From the aerodynamic design of a compressor return channel, to a timing system for an autocross race course, to a gearbox that allows someone to steer a wheelchair with just one hand – these were among the more than 200 senior capstone design projects at the annual Richard J. Fasenmyer Engineering Design Conference, held at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College in Erie, Pa on April 27.
Much of the students’ research was sponsored by industry partners, including Dresser-Rand, Westinghouse Electric and Northrop Grumman, among others.
Dresser-Rand has been sponsoring project teams for more than 10 years and since 2010 has supported three to four teams each year.
This year, the School of Engineering at Penn State Behrend presented Dresser-Rand with the 2013 Outstanding Capstone Project Sponsor award in recognition of the company’s long-term and continuing work with the university. Scott Kaffka, Dave Nye, Jim Sorokes, and John Stahley (see photo above) accepted the award on behalf of Dresser-Rand.
Students in the School of Engineering at Penn State Behrend must complete a year-long capstone applied-design project. The college showcases the best of this work at its annual Fasenmyer Conference. A capstone design denotes the application of the engineering sciences to the design of a system, component or process.
Penn State Behrend has created a series of processes to ensure the highest quality capstone design projects. They address several aspects of the capstone design experience, including project selection, problem definition, ABET accreditation requirements, teamwork, program outcome evaluation and assessment, and relationships with the industrial sponsors. According to the university, these processes were developed and implemented over the course of 15 years and the results have been quite positive.
Student projects sponsored by Dresser-Rand this year and mentored by Dresser-Rand engineers included: (1) aerodynamic design of a compressor return channel; (2) design of an adjustable clearance impeller eye labyrinth seal; (3) further development on an aerodynamic test module; and (4) design of a high-pressure test rig casing.
The Penn State Behrend conference came on the heels of several other project showcases in which Dresser-Rand participated as sponsors, including those held at the Penn State University main campus in State College, PA, and the Lehigh University mid-year project review in Bethlehem, PA. Included among the assortment of noteworthy projects were a single-piece impeller milling utility; cost reduction of DATUM® compressor diaphragms; and alternate methods for fabricating low-flow coefficient impellers. Additionally, the company has recently sponsored student projects at Alfred State College (Alfred, NY); RIT (Rochester, NY); the University of Buffalo; and Smith College (Northampton, MA). In each case, Dresser-Rand engineers participated as mentors.
Dresser-Rand takes pride in its involvement as an industry partner to these schools and their aspiring engineers.