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The Use of an Iterative Industry Project in a One Semester Capstone Course

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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

Topics Enhancing ET Education

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.1250.1 - 24.1250.11



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Paper Authors


Michael Johnson Texas A&M University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Michael D. Johnson is an associate professor in the department of engineering technology and industrial distribution at Texas A&M University. Prior to joining the faculty at Texas A&M, he was a senior product development engineer at the 3M Corporate Research Laboratory in St. Paul, Minn. He received his B.S. in mechanical engineering from Michigan State University and his S.M. and Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Johnson’s research focuses on design tools, specifically the cost modeling and analysis of product development and manufacturing systems; computer-aided design methodology; and engineering education.

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Jorge L Alvarado Texas A&M University

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Dr. Jorge Alvarado is an associate professor in the department of engineering technology and industrial distribution at Texas A&M University (TAMU), with a joint appointment in the department of mechanical engineering. He teaches courses in the areas of thermal sciences, fluid mechanics, and fluid power. Dr. Alvarado’s research interests are in the areas of nanotechnology, micro-scale heat transfer, electronic cooling, phase change materials, thermal storage, biofuel combustion, and energy conservation and use of renewable energy in buildings. He received his B.S. degree in mechanical engineering (1991) from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, and M.S. (2000) and Ph.D. (2004) degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

He has worked and collaborated with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the University of Wisconsin, Madison, among others. Recent work involves characterization of microencapsulated phase-change material slurry and nanoparticles in heat transfer fluids, as well as the study of spray cooling using nanostructured surfaces. Dr. Alvarado has done substantial work in the area of biofuel characterization in the last few years. He also has written several journal articles in the area of phase change materials, nanofluids, spray cooling, condensation, and biofuel combustion.

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The Use of an Iterative Industry Project in a One Semester Capstone CourseCapstone projects provide students the opportunity to use the combined knowledge and skillsgained throughout their educational curriculum to address a relevant (frequently industrysponsored) problem. While capstone courses are often two semesters and allow studentssignificant time to design and advance a project, in some curricula these courses are limited toone semester. In such instances, the scope of prospective projects needs to be refined to meet thesponsor needs while also providing students with a worthwhile, yet tractable capstoneexperience. This work will describe the process used in one engineering technology programwhere students work on a certain aspect of a multi-semester industry-sponsored project.This paper will detail the key documentation and scoping procedures that are necessary tofacilitate these types of iterative multi-semester industry projects. An illustrative case will beused to highlight how this has been implemented for one industry project that has spanned threesemesters. Examples of student work and findings will be presented to highlight the key scopingand documentation challenges of an iterative project necessary to meet the sponsor’sexpectations over the long term. Lessons that can broadly be applied to capstone projects and keylessons gleaned from these projects will also be presented.

Johnson, M., & Alvarado, J. L. (2014, June), The Use of an Iterative Industry Project in a One Semester Capstone Course Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--23183

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