Skip to: Main Content Search Navigation Secondary Navigation

Mechanical engineering seniors present capstone projects as part of annual demo day

Bennett Leckrone and Colleen Carow | Apr 26, 2019
ME Demo Day

Mechanical engineering seniors present capstone projects as part of annual demo day

Bennett Leckrone and Colleen Carow | Apr 26, 2019

Ohio University’s Stocker Center and the Academic & Research Center were filled with an array of innovative devices and tools on Sat., April 13 as mechanical engineering seniors from the Russ College of Engineering and Technology showed off their year-long capstone class designs.

Robe Professor and Chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering Greg Kremer said many of the “Designing to Make a Difference” projects support real community needs.

“We reach out to the community and find individuals or organizations who have needs but not the resources to fill those needs – because our students are able to create products that solve the problems,” Kremer said. “It’s the true definition of ‘create for good.’”

One of those organizations was a former partner of Parkersburg, West Virginia: SW Resources, which provides employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. Student Katie Ludden helped develop a device that will make it easier for employees open packages of tea leaves.

According to Ludden, only 5 percent of employees can open the packages currently, whereas the new device enables 80 percent of employees to succeed.

“It’s helping more people have more jobs,” Ludden said. “All of these people are part of the community.”

Bo Redman worked with a team to develop a torsion-testing device to help younger engineering students learn several fundamental concepts about torque.

“We want to have an immersive experience for lower, sophomore-level engineering,” Redman said. “This will provides students with more learning opportunities than just reading from a book. It’s hands on.”

A total of 16 teams presented their capstone projects as part of the demo:

  • Team Dust Offenders: Devised a way for the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) to stop abrasive desert dust from clogging air filters on unmanned aerial vehicles, which wears out engine parts and limits power output
  • THR33: Designed a more sturdy, ergonomic and cost-effective device to enable the work of a local artist with Passion Works, a local non-profit that helps individuals with various disabilities create art for the community; the device will be entered into the Source America Design Challenge 
  • Team oUAS: Developed an uninhabited aerial system with an onboard sensor suite that can collect thermodynamic data in the rear flank downdraft of a pre-tornadic storm, in order to help meteorologists better understand tornado-genesis, which could lead to the development of better early warning systems
  • Team Acid Mine Metal Recovery (AMMR): Developed an apparatus that uses a chemical process to separate a mixture of metals into individual metal streams, in order to transform acid mine drainage into marketable products
  • Team Wheelchair Umbrella Holder: Developed a method of securely attaching an umbrella to an Ohio University employee’s manual wheelchair, to keep him dry while still retaining full mobility
  • Team Recycled Plastics: Designed a mold system to melt plastic bottles into building material for the Bottles to Boardwalks project, which arose from a 2018 senior design team and now aims to convert waste water bottles into building materials in Uganda
  • Autonomous Vehicle Suspension: Developed a suspension system and sensor stabilization to improve the ride quality for one of the autonomous cars designed by the Russ College student organization Professional Autonomous Vehicle Engineers (PAVE) team
  • ChefVet team: Designed a handicapped-accessible kitchen table that can be lowered to 30 inches and raised to 50 inches via a smartphone or tablet application, in order to serve individuals in wheelchairs and those who are taller than average, for ChefVet, a non-profit organization that provides employment opportunities to disabled veterans in the food service industry
  • Team Amaranth Popper: Created a new amaranth popper for local business Shagbark Seed and Mill that can continually pop seed with little human interaction
  • Team Thermoregulation: Partnered with QL+, an organization that connects student engineers with disabled veterans, to design a comfortable, lightweight, discreet cooling vest for an Air Force veteran with multiple sclerosis who struggles to maintain his body temperature
  • Ohio University Algae Pelletizer: Produced an algae pelletizer to create feed for aquatic livestock in order to address the environmental problem of in waste ponds that create algae blooms in local watersheds
  • Torsion Tester Team: Designed an inexpensive, low-profile torsion tester machine that can twist metal samples to failure, in order to provide Russ College students with hands-on opportunities to apply manual force to various metals while monitoring torque and the angular displacement
  • Shagbark Bag Fillers: Created an automated, compact, mobile bag-filling machine for local business Shagbark Seed and Mill with an easy-to-use interface featuring various lighted indicators
  • Team SW Resources Tea Bagging Solutions: Developed a device for SW Resources’ tea packaging process to make opening a re-closable bag more accessible for individuals with disabilities, resulting in 160 of 200 employees being able to work on the task, whereas previously only 10 could; the device will be entered into the Source America Design Challenge 
  • Flying Bobcats: Redesigned a portion of the Jetcat P100 Rx Jet Turbine engine’s casing for the AFRL to increase the engine’s overall performance and deliverable payload capability, improving the thrust-to-weight ratio from 10:1 to 10:64.1
  • Green Thumbs: Designed a tarp covering system for Green Edge Gardens, a small, organic farm in Amesville, Ohio, to enable one worker to cover or uncover crops quickly and easily in cold weather
  • Team Monday Creek: Redesigned the fishing and canoeing dock of non-profit adventure camp Monday Creek Adventure Company to address stability, safety and ease-of-use problems, and created an apparatus to ease canoe exit and entry

Team 2nd Life: Developed a system capable of simultaneously testing up to 16 Lithium Ion battery cells in three hours in order to support a local community team’s participation in the “Refurbished and Re-power: Second Life Battery” movement that’s aimed at collecting, testing and repurposing discarded lithium ion batteries for common use in home energy storage

Teams often enter their projects into national competitions, having won almost $150,000 in recent years, including Source America’s first place championship in 2009, 2011, 2013, and 2014; second place in 2015 and 2017; and third place in 2012. Team winnings are applied to future capstone projects.