Senior Design Projects
The Senior Design Project, a unique two-semester course, is the capstone of Johns Hopkins’ Mechanical Engineering program. In the class, students, working in small teams, tackle specific design challenges presented by industry, government, and non-profit organizations. The sponsors provide each team with the funds for materials, access to world-class resources, and the technical contacts. Ultimately, each team conceptualizes a novel solution to the sponsor’s problem and then designs, constructs, and tests a real-world prototype.
The course requires students to draw upon the four years of knowledge and experience they’ve gained in their engineering studies and put it to practical use. Throughout the year, they produce progress reports as they design, build, and test the devices they’re developing. Combining engineering theory, budgeting, and time management with interactions with real clients, the senior design project is critical to students’ preparation for the transition from school to the workplace.
View the "Freshman Preview" information sheet here.
2011-12 Senior Design Projects
Check out the 2011-12 Senior Design Fact Page for students and industry partners!
Watch this page for additional information on the progress of our projects and the announcement of our mid-year presentation to be held at the Homewood Campus.
2010-11 Senior Design Projects
Fluid Flow Dynamics in a Cooling Tower
SPONSOR: BALTIMORE AIRCOIL COMPANY
Contact: David Aaron
In a counter-flow cooling tower, warm water is cooled by air which is flowing in the opposite direction. A large fan at the top of the cooling tower pulls in air which enters at the bottom, while the warm water enters at the top and trickles down over fill, releasing its heat to the up-flowing air. The members of Team BLOWR successfully tackled the problem of assuring the air which enters the tower is not impeded in any way, and that the water flow is properly channeled.
Designers: Brent Dolan, Estaban Escobar, Timothy Munuhe
PROJECT CAPTAIN HOOK
Landing Hook for Small Unmanned Aircraft
SPONSOR: AAI CORPORATION
Contact: Jeremy Bley
Problems with an existing landing hook for small unmanned aircraft were the impetus for Project CAPTAIN HOOK. The team was tasked with redesigning this subsystem so that the various failures that have been experienced would be eliminated. Changes in design configuration, alternative material selections, and the application of iterative stress analyses led to a stronger new design that did not increase the hook’s weight or dimensions, and that added a mechanism to retract the hook.
Designers: Andrew Barnett, Siobhan Callanan, Eric Lubben
Automated Magnetic Tape Restoration Machine
SPONSOR: Richardson Magnetic Tape Restoration, LLC
Contact: Charles A. Richardson
The RESEREX Process, which was invented by Project CRAMM’s sponsor, Mr. Charles Richardson, had only been applied manually – a slow and tedious chore for cleaning magnetic tape. This team was given the challenge of creating a machine which could mechanically apply the RESEREX process for the removal of a problem known as “Sticky Shed” from magnetic tapes. Sticky Shed renders a tape virtually unusable, and hence many miles of such tapes all over the world containing valuable scientific information or music await a viable method to clean them. The solution is being provided by the automated multi-step cleaning process this team has created.
Designers: Alanna Klos, James Schnieders, Alex Vacharat, Maxwell Wieder
Powered Transformer Lift
SPONSOR: Baltimore Gas and Electric Company
Contact: Andy White
The objective of this project was to create an easy-to-use, efficient, fast, and safe way to lower a burned-out power transformer (which can weigh as much as 2,000 pounds) from the top of a utility pole, and raise a new transformer up a height of 40 feet for installation. Team GET-UP devised a system consisting of a motor-powered hoist and a pulley set that doubles the hoist’s effective lifting capacity, and includes a means to both rotate the transformer and shift the lifting line in and out so that workers can avoid power lines and other obstructions.
Designers: Laura Carson, Lee Grosbard, Gregory Kheyfets
Minimizing Noise in Infant Incubators
SPONSOR: GE HEALTHCARE
Contacts: Arkadiy Tsitlik & Brian Wayman
Newborn infants placed in an incubator do best when their environment is noise-free, warm and they are protected from any sudden movements. Team INQBATE was asked to reduce the noise created by the fan that circulates warm air inside the incubator. By reconfiguring the fan the students were able to reduce the noise level to the specified acceptable level.
Designers: Robert Auger, Ana Johnson, James Mandaglio, Noel Sanjuan
Improved Facial Restoration Instruments
SPONSOR: SYNTHES, INC
Contact: John Noon
Using a difficult surgical method called mandible distraction, it is possible to correct a child’s severely retracted chin. To do this the surgeon must first fracture the child’s jaw bone and then attach to it the Synthes Distraction System, which consists of screwed-on metal plates and an activation arm with a very fine thread that must be turned a tiny amount each day. Over time, the mechanism extends the jawbone until the distraction is completed, and the bones can then fully heal at this extended position. One of the major problems with the existing system was that it was difficult to remove the activation arm once the procedure was finished. Team JAWS redesigned the connection for this arm, making the removal much easier.
Designers: Stephen Alexander, Tabor Barranti, Kevin Ryan
A Burrowing Robot
SPONSOR: JHU APPLIED PHYSICS LABORATORY
Contact: Eddie Tunstel
Team MINER devised a method for a burrowing robot to gather sub-surface scientific data on Mars, the Moon, and other solar system bodies. The team developed a large auger for the front of the robot, which dug in and pushed the soil back around the body of the robot. The robot included paddles that are modeled on the paws of a burrowing animal, such as a mole, that propel the robot forward. The student design also included a steering mechanism that allowed the robot to move along a curved path and return to the surface.
Designers: Daniel Bagdorf, Brandon Hahn, Richard Spatz
Automated Friction Belt Renewal
SPONSOR: PITNEY BOWES DMT
Contacts: Mark MacLeod & John Masotta
One of the many features in the Pitney Bowes high speed mail handling machine is the ability to place inserts into the envelopes. These inserts are fed in by rubber belts, however these belts regularly lose their frictional surface. When this happens the machine must be stopped while the belts are removed and replaced. Team PBR devised a simple and effective way to refurbish the belts, i.e., renewing their friction without removing them from the machine. Their solution considerably reduces the down time needed for machine maintenance.
Designers: Casey Blythe, Brian Esoda, Eric Levenseller
A Steerable Bullet
SPONSOR: US ARMY RESEARCH LABORATORY
Contacts: Gordon Brown & Ben Topper
Although larger projectiles have been affixed with a way to steer them in flight, the challenge given to Team SNIPE was to seek out a means to steer a .50 caliber bullet, which is only about ½-inch in diameter. The solution devised by this student team was to create a fast-rising, localized plasma (a collection of charged particles), which caused a shock wave to form. This sudden disturbance of the flow around the bullet is the way this team chose to change the bullet’s trajectory.
Designers: Alexander Englesbe, Justin Lee, Logan Shannahan
A Wagon for Emily
SPONSOR: V-LINC (formerly VME)
Contact: John Walker
Emily, who was born with a rare ailment, is unable to walk or talk and requires constant care. She is very alert, and gives you a big smile as soon as she spots you. Emily’s family wanted to find a way to enable Emily to join them on bicycle outings. Team WHEELS created a powered wagon that is towed by Emily’s father’s specially adapted tricycle. The wagon accommodates Emily, in her large and heavy wheelchair, and her mother, who must be close by in the event that Emily requires immediate care.
Designers: Ryan Decker, Matthew Gombolay, Elizabeth Martinez