Mechanical Engineering

Non-Capstone Projects

In addition to the ME 481 Senior Capstone class, there are six design courses required of all Mechanical Engineering majors. Three of those courses participate in Design Day.  Please see the Design Day Booklet for information on these competitions.

In ME 371 Mechanical Design I students are required to design and manufacture mechanisms that incorporate at least one linkage, one gear set and one cam-follower combination.

The team with the best design, as voted on by pre-collegiate visitors, is awarded the Sparty Plaque.


In ME 412 Heat Transfer Laboratory each team designed, analyzed, built, and tested a compressed-air-powered vortex tube. The primary objective of the design was to maximize the temperature difference between the hot and cold streams coming out of the two ends of vortex tube. A secondary objective of the project was to understand the operating principles of vortex tubes through modeling, simulating and/or reviewing existing experimental and computational works concerning flow patterns, thermal separations, and parametric studies, etc. To test each vortex tube, compressed air was provided. There were no restrictions on the dimensions of the tube but the compressed air was operated at a fixed setting. Temperatures of the hot and cold outflows were measured. Each team had 20 minutes to set up, demonstrate and dissemble their vortex tube. In addition, they also prepared a power-point slide show or video clips for the audience to explain their design decisions, analysis and operations of their vortex tube.

ME 412 NonCapstone


In ME 471 Mechanical Design II the students were challenged to design, build and test a scaled-down version of a deployable bridge, which must fit inside a 10”x10”x15” box mounted onto a table with only four bolts.  The bridge was deployed with input from the motor to reach the bridge length of 30”, while minimizing the deflection at the end of the bridge, the total system mass, and cost.  To test the stiffness, the bridge was loaded with 50 lbs, at the end of the bridge, and the vertical deflection was measured at the end of the bridge.

The winning team receives the Leonardo da Vinci Machine Design Award.