What is Design?
Scientists often solve problems that arise because of questions people have about how the universe works. Engineers create solutions to problems because there is some need. This need may be rooted in the desire to make money (e.g. a consumer product), be altruistic (e.g. devices to help impoverished peoples), make life easier (e.g. building a bridge to cross a river), create an military advantage, or just because it is fun. Finding a solution to engineering problems often involves several fields and has time and monetary constraints that must be followed.
"The scientist merely explores that which exists, while the engineer creates what has never existed before." - Theodore Von Karman, Hungarian-American Aeronautical Engineer, 1881-1963
- MMAE 332
- U4 standing
Course Description and ABET Objectives
MMAE 432 is one of the two capstone design courses offered in the spring of students' senior year. At the end of this course students should have a good grasp of the design process and how to integrate design with the analysis taught in previous courses. This course will serve as a guide to transferring the skills that the students learned in the classroom into becoming an engineer in industry or a graduate student in the field. The focus of the class will be a team-based project conceptualized and developed by the students. The ABET criteria that this class covers is as follows:
- An ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics
- An ability to apply engineering design to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration of public health, safety, and welfare, as well as global, cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors
- An ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences
- An ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgments, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts
- An ability to function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives
- An ability to develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions
- An ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies
"A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools." - Douglas Adams, Mostly Harmless
There is no text in this class. However, there are a number of good textbooks that cover the same material as the class.
Forty percent of your grade is solely based on your performance. The other 60% is based on your group's performance, which can be modified based on peer reviews and my observations of your work. In some instances exceptional work can receive extra points. The breakdown is as follows:
Sketch Model Challenge - Progress Report
Sketch Model Challenge - Final Report
Sketch Model Presentation
Critical Function Science Fair
Solid Modeling Homework
Final Technical Review
-50% to +50%
There is no curve in the class. The grading criteria is clearly laid out for each assignment. Since this class has very few "right" answers, the grading is more subjective than in other courses. If you have any questions regarding your grade, it is your responsibility to ask Prof. Spenko for clarification. You can find the information on the Assignments page. The breakdown is as follows:
- 88-100 = A,
- 62-87 = B,
- 45-61 = C,
- 30-44 = D,
- 0-29, unethical behavior, or individual grade < 10/40 = E.
Capstone design courses taken during the senior year. At the end of this course, students should have a good grasp of the design process and how to integrate design with the analysis taught in previous courses. The course serves as a guide to transferring the skills that the students learned in the classroom into becoming an engineer in industry or a graduate student in the field. The focus of the class will be a team-based project conceptualized and developed by the students.
Upon completion of this course students will be able to:
- Identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems in the context of product by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics
- Work in a team environment
- Understand how to give a good technical presentation (note, there are not enough opportunities for all students to give a presentation in the semester)
- Understand and implement the design process
- Develop hands-on debugging and troubleshooting skills
- Create an alpha-prototype of an original product
- Design and build multiple sketch models
- Design and build a working model