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Undergraduate Research And Creative Activity At Middle Tennessee State University

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Graduate Education and Undergraduate Research in ET

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.1359.1 - 11.1359.13



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Paper Authors


Saeed Foroudastan Middle Tennessee State University

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Dr. Saeed D. Foroudastan is the Associate Dean of the College of Basic and Applied Sciences and
Professor of Engineering technology at Middle Tennessee State University. He received his B.S. in Civil Engineering (1980), his M.S. in Civil Engineering (1982), and his Ph.D. in Mechanical
Engineering (1987) from Tennessee Technological University. Professor Foroudastan's employment vitae includes: Assistant professor of Mechanical
Engineering for Tennessee Technological University, Senior Engineer, Advanced Development Department, Textron Aerostructures, and Middle Tennessee State University. Professor Foroudastan is involved with several professional organizations and honor societies, and has many publications to his name. He also holds U.S. and European patents.

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michael anderton Middle Tennessee State University

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Michael Anderton is a second year Graduate Research Assistant at Middle Tennessee State University in Engineering Technology Department. He received his B.S. degree in Computer Engineering Technology at Middle Tennessee State University. Currently he is the manager of the Experimental Vehicles Program at MTSU.

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

Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity at Middle Tennessee State University


This paper discusses undergraduate research and creative activity at Middle Tennessee State University as implemented as a capstone course and design project. Four seniors from the electro-mechanical and mechanical disciplines applied and were partially funded to do undergraduate research. Their project was to build a boat to compete in the national Solar Splash competition. “Solar Splash is the World Championship of Solar/Electric boating. It is an international intercollegiate competition that takes place over five days”1. For their work, the seniors received credit for the capstone senior project class. As part of the work, the seniors led a team of freshman and sophomores. The benefit to this relationship: the seniors exercise their creativity and classroom knowledge while gaining valuable project management and decision making experience. The freshmen and sophomores also benefit as they work alongside the seniors; they get hands on experience as the engineering principles that they are being introduced to get put in to practice. When they become seniors themselves, they will be able to put all of that experience and classroom knowledge to build a new and improved solar boat, and lead a fresh batch of young engineering minds.

MTSU's Undergraduate Research Center promotes and champions change that institutionalizes a culture of inquiry and scholarship for all students and will coordinate the integration of research- based learning in undergraduate education, from the introductory experiences to the senior capstone experiences2. This culture of inquiry was evident during the design and construction of MTSU’s solar boat. The areas of research undertaken by the student team included: propeller design, hull design, drive train design, and designing the solar array. Hull weight, displacement of water, and aerodynamics all play critical roles in the success of the boat design. The boat must also be strong; this leads to researching suitable construction methods and materials. The student team must make decisions based on their research as to the most efficient design. This frequently resulted in the crafting of scaled models, computer modeling, and subsequent testing.

This project, with all its possible variables in design, placed a special emphasis on learning. It also brought out a competitive pride in the students to craft a solar boat capable of winning the Solar Splash competition.


Regulations are present that affect every aspect of the chosen design. Examples of regulations include buoyancy of craft, solar panel attachment, and drive train fastening. These along with all other regulations are available at The event consists of three major competitions. The endurance, sprint, and slalom make up the total event. The major portion of the competition is the endurance event. The watercraft must have excellent power management, an efficient hull design, and the appropriate drive train and propeller. These criteria must be met to have a successful craft. The power management consists of the proper batteries, motor(s), and

Foroudastan, S., & anderton, M. (2006, June), Undergraduate Research And Creative Activity At Middle Tennessee State University Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--1031

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2006 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015