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ME 497 Mechanical Engineering Capstone Design Project

Catalog Description

ME 497 Mechanical Engineering Capstone Design Project (3). Corequisites: ME 440 and ME 442. Team oriented design of a mechanism, system or process satisfying a set of open-ended requirements. Written reports and oral presentations are required.

Prerequisites by Topic

  1. Machine design
  2. Heat transfer
  3. Computer aided design


K.T. Ulrich and S.D. Eppinger, Product Design and Development, McGraw-Hill, 1995.


J.V. Jones, Engineering Design: Reliability, Maintainability and Testability, Tab Books, 1988.


M.K. Sharp, Professor of Mechanical Engineering.

Course Learning Outcomes

This course is designed to provide a comprehensive design experience for fourth year mechanical engineering students, challenging their ability to utilize their engineering education and cooperative internship experience in formulating solutions to practical design problems. The open-ended projects encompass a large portion of the design process, including initial problem formulation, preliminary design of the entire mechanism or system, intermediate design of individual components, and detail design. Particular emphasis is placed on developing team building skills. Project iterations are documented through a proposal, weekly activity reports, an interim report, a final report, and an oral presentation. Industrial design projects are used whenever possible.

Topics Covered

  1. Design philosophies and methodology (11 classes)
  2. Form synthesis and optimization (2 classes)
  3. Project management and documentation (3 classes)
  4. Team building exercises (1 class)
  5. Instructor review of activity, problem definition, and interim reports; assessment of design configurations (8 classes)
  6. Project design activity (16 classes)
  7. Interim presentations, formal evaluation of design (2.5 hours)
  8. Final examination/presentation (1 class)

Computer Use

Various design and analysis software packages, as necessary.

Class/Laboratory Schedule

Three 50 minute sessions per week devoted to lecture, discussion, and problem solving for the first six weeks of the term; weekly presentations and design reviews for the last eight weeks.

Curriculum Criterion Contribution

Engineering design: 3 credits.

Relationship to Program Outcomes

This course supports Mechanical Engineering Department B.Sc. program objectives by developing:

  • An ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering in the field of mechanical engineering.
  • An ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs in the field of mechanical engineering.
  • An ability to function effectively on teams.
  • An ability to identify, formulate and solve problems in the field of mechanical engineering.
  • An understanding of professional and ethical responsibility in the field of mechanical engineering.
  • An ability to communicate effectively.
  • The broad educational perspective necessary to understand the impact of mechanical engineering solutions in a global and societal context.
  • A recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in, life-long learning in the field of mechanical engineering.
  • A knowledge of contemporary issues in the field of mechanical engineering.
  • An ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern tools necessary for the practice of mechanical engineering.

Prepared by M.K. Sharp, June 2009

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