, June), Leveraging Student’s Interests in a Senior Design Project through Integration of Materials Selection Methodology Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20756

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