Capstone Design

Capstone Design in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Houston has been in existence with more or less the same requirements since 1981. The course itself has taken several forms over the years including a joint course with Industrial Engineering (from 1985 to 2010) and with Electrical and Computer Engineering (2003 to 2005).  It was a three-credit-hour course until the fall of 2010. Currently, the capstone design requirement is two, “mechanical engineering only”, three-credit-hour courses taken in the fall (MECE 4340) and continued in the spring (MECE 4341). For the fall 2015 and spring 2016, the course had 147 students working in 39 teams on 34 different projects, including 8 projects related to the designing, building and competing in the 2016 Formula SAE competition in Lincoln, NE, June 14 through June 18, 2016.  The UH team finished 26th out of 80 entrants.  Multiple teams are allowed to work on the same projects under certain conditions.

The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) requires that engineering curricula provide a “capstone” experience to students. The ABET also requires that students be involved in design activities in which “realistic” constraints are imposed and in which results in the “realization” of an artifact. Industrial involvement in the capstone courses is extremely important since industry can provide the “realistic” projects that are desired in the capstone experience. Industrial sponsors are expected to cover all expenses for their projects and to provide technical support to the teams. With prior agreement an industrial sponsor can retain any intellectual property derived from its project if the project has involved no University resource, e.g., lab space or equipment. Industrial sponsors are asked to make a $2000 donation to the Department to help cover the expenses of other unsponsored projects, e.g., regional and national design competitions and service projects.

On this website you will find the current “Call for Projects” and the “Project Solicitation Form.” Should you have any questions regarding the Capstone Design Program, please call or email me. I look forward to hearing from you.

Regards,
Richard Bannerot, Ph.D., P.E.
Capstone Instructor
Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Telephone: 713-743-4511
Email: rbb [at] uh [dot] edu

Capstone Design—Call for Projects

Richard Bannerot, Ph. D., P.E.
713-743-4511, rbb [at] uh [dot] edu

The Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Houston is soliciting undergraduate design projects from industry sponsors for our two-semester capstone design program. Senior students work in teams to development solutions to problems provided from several sources including local industry. This program is intended to increase the professional readiness of these students who will soon be working in industry. We request companies in the area to provide us with descriptions for projects they are willing to sponsor. In order to increase the chances that a project sponsored by your company will be selected, we invite you to submit more than one project description. The project submission forms are found on this website.
Some of the salient points of our program follow:
• The students who work on these projects are mechanical engineering undergraduates in their senior year. Typically they work in teams of four. The projects submitted by the sponsors will be first screened by the course instructor with the help of the Mechanical Engineering Faculty whose research area is related to the subject of the project. This screening is to ensure that projects selected best serve the purpose of the program.
• Projects are expected to produce a validated result, e.g., hardware that can be tested. A design without an artifact is usually not acceptable as a project unless the sponsor agrees to perform formal design reviews (at the ends of the fall and spring semesters) and to provide written evaluations of the design to the course instructor. The project description should clearly define the deliverable(s).
• To submit a project for the capstone course, complete the “Solicitation Form” available through a link on this website.
• The project descriptions will first appear on the course website about one month before the start of the fall semester. Additional project descriptions will be posted as they become available. All project descriptions will be circulated on the first day of class, usually the 4th week of August. Sponsors are invited to attend the class during the first week, to make a short presentation describing their projects and answer questions from the students. On the basis of the information provided in the project descriptions, the teams submit mini-proposals for three of the projects and indicate their preferences for a project assignment. After reviewing the mini-proposals and the preferences, the course instructor (with input from the project sponsor) will assign teams to projects. Each student is expected to contribute approximately 80 hours of work on the project.
• We ask the company to identify an engineer-in-charge for the project to serve as the “client” and as a technical advisor for the team.
• It is expected that each team will meet regularly with its engineer-in-charge from the company sponsoring its project.
• Each semester each team will provide two formal oral reports and two formal written reports: progress reports at mid-semester, a design review at the end of the fall and a final report at the end of the spring. Copies of the written report are submitted to both the instructor and the sponsor. All participants (students, faculty, and sponsors) are invited to attend the oral presentations.
• The sponsoring company is expected to cover all expenses for the project and is asked to make a $2000 donation to the department at the completion of the project if they are satisfied with the results. These funds are used to help cover the expenses of other unsponsored projects, e.g., regional and national design competitions and service projects.

The University of Houston Policy on Intellectual Property states that the discovery or invention of new technology [utilizing University resources] will be protected by the University, if appropriate, and diligent efforts will be made to make productive use of such rights for the good of the public, the creator, and the University. Sponsors wishing to retain intellectual property rights for their projects are able to do so by signing an IP agreement with the University, prior to the project’s completion that stipulates that no University resource was used in completing the project. See the latest edition of the Faculty Handbook.

Capstone Design—Solicitation Form

Capstone Design—Recent Capstone Projects

ME Capstone Design Recent Projects

Industrial Projects in the Oil and Gas Field
• “Subsea Multi-pipe Separator Design” FMC Technologies, 2015-16
• “Elastomer Characterization” Cameron, 2015-16
• “Manley Valve Redesign” Cook Compression, 2015-16
• “Zero Force Vibration Fixture Design” Ranger Gauge Systems, 2015-16
• “Evaluation of a Super-Efficient Regulator for a BOP” NOV, 2014-15
• Development and Testing of an Encoder Loss Protection Code” NOV, 2014-15
• “Upgrade and Automate a Tensile Testing Machine to Provide Tensile and Fatigue Data for Elastomers” NOV, 2014-2015.
• “Design and Prototype a Remotely Controlled Mechanism for Operating a Choke Throttle Valve” FMC, 2014-15
• “Design and Evaluation of a Torque-Limiting Device for an Internal Bypass Cement Manifold” Slumberger, 2014-15
• “Evaluation of Elastomer Materials under Various Temperatures and Pressures” Cameron, 2014-15
Other Industrially Sponsored Projects
• "Design of Improved Tool Kit Frames" Siemens Energy, 2015-16
• "Design of a 100-Ton Turbine Jack Stand Tooling Kit" Siemens Energy, 2015-16
• “Noise Control in the Neutral Buoyance Lab” Oceaneering Space Systems, 2015-16
•  Thermocuff I and II” Kowa, 2015-16
• “Camless, One-Cylinder Engine” Lockheed Martin, 2014-15
• “Development of Low-Cost Arctic Instrumentation and Measurement System as Part of an Interdisciplinary Project” NASA, 2014-15
Projects with Academic Sponsors
• “Deployable Boom I and II” UH Smart Materials Laboratory, 2015-16
• “3-D Printer Vending Machine I and II” UH Department of ME, 2015-16
• “Levitating Locomotive Demonstration” UH Department of ME, 2015-16
• “STEM Demonstrations” UH Department of ME, 2014-15
Student Initiated Projects
• “Carbon Fiber Electric Motorcycle” 2015-16
•  “Inverted Pendulum” 2015-16
• “Quadcopter I, II, III, IV, V, and VI” 2015-16
• “Quadcopter I and II” 2014-15
• “Design Fabrication and Testing of a Ground Effect Aircraft” 2014-15
• “Design Fabrication and Testing of a Vertical Transportation Device” 2014-15
• “Design, Fabrication and Testing of a Can Crusher I, II and III” 2014-15
• “Design, Fabrication and Testing of a Device to Help in Transporting Heavy Loads to and from Automobile Trunks” 2014-15
• “An Improved Beer Brewing System” 2014-15
• “Design, Fabrication and Testing of a Portable Cooling Device” 2014-15
• “Design, Fabrication and Testing of an Improved Method for Removing a Spare Tie Mounted under a Truck” 2014-15
• “Design, Fabrication and Testing of a Device to Measure Homan Power Output” 2014-15
Student Design Competitions
• Formula SAE, 2015-16
• ASME Student Design Competition, 2014-15
• Shell Eco-Marathon, 2013-14
Projects for the Undergraduate Classes
• “Thermocouple Lab Experiment” 2015-16
• “Class Demonstration for Solid Mechanics” 2015-16
• “ Heat Exchanger Evaluation Rig – An Experiment for MECE 4371” 2014-15
Alternative Energy Projects
• “Algorithm Controlled Solar Tracker” 2015-16
• “Solar Still I and II” 2015-16
•  “Design, Fabrication and Testing of an Electricity Generating Kite” 2014-15
• “Design, Fabrication and Testing of a Mobil Fog-Collector” 2014-15

Capstone Design—Contact Us

Richard Bannerot, PhD, PE
Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Email: rbb [at] uh [dot] edu
Phone: (713) 743-4511