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Mechanical Engineering Students Showcase Senior Design Projects

07/19/2012 01:41 PM

BATON ROUGE – Imagine building a platform that assists quadriplegic hunters or constructing a device used to alleviate back pain in the comfort of your own home; picture a solar-powered automatic deer feeder or a solar-powered vehicle and charging system that would utilize LSU’s electric charging stations located on campus.


For many mechanical engineering seniors, the pinnacle of their undergraduate curriculum is the ME 4202 Capstone Design II annual seminar presentations. The LSU College of Engineering and Department of Mechanical Engineering hosted the capstone senior design presentations in May in the Frank Walk Design Presentation Room and a project exhibition was held in the Patrick F. Taylor Courtyard.


At the presentations and exhibition, the seniors showcased their products that began as only an idea more than a year ago. This year’s projects and presenters included:

  • The Heat Treating Furnace team designed a furnace for heat-treating operations, which is capable of temperatures adequate for the heat treating of steel. Team members included Barret Dragon, Amanda Mavromatis, Paul Palermo and Nicholas Shuman, and the team’s adviser was Tryfon Charalampopoulos.

  • The Mobile Marksman team refined the design from the previous two years of the project, which assists quadriplegic hunters in their sport. The project was designed as an efficient, inexpensive and accurate shooting platform that consists of a control system that can be safely manipulated by high level quadriplegics, an accurate and usable sighting device and a safe firing mechanism. Intended customers for the product are all people who suffer from disabilities that prevent them from being able to adequately support, aim and fire a weapon, including disabled hunters, veterans and shooting enthusiasts. Team members included Christopher Benoit, Sorcha Clary and Viren Koradia, and the team’s adviser was Keith Gonthier.

  • The Engine Intake Air Control Unit team designed a portable unit that would act as a constant air source to aid in dynamometer tuning of student projects to allow for adequate temperature, pressure and humidity control of the intake air for engines to mimic real world driving scenarios. The team also produced an instruction manual. Team members included Paul Catanzaro, Christopher Drago and Daniel Francioni, and the team’s adviser was Ingmar Schoegl.

  • The Mobile Solar Tracking System team designed and built a mobile solar tracking system that was forward deployable for the U.S. military. Team members included Nathan McCain, Andre Powell, Herman Stevens II, Glen Uhack II, Jagannath Upadhyay and Zachary Wrubleski, and the team’s adviser was Dimitris Nikitopoulos.

  • The Subsea ROV Demonstration Exhibit team project will be used as an educational exhibit and be transported to high schools to demonstrate sub-sea technology. Team members included Bruce Cheatham III, Thomas Kajor, Ryan Keller, Matthew Meyer and David Taghehchian, and the team’s adviser was Warren Waggenspack.

  • The Solid Oxide Fuel Cells team developed balance‐of‐plant designs that flatten out load and temperature swings on a solid oxide fuel cell power plant, as well as researched stack materials that are more durable under load and temperature swings. The team also designed and built a solid oxide fuel cell testing rig with suitable balance‐of-plant for the testing of commercial SOFC single cells. Team members included James Dempsey III, Jeffrey Kerr and Joseph Tran, and the team’s adviser was Shengmin Guo.

  • The OSI Nautilus Cranes Automatic Overload Protection System team designed, built and tested an Automatic Overload Protection System, or AOPS, for an offshore crane to meet industry standards. Team members included Justin Bourg, Casey David, Joshua Lacroix, Steven Pittman and Benjamin St. Amand, and the team’s adviser was Dorel Moldovan.

  • The Ceramic Nanowhisker Fabrication Facility team designed and constructed a small-scale push furnace type of facility for the production of nano‐sized silicon carbide whiskers at a high yield. Team members included Derek Favret, Jeremy Terlecki and Patrick Tracy III, and the team’s adviser was Shengmin Guo.

  • The Dual Balance Exercise Pulley System team designed and built a prototype that provides the user with visual and physical feedback to demonstrate whether or not one side of the body is contributing more or less than the other during bilateral exercise performance. Team members included Joseph Salzer, Robert Soignier and Yvette Triay, and the team’s adviser was Marcio deQueiroz.

  • The Engine Dynamometer team designed and built a dynamometer to be used for various student projects, as well as classroom experiments which are capable of rating ~100Hp engines that operate at a maximum of ~15,000RPM. Team members included Jason Arroyave, Bryan Lutz and Michael Raymond, and the team’s adviser was Glenn Sinclair.

  • The Engineering a Better Back team designed and built a device that would help the average person to comfortably alleviate back pain while sitting within their home. Team members included Nicholas Choate, Van Vo and Cassandra Weimer, and the team’s adviser was Su-Seng Pang.

  • The Formula SAE Aero team designed and built a lightweight (2 lbs.) remote control aircraft. The team then competed in the Formula SAE East design competition. Team members included Winston Capps, Elizabeth Devine, Matthew Lousteau, Jason Richard and Mark Trifone, and juniors Patrick Madore and Chris Atieno. The team’s adviser was Michael Martin.

  • The Boiler Sootblower Trainer Design team built an operating miniature sootblower and incorporated design upgrades that increased reliability and available uptime and reduced the amount of time required for maintenance-related work. Team members included Andrew Dovie, Dustin Jenkins, Michael Jenkins and David Nasab, and the team’s adviser was Jack Helms.

  • The Test Stand for Valves in Solids Service team tested valves that move an abrasive sorbent in order to determine the life cycle or how many cycles can be expected from the valves prior to failure. Team members included Christoph Bayer, William Berroteran, Kelly Goudeau, Marc Ingram, Christopher Reeves, Andrew Reynolds and William Beal, and the team’s adviser was Michael Murphy.

  • The Portable Cryostorage System team designed and fabricated a portable cryostorage system that met the following user‐defined criteria: easy to use, consistently maintain the stored cells at a temperature below minus 120 degrees Celsius, monitor the sample temperature and alert the user if the temperature range was not met, minimize the use of coolant, minimize the thermal fluctuations in the stored samples and be able to store samples of different sizes. Team members included Frank Breeden II, Joshua LaFountain, Matthew Laurent and Jordan Robert, and the team’s adviser was Ram Devireddy.

  • The Society of Automotive Engineers Formula Car Project teams produced a working, reliable, safe and high-performance prototype formula-style race car. Team members included Adam Ferrer, Austin Hilton, Brent Mayeaux, Justin McDaniel, Nathan Roberts, Michael Tompkins, Jordan Bergeron, Ryan Difulco, Eric Fey, Philip Gilles, Scott McElroy and Jonathan Waller, and the team’s advisers were Michael Martin, Ingmar Schoegl and Gabriel de Sousa.

  • The Tack Table Improvements – Magnetic Level Indicators team designed and built a tacking table for chamber fabrication that provided faster setup than the current method and better quality through a more precise alignment of parts. Team members included Nicholas Bates, Benjamin Bourgeois, Nelson Davenport IV and Robert Roland, and the team’s adviser was Su-Seng Pang.

  • The Gate-Valve Stem-Seal Field Replacement team devised special tooling that permits service personnel, such as technicians and maintenance engineers, to replace stem seals with the valve in place without removing the valve from its service location within a pipeline, thereby reducing time and maintenance. They researched available mechanical engineering technology to devise a series of alternative methods to achieve suitability for purpose, reliability, cost and feasibility to incorporate into new products as well as retrofit into existing products. Team members included Kyle Bowman, Aaron Hinson and Dean Kelley, and the team’s adviser was Keith Gonthier.

  • The Corrosion Resistant Flame Trench Refractory team designed and constructed a high temperature flame-testing rig for the testing of Corrosion Resistant Flame Trench Refractory. NASA Kennedy Space Center will use the test results generated by this senior design team for new flame trench materials selection. Team members included Jacob Koch, Kevin Schenker and Christine Woodfield, and the team’s adviser was Shengmin Guo.

  • The Remove Rubber Lining in Vessels team automated the process of removing old linings by water blasting and relining with new or upgraded linings, which can improve productivity by more than 10 times the current rate. Team members included Brent Bollinger, Joshua Goldberg, Rebecca Marx, Preston Parker and Samuel Scheibal, and the team’s adviser was Su-Seng Pang.

  • The PL Midstream - Pipeline Pig Tracking Project team designed and built a system that can track any pig  – equipped or non‐equipped – through a pipeline without the need for external devices. This system will be applicable to both new and existing pipeline systems. Team members included Derek Jordan, Andrew Leonpacher, Wayne Mitchell, Nathan Robinson and Eric Smith, and the team’s adviser was Wanjun Wang.

  • The Perpetual Motion Rocking Chair team produced a rocking chair with a perpetual motion device to rock the chair for five minutes before needing further intervention from the user. Moms of newborn babies are anticipating the use of these chairs to aid in putting their children to sleep. Team members included Ryan Dwyer, Lucas Gautreau, Scott Kingrey and Adam Walker, and the team’s adviser was Marcio deQueiroz.

  • The Bad Boy BP Solar Buggy Road-worthiness Retrofit team designed and produced a solar powered, road‐worthy vehicle certified to be driven in public and to be added to the LSU electric vehicle fleet. The team also designed a charging system, which enables the vehicle to be recharged at one of the two electric charging stations installed on the LSU campus by Entergy. Team members included Blake Banta, James Chetta, Christopher Eyman, Lucas Gauthreaux and Jeffery Meariman Jr., and the team’s adviser was Dimitris Nikitopoulos.

  • The Automated Rice Bran Feeder team created a unique design for a solar-powered deer feeder that can automatically dispense rice bran. Team members included Devin Berthelot, Edwin Doerries III, Benjamin Doucet, Thomas Drewes and Paul Reuter Jr., and the team’s adviser was Guoqiang Li.

  • The Microsystem Integration team designed and built an apparatus that necessarily combines an atmosphere‐controlled enclosure, a pair of high‐temperature heaters, a mechanism for heater motion/actuation and inlet/outlet mechanisms allowing parts to be transported through the enclosure. Team members included Richard Biedenharn Jr., Luis Matheus and Franklin Rodriguez, and the team’s advisers were Glenn Sinclair and Wenjin Meng.

  • The Sugar Cane Drain Cleaner Redesign team redesigned a drive train that functions efficiently in the farm environment. The drain cleaner is used to dig a trench across a field and prevent water from building up between rows of crops, like sugar cane. Team members included Emma Allain, Anna Bruno, Ryan Comeaux and Scott Trahan, and the team’s adviser was Michael Murphy.

LSU College of Engineering