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Twists and Turns of a Senior Design Project

[+] Author Affiliations
M. Salim Azzouz, Jan Brink

Midwestern State University, Wichita Falls, TX

Paper No. IMECE2016-66194, pp. V005T06A048; 6 pages
  • ASME 2016 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 5: Education and Globalization
  • Phoenix, Arizona, USA, November 11–17, 2016
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5057-2
  • Copyright © 2016 by ASME


Teaching senior design courses and labs has not been an easy task for the two authors. It has been rather a daunting working task associated with great learning experiences. It was decided early on from the initiation of the mechanical engineering program at the McCoy School of Engineering at Midwestern State University that the senior design project within the senior design class is a testing and enriching experience for senior mechanical engineering students as well as the teaching faculty. The senior design course and labs are conducted as a research experience for undergraduate students and their assigned faculty. The proposed senior project spans over two semesters, fall and spring, where the students experience a full mechanical engineering related project from the inception phase, through the design and construction phases, and finishing with the testing and analysis phases. The inception phase stands essentially for the brainstorming phase where the students are required to come-up with a set of diverse solutions to their assigned project problem. The design and construction phases stand for choosing an optimal particular solution for their problem according to a set of defined criteria. Then, the students start the preliminary design phase with related cost estimation, and then finalize the design with a set of final drawings.

After the design phase, the students start building a machine, an apparatus, a prototype or putting together the elements of a process. In this period they work intensely, with their faculty, the purchasing department, and mostly the department machinist, or the surrounding town machine shops. The testing and analysis phase stands for designing an experimental set-up, writing a testing procedure, and obtaining real time recorded data and proceeding with its analysis. In this technical paper, the authors talk about the requirements for a senior project known as the deliverables, the teaching tools used throughout the class work and labs, the students’ partial and final PowerPoints presentations and weekly and final reports. The authors describe the students overall achievements, and the archiving of the projects. Additionally, the authors talk about the twists and turns encountered during a senior project, with students, other faculty, the machinist, the lab technician, the secretary, and suppliers, and other difficulties experienced in running a full project with real final products. Finally, the authors talk about the aftermath of a senior project, eventual publications related to the project, and what is the view point of the American Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET) on these senior projects.

Copyright © 2016 by ASME
Topics: Design



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