LSU Mechanical Engineering Students Showcase Inventions

Imagine building a bike conversion attachment for pediatric wheelchairs or a synthetic anterior cruciate ligament; picture a net zero residential HVAC system in South Louisiana or a high-pressure chamber for simulation of a Venus landing environment.

For many LSU engineering seniors, the pinnacle of their undergraduate curriculum is the ME 4202 Capstone Senior Design Project. In May, these seniors showcased their completed products that began as only ideas more than a year ago.

The LSU College of Engineering and the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering hosted the capstone senior design presentations in the Frank Walk Design Presentation Room and a project exhibition was held in the Patrick F. Taylor Hall Courtyard.

Industry, government, private and non-profit agencies partnered with student groups to sponsor innovative projects designed to provide solutions to current engineering challenges.

"The mechanical engineering capstone design program was pioneered by ME in 1982, when few schools offered anything like it," said Dimitris Nikitopoulos, chair of the LSU Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering. "Today it is an invaluable educational asset for our graduates and is recognized as such by many employers. It is so because it is a holistic experience where the students function as real-life engineers with real-life challenges and responsibilities beyond the technical aspects of the profession. They work as teams on largely industry inspired/sponsored projects and after two semesters they deliver an engineered system/product, which is defended in front of a panel of experienced expert professionals. In their journey through this two-course program and in addition to the technical and conceptual issues in design, they have to deal with the challenges of teamwork, project and budget management, estimation, procurement, redesigns, as well as hands-on manufacturing and communications of all forms with their clients, supervisors and the public.

"Most recently, and in collaboration with the College of Engineering and the programs of other disciplines, we have added an interdisciplinary team component in order to add this real-world challenge and experience to the portfolio of learning opportunities for the students," Nikitopoulos continued. "Last year, we had 33 projects, more than 70 percent of which were sponsored by industry. Of these, 18 percent engaged interdisciplinary teams, including students from electrical and computer engineering and biological engineering, through their respective capstone design programs. This year, a larger number of projects is expected with the interdisciplinary experience expected to encompass industrial engineering students as well as other disciplines beyond electrical and computer engineering and biological engineering. The capstone design program is the epitome of the effort to forge the LSU engineer as defined by our strategic plan."

This year's projects and presenters included:

Capstone Design ProgramThe mechanical engineering capstone design program began in 1982 and is an invaluable educational asset for LSU's graduates.
Eddy Perez/University Relations
Capstone Design ProgramThe SAE Mini Baja Car team designed and manufactured an off road vehicle to compete in the SAE Mini-Baja Collegiate Design Competition.
Eddy Perez/University Relations
Capstone Design ProgramThe Subsea Exhibit Able to Integrate Grade-Level Expectations with ROVs, or SEATIGER, team developed the next generation of the SEATIGER exhibit.
Eddy Perez/University Relations
Capstone Design ProgramThe SAE Aero Competition teams prepared an unmanned electric aircraft for the SAE Aero Micro Class design competition.
Eddy Perez/University Relations