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WORK IN PROGRESS: Wave Energy Converter Design Project

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies: Aero and Mechanical Engineering

Tagged Division

Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies

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Paper Authors


Kaitlin Mallouk Rowan University Orcid 16x16

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Kaitlin Mallouk is an Instructor of Mechanical Engineering at Rowan University. Kaitlin has a BS in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University and an MS in Environmental Engineering in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois. She is completing her PhD in Environmental Engineering with a focus on Air Quality Engineering at the University of Illinois.

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Joseph F. Mandara Rowan University

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Joseph F. Mandara is a junior Mechanical Engineering major at Rowan University. He is also pursuing a Mathematics minor, and he is a member of the Bantivoglio Honors Concentration.

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As part of a multidisciplinary sophomore-level engineering design and technical writing course, a project that required students to design a small-scale ocean wave energy converter through a series of experiments was implemented. The project was designed to fulfill several of the course goals, which range from engineering design to engineering communication. For example, the goal of the engineering/design portion of the course is for students to demonstrate effective design processes, which include generating multiple engineering design solutions, applying sound engineering principles to choose the best solution and see it through to completion, and using parametric design to optimize an artifact or process. The communication goals of the course are for students to write in various engineering genres and demonstrate specific communication abilities needed for engineering communication.

The project that was developed is based on a device designed by of members of the Oregon Sea Grant (1). The simple wave energy converter device uses wave motion to move magnets in and out of a wire coil, which induces an electric current, in accordance with Faraday’s Law. In teams, students built prototype wave energy converters and a test rig. They then systematically varied the number of turns in the wire coil, the diameter of the coil, and the number of magnets to optimize the wave energy converter. Measurements of the AC voltage produced by the device were taken using a myDAQ and National Instruments ELVISmx software. Students then converted the AC voltage data to a root mean square voltage and used the results to make design decisions.

The culminating assignment for this project was a team-written laboratory report that followed the IMRAD (Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion) format. Students were required to justify their design choices with data and present the performance of all design instances and their final, optimized design. As a result, students were able to achieve many of the course goal described above.

This paper will describe, in detail, the wave energy converter device, the methods students used to optimize their designs, some challenges encountered over the course of the project, and students’ perceptions of their achievements of the course goals through completing this project.

1. Hanshumaker, W., Moon, R., Perrill, A. Wave Energy Engineer. Accessed Sep 2015.

Mallouk, K., & Mandara, J. F. (2016, June), WORK IN PROGRESS: Wave Energy Converter Design Project Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27361

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