The Roundup -

MSU Seeks Businesses, Faculty, Individuals To Sponsor Student Engineering Projects

 

August 30, 2017 | View PDF

The Design Fair features demonstrations of senior engineering student capstone design projects.

Calling anyone who needs an engineer: Montana State University engineering students are here to help.

Each year, groups of seniors from MSU's College of Engineering work to design, analyze, fabricate and troubleshoot creations that they then display during the college's biannual Engineering Design Fair, which will be held this year in December in the Strand Union Building.

The Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering are currently looking for companies, citizens and MSU faculty interested in sponsoring these projects, which represent a culmination of the knowledge the up-and-coming engineers have learned in their chosen fields.

"Sponsors have an opportunity to address their engineering design challenges while helping to train the next generation of engineers," said Robb Larson, associate professor of mechanical and industrial engineering.

Sponsors pay for supplies used in the project and are involved in decision-making, including budgets, Larson said.

Past projects have included a variety of robotic vehicles and research devices, implements to aid in ranching, mechanisms to help those with physical disabilities, custom laboratory equipment for undergraduate labs and sustainable energy devices.

"Projects can involve a range of topics including mechanisms, thermal systems, fluids, structures, building systems, instrumentation and control, engineering trade studies and advanced modeling, or combinations of several issues," Larson said.

Because the college's enrollment has grown, Larson said, there is more opportunity for sponsored projects than in the past - and more need for sponsors.

"This is a great opportunity for MSU researchers who may have need for specially designed equipment for their labs," Larson said. "We've had students design for researchers in engineering, physics, the biological sciences and agriculture."

"Also, lots of MSU faculty have used the senior design course to design and build instructional laboratory equipment," he said. "Students and faculty both can get an excellent outcome from those connections."

Larson, who teaches the two-semester capstone sequence with David Miller, associate professor of mechanical and industrial engineering, said MSU's engineering capstone teams have won national student design competitions in a variety of areas and generated innovative ideas and solutions for sponsors in many disciplines.

Under the guidance of a faculty adviser, student teams work with the sponsor on project details and specifications. The students perform research, consider alternatives, perform a thorough engineering analysis, create accurate computer models, produce detailed engineering drawings of the preferred design and collect results in a formal design report. Finally, the students create and test a functional prototype and deliver it to the sponsor.

Companies, MSU faculty members or individuals interested in more information about sponsoring a mechanical engineering project should contact Larson at 406-994-6420 or rlarson@me.montana.edu; or David Miller, 406-994-6285, dmiller@me.montana.edu. For those interested in sponsoring projects with students in computer and electrical engineering, contact Todd Kaiser, 406-994-7276 or tjkaiser@montana.edu.

 

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