Revised Fall 2016
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Senior Design Projects
At the University of Delaware, the Mechanical Engineering Department's Senior Design capstone engineering course is now the required MEEG 401 course. First titled as 'New Castle Design Associates (NCDA),' the original courses were created in September 1976 by Dr. John R. Zimmerman, Professor Emeritus (deceased).
From its inception in the 1976-1977 academic year until the end of the 1999-2000 academic year, Senior Design was a three-credit fall plus three-credit spring two-course design sequence (MEEG447, MEEG448). Around 1990, the faculty decided to require each project team to produce a 'design-to-realization' proof-of-concept prototype and thus not allow paper-only design projects. To better imitate the actual timing for a design effort of the scope typical for a senior-design effort and to allow for spring-semester design technical electives, starting with the Fall Semester 2000, Senior Design became a six credit, fall semester only course. At that time, the decision was also made to maximize, as much as possible, the industry-sponsored projects.
Depending upon student interest, Senior Design has also been available to assist the student section of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) on projects related to a national competition (since the late 1990's that has been the FSAE - Formula SAE international event); depending upon number of interested students, that may be offered as MEEG402, Senior Design - FSAE. Starting Fall Semester 2013, mechanical engineering students voluntarily partner, based upon project needs, with biomedical engineering students for combined mechanical/biomedical design projects. The biomedical engineering students sign up for BMEG450. More recently, interested electrical and environmental engineering students have been involved through an 'experimental' MEEG467 course structure.
Senior Design has always been structured to imitate the scenario a young engineer would experience in a design team. Teams are assigned a project, discover customers' wants and problem constraints, benchmark the best practices for each desired function, generate design concepts, select and model the best concept, complete a proof-of-concept prototype, test it, re-design and improve their designs, and produce a path forward. Each MEEG 401 student is a Senior-Design staff engineer. Senior Design, MEEG 401, the capstone design course, satisfies the University of Delaware's discovery learning experience and is required for all students in the Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering Degree Program in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Delaware.
[Senior Design enrollment history graph.]
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