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The Sophomore Engineering Clinic: An Introduction To The Design Process Through A Series Of Open Ended Projects

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.538.1 - 4.538.10

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Paper Authors

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Jawa Mariappan

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Anthony J. Marchese

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James A. Newell

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John L. Schmalzel

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Beena Sukumaran

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Ravi Ramachandran

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

Session 2225

The Sophomore Engineering Clinic: An Introduction to the Design Process through a Series of Open Ended Projects Anthony J. Marchese, James A. Newell, Ravi P. Ramachandran, Beena Sukumaran, John L. Schmalzel and Jawa Mariappan Rowan University Glassboro, NJ 08028-1701


A major objective of the Sophomore Engineering Clinic I, which is the third course in an 8- semester design sequence taken by all Rowan University engineering students, is to introduce students to formalized engineering design techniques employed by the various engineering disciplines. This objective is accomplished by introducing students to a Total Quality Management (TQM) approach to design. Using this approach, multidisciplinary student teams organize engineering specifications using the House of Quality, develop several conceptual designs, evaluate these designs using Pugh’s method, and perform guided iteration to identify optimum designs. Following their formal introduction to TQM, all engineering students complete four 3-week open-ended design projects sponsored by each of the four engineering departments. The mechanical engineering project focuses on design of a mechanism. In this project student teams design, analyze, fabricate, instrument and test a fully operational can crusher device. In the chemical engineering project, students evaluate the use of Kevlar (poly p- phenylene terephthalamide) fiber as a unique potential replacement for steel in highway bridges. Students perform tensile testing on Kevlar fibers and perform statistical analyses to propose a set of treatment conditions that will produce the optimal fiber for the proposed bridge. The civil engineering module focuses on the design of a sheet pile wall. Using laboratory experiments, students are introduced to the concept of flow nets and a seepage tank is used to demonstrate seepage flow around a sheet pile wall. Students perform a numerical simulation of fluid flow with MS Excel utilizing the finite difference approach and the numerical solutions are compared to actual values measured in the laboratory. Using these results, students design the most economical sheet pile wall section for a given set of conditions. Finally, in the electrical and computer engineering module, students are given the task of designing an analog filter that forces the frequency response of walkman style headphones to be flat or independent of frequency. Students measure the frequency response of the headphones in the laboratory, produce a design of the equalizer filter, build the equalizer filter and verify that the overall response is independent of frequency (flat). The performance of the design is calculated as the mean-square deviation from a flat response, which is done by writing a computer program in MATLAB.


In 1992, local industrialist Henry M. Rowan made a generous donation of $100 million to the then Glassboro State College to establish a high quality engineering school in southern New Jersey. This gift has enabled the university to create one of the most innovative and forward- looking engineering programs in the country.

Mariappan, J., & Marchese, A. J., & Newell, J. A., & Schmalzel, J. L., & Sukumaran, B., & Ramachandran, R. (1999, June), The Sophomore Engineering Clinic: An Introduction To The Design Process Through A Series Of Open Ended Projects Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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