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Work in Progress: Engineering Economy Taught Across Engineering Disciplines

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Engineering Economy Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Divisions

Engineering Management, Systems Engineering, Engineering Economy, and Industrial Engineering

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Paper Authors


Brian Aufderheide Hampton University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Brian Aufderheide is Chairperson in Chemical Engineering at Hampton University. He completed his PhD in Chemical Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. His areas of expertise are in advanced control, design, and modeling of biomedical, chemical, and biological processes. He has consulted for both medical device and biotechnology companies. He was sole engineer and QC supervisor of a 40MM lb/yr custom extrusion company. He has over 15 years of experience in education developing over 25 new courses. He has supervised over 35 Industrial Design Projects. He is a returned Peace Corps Volunteer. He is dedicated in helping his students to succeed.

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Otsebele E. Nare Hampton University

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Otsebele Nare is an Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering at Hampton University, VA. He received his electrical engineering doctorate from Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD, in 2005. His research interests include System Level Synthesis Techniques, Multi-Objective Optimization, Device Modeling and K-16 Integrative STEM education.

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This is a Work in Progress. Students are taught how to model, write, and solve engineering equations as part of their typical curriculum. But what is not covered is how to meld the engineering design world with the economic domain needed to be successful in industry. One author has supervised over 35 industrial design projects, and through his experience found that what industry values most is a detailed Financial Operational Model with clear design and economic parameters evaluated through sensitivity analysis. At Hampton University, engineering economy has been taught to senior chemical engineering students in their first design course. However, this fall a new course was delivered to all engineering students. The new engineering economy class replaced a general education elective so no additional credit/course demand on students was required. The inclusion of all engineering students came about after an interdisciplinary team won a design competition in large part due to a senior chemical engineer’s work on the financial operational model and her resulting sensitivity analysis for their product design. Students from all engineering disciplines wanted to learn the skill she so aptly applied.

The twenty-four students are mostly African-American juniors and seniors from chemical, electrical and computer engineering. The primary focus is on construction of a Financial Operational Model in Excel for a process that includes engineering design equations (30-40 typically) combined with economics to build a processing plant that covers the range of indirect and direct costs for both construction and operation of the facility. The assessments for the course are weekly quizzes and a large take home exam. The course begins with students manipulating and simulating an existing financial operational model by creating pie charts for capital and operational expenditures and various sensitivity analyses. After this exposure, students begin the process of building their own financial operational model. The challenge to the students is adding economic elements for mechanical construction, power, circuit design and production, and coding cost estimates for firmware and interface software. Our main objective is to acclimatize students to solving a system of engineering equations across disciplines and linking them to a real economic setup to evaluate the financial viability of a design project.

Aufderheide, B., & Nare, O. E. (2020, June), Work in Progress: Engineering Economy Taught Across Engineering Disciplines Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35629

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