Undergraduate Program > Senior Projects > 2013-2014

Senior Design Projects: 2013-2014

Challenge Projects:

Formula SAE 2013

Formula SAE 2013:

Formula SAE is an international engineering competition where teams build a high performance formula style vehicle developed for a specific market demographic. Each team is judged by world renowned industry judges, then pitted against one another in a dynamic race setting. For the 2013 season the CSU FSAE team has worked hard to engineer a vehicle that heavily leverages aerodynamics in order to increase overall vehicle performance. The team is composed of 8 senior members, each of which has responsibility for a specific vehicle system. Some notable features include a longitudinal drivetrain that uses renewable E-85 fuel, a hybrid steel carbon fiber stressed skin chassis, an active suspension controller and an aerodynamic mid-wing sidepod.


Human Powered Vehicle Challenge

Human Powered Vehicle Challenge:

Human-powered transport is often the only type available in underdeveloped or inaccessible parts of the world, and if well designed, can be an increasingly viable form of sustainable transportation. ASME’s international Human Powered Vehicle Challenge (HPVC) provides an opportunity for students to demonstrate the application of sound engineering design principles in the development of sustainable and practical transportation alternatives. In the HPVC, students work in teams to design and build efficient, highly engineered vehicles for everyday use—from commuting to work, to carrying goods to market. For this competition, the CSU HPVC Team has developed a recumbent tricycle focused on utility, durability, and versatility. Included in the recumbent tricycle design is an innovative aerodynamic device that doubles as a light shelter and a storage system made from a reusable waste stream. The vehicle also comes equipped with wheel powered front and rear lights and an eight speed internally shifting rear hub. The frame is constructed of strong and durable chromolly steel, is lightweight, and is compact for storage purposes. Out of a field of 27 teams at the west region competition, the CSU ASME HPVC senior design team finished fourth in the women’s speed event, sixth in the men’s speed event, first in the design event, second in the innovation event, third in the endurance event, and second overall.

ARFL Bridge Challenge

AFRL Bridge Challenge:

Along with 16 other Universities, CSU has been challenged by the Air Force Research Laboratory to create “an easily portable, lightweight, multipurpose tool” for USAF Special Tactics Battlefield Airmen to traverse various gaps and crevasses encountered across the world. Featuring custom built components made from high-strength carbon fiber and space-grade aluminum alloys, CSU’s “Battle Bridge” implements an innovative dual-folding design to create a portable, lightweight, and sturdy solution for a crossing a variety of gaps and obstacles spanning up to 20 feet. Additionally, the solution’s modular design and structural integrity allow for great versatility in use as a ladder or as multiple smaller gap crossing systems.

EcoCAR 2: Controls

EcoCAR 2: Controls

ECOCAR2 is a national advanced vehicle technology competition sponsored by the US Department of Energy and General motors. The goal of the competition is to modify a donated 2013 Chevy Malibu to decrease the vehicle’s fuel consumption and emissions while still maintaining performance, utility, and safety. The CSU EcoCAR2 team is removing the Malibu’s internal combustion engine and turning the vehicle into a hydrogen fuel cell plugin hybrid electric vehicle (FCPHEV). The Controls Team of EcoCAR 2 was tasked with refining and adapting the controller design created during year 1 of the project. This was done by simulating real driving signals during software in the loop (SIL), hardware in loop (HIL), and vehicle in the loop (VIL) testing. The vehicle’s supervisory controller had to be integrated with the original Malibu’s communication system. Additionally, the supervisory controller had to be designed for robust communication with electronic control units (ECUs) that are dedicated to major vehicle hardware components including the Battery, Fuel Cell and Electric motor. The Controls team was also responsible for Energy Management of the vehicle by efficient use of energy sources and appropriate power allocation. Through Simulink modeling and testing, the team was able to optimize the Malibu’s hydrogen and battery usage for the spring competition.

EcoCAR 2: Energy Storage

EcoCAR 2: Energy Storage

The EcoCAR2 Year 2 Energy Storage Team is charged with the implementation of the high voltage system and integration of lithium ion batteries into a converted fuel cell plug-in hybrid electric Chevy Malibu. The system connects a 19 kWh battery pack to a 145kW electric motor and inverter, 3.3 kW on-board charger, two DC-DC converters, the 15 kW hydrogen fuel cells, and a high voltage air conditioner. As the primary source of energy to the vehicle, reliable electricity provided from the batteries by the Energy Storage team will power the zero-emission car for a range of 40 miles and over 200 miles with the aid of the fuel cells.

EcoCar 2: Fuel Cell

Eco-CAR2: Fuel Cell

EcoCAR2 challenges students to modify a 2013 Malibu Eco in order to improve efficiency and reduce environmental impact. CSU’s approach was to create a fuel cell plug-in hybrid, utilizing hydrogen gas to generate electricity for a truly zero emissions vehicle. The fuel cell team for EcoCAR2 was tasked with designing, manufacturing, and testing the fuel cell systems used to power the car. Some team members selected appropriate fuel cells, tanks, and pressure system components. They then designed and tested the best layout to safely deliver fuel to the cells. Others re-designed the bulky and inefficient electronic controllers to combine them into one small component that could be placed in the vehicle. The last task completed by this team was to create a fiberglass and carbon fiber enclosure for the fuel cells to protect them and ensure optimal operating conditions for final competition in Yuma, Arizona.

EcoCAR 2: Mechanical

EcoCAR 2: Mechanical

Implementing a Fuel Cell Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (FCPHEV) architecture in to a stock 2013 Chevy Malibu requires rigorous problem solving and ingenuity. As the Mechanical Team on CSU’s Vehicle Innovation Team (VIT) we are tasked with employing the most innovative drive line of the EcoCAR 2 competition into a Chevy Malibu donated from General Motors under the advisement of The US Department of Energy. Packaging includes not only the electric motor and battery pack for the plug-in electric vehicle system but also three Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) hydrogen fuel cells and three high pressure hydrogen storage tanks for the range extending capabilities of a hybrid vehicle. Mounting and packaging of these critical components in a safe and efficient manner is the chief focus of this team. This is done by designing parts using an industry standard CAD package, performing detailed finite element analysis, fabrication and finally, installation. This project culminates in a two week competition at GM’s Desert Proving Grounds in Yuma, Arizona where our vehicle will be rigorously tested and evaluated by GM engineers.

EcoCAR 2: User-Interface

EcoCAR 2: User-Interface

EcoCAR2: Plugging into the Future is a national competition hosted by Argonne National Labs and Chevrolet to inspire forward-thinking designs of automobiles. In the second year of the three-year project, the CSU team has created a hydrogen-electric car to compete at the Year 2 Competition in Yuma, AZ. No other team in the competition has gambled on implementing both hydrogen and electric components, but it looks like CSU is going to win this bet. Along with implementing both of these technologies, is the opportunity to set precedence on how the information for both power sources can be displayed at once. The User-Interface team for EcoCAR2 has taken this opportunity and created a custom center console for the modified Chevy Malibu used. Using the latest technology from QNX and Freescale, they designed a touch screen which displays necessary information to the driver and allows the driver to safely operate different functions of the vehicle. The team also installed an improved sound system to allow more room for the hydrogen tanks and a 3Dprinted bezel to accommodate the new, larger touch screen.


Industry Sponsored:

Woodward: Turbine Shutdown Device

Woodward: Turbine Shutdown Device

The purpose of this project was to design a fast-acting hydraulic trip system that would control a steam turbine and be capable of shutting down the turbine almost instantly in emergency situations. Speed was essential to the project, requiring a complete valve closing in less than half a second. This system also requires high precision in order to minimize risks and prevent damage to equipment. The designed device is completely sealed and isolated from the environment. It utilizes a “dump plate” design and is a completely mechanical and hydraulic system which doesn’t require the use of any electronics. This device is designed to operate in conjunction with Woodward’s Varistroke 1 system.

Woodward: Aircraft Air Valve Coupling.

Woodward: Aircraft Air Valve Coupling

The goal of the Woodward air valve project was to create an accurate and reliable means of transferring substantial torque between a hydraulic actuator and a butterfly valve, while operating within the hostile environment of a commercial jet engine. Proving to be a formidable challenge, exceptionally tight tolerances, demanding material properties, and compatibility with an existing design all factored into our decision making processes. Following intensive design and analysis, a final concept making use of a polygonal spline was selected as our solution prototype. A full working testing stand setup was also developed in tandem with the solution to accurately verify that all design specifications were being satisfied. Come semester’s end, the Woodward team feels confident that while learning a tremendous amount, we have helped to provide a solid foundation for a future production commercial jet engine component that will realize worldwide application

Cummins: Closed Crankcase Ventilation System

Cummins: Closed Crankcase Ventilation System

The Cummins natural gas QSK19G 19 liter engine is currently equipped with an open breather system which allows filtered blow-by gases to vent directly to the surrounding environment. This causes an increase in total emissions of the engine and over time, coats surrounding equipment and surfaces with oil. Along with creating cleaner work environments, this project was motivated and required by newer and stricter EPA regulations regarding the total emissions produced by an engine. This team designed, fabricated, and tested a closed crankcase ventilation (CCV) system that vented harmful
gases back into the engine to be re-combusted, met Tier II EPA standards, prevented damage to the engine, and lowered overall emissions.

John Deere: Exhaust After Treatment Efficiency Improvement

John Deere: Exhaust After Treatment Efficiency Improvement

Stricter government regulations of emissions for off-road diesel engines have forced engine manufacturers to implement additional processes to their pre-existing exhaust after treatment systems. To comply with the most recent regulations, John Deere is integrating a process called Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) into its current after treatment system. SCR is a process where an ammonia-based solution, known as diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), is mixed with the exhaust gases and passed through a catalyst to induce a reduction reaction, converting harmful nitrogen oxides (NOx) to nitrogen and water. The current problem with SCR is that it needs to be more efficient to comply with the new regulations whilst minimizing the cost and field maintenance, and improving customer satisfaction. By optimizing the mixing and uniformity of the DEF and exhaust mixture, the SCR system efficiency will increase, in-turn eliminating more NOx and economizing DEF consumption. The team has worked closely with John Deere to research, develop, and test an alternate mixing method using a 4.5-Liter John Deere Engine retrofitted with after treatment hardware in an effort to achieve better mixing results.

Medical Center of the Rockies

Medical Center of the Rockies: Life board Resuscitation Communication Tool

The life-saving interventions performed by the doctors and nurses in ER wards across the world are recorded on paper by a dedicated nurse recorder. If a doctor needs to know how much of a drug the patient has been given or if an intervention has been performed, the nurses must find, read, and relay this information verbally. This current system could result in miscommunication, confusion, and worse outcomes for the patient. The Life Board Project seeks to replace and improve upon this system by replacing the paper form with an easy-to use electronic tablet app which is wirelessly connected to a display. The interventions, fluids and drugs given can be instantaneously shown for the entire code team to see. In addition, the electronic records of the resuscitation can be saved for later review.


Ortho Pets: OSCAR (Orthopaedic System for Canine Analog Research)

The Orthopedic System for Canine Analog Research, better known as O.S.C.A.R., is a never before seen veterinary teaching device that demonstrates limb biomechanics and pathomechanics (injured joint motion) in the canine. O.S.C.A.R. is a musculoskeletal model that contains 3D modeled and printed bones attached via artificial muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Each of the soft tissues listed can be easily detached to simulate some of the most common injuries seen in canines along with less noticeable joint instabilities. The fully finished and intact model will be placed in the hands of veterinary students to give them a more solid understanding of normal joint motion seen in uninjured, ~~passive” dogs. Injuries can then be simulated and felt using an ~~active” mode incorporated to resist motion, imitating an injured, tensed-up dog. One half of O.S.C.A.R. will be visible for teaching and learning purposes and the other half will be hidden, for testing purposes, beneath a foam covering shaped to look and feel more like a real dog leg. A student can transition from using the uncovered half where they can visualize the injuries, to using the covered half where they are then forced to rely on feel only.

AFRL: Small Variable Pitch Propellor

AFRL: Small Variable Pitch Propeller

The objective of the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Small Engine Research Laboratory (SERL) Capstone Project was to design, fabricate, and test a variable pitch propeller for use on an unmanned aircraft. In implementing a variable pitch propeller, the goal is to improve overall system efficiency through improving the propeller efficiency. Additionally, this capstone project will leverage resources and improve collaboration efforts of SERL with academia and promote engineering education, design, and application of scientific fundamentals in a competitive capstone project environment.


AEND /Seismic Longboard Wheel Research:

The goal of the project is to provide AEND Industries and Seismic Skate Systems with critical wheel data in order to advance their knowledge of longboard wheels. The project is comprised of wheel testing, a statically analysis of the derived data and FEA modeling to characterize wheel response. Until this point there has been no engineering analysis of the mechanics oflongboards wheels. The theories, mathematical models and characterizations of wheel response generated will be the first of their kind. Wheel manufacturers will be able to accurately predict a wheel response based solely on the design variables involved in the fabrication process. In conclusion, this will allow for product optimization as well as a marketing pitch based on hard proven engineering analysis.

CSU Lab Animal Resources

CSU Lab Animal Resources: Adjustable Height Cage Transport Cart

At the Lab Animal Research Facility on campus, technicians clean and change out 600+ mouse, rat and guinea pig cages daily, which leads to back injuries from the repetitive bending, twisting and lifting motions. Our goal was to minimize the ergonomic stress related to this every day task by building a reproducible, ergonomic cart designed specifically for this facility and potential many other facilities. The stainless steel, two table design is spring operated keeping cages at an optimal waist level and allowing for clean cages to stay separate from dirties. A lock down mechanism allows for users to lower the tables to load cages and to stack the carts for quicker run time through the dish rack The cart is designed to use easily available stock and hardware so that multiples can be made in this facility, and so that they can be reproduced in many other research centers.

Pioneer Engineering

Pioneer Engineering: Machinery Health Monitoring Instrument

The production of natural gas is expecting massive growth in North America creating a high demand for reciprocating machine analysis. To secure a role in filling this demand Pioneer Engineering needs a portable measurement system to help their machine analysts perform condition monitoring and diagnostics on reciprocating engines and compressors. Although these types of instruments already exist on the market, they are too costly and Pioneer believes they can produce an instrument that not only performs the same tasks, but is more tailored to their needs for a lower cost. The device will function by measuring various pressure and vibration parameters which can then be analyzed by a field analyst. Furthermore, the instrument will be able to separate the normal vibrations of a functioning engine, due to variations of gas pressure in the cylinder and the inertial forces associated with moving engine parts, from vibrations indicative of mechanical problems. These identified mechanical problems can then be assessed in order to minimize the high costs of machinery replacement and production downtime.

Stolle Machinery

Stolle Machinery: Seal Pack

The 2012-13 Stolle project team worked to develop a running replica model of a bodymaker similar to those produced by Stolle Machinery for seal testing purposes. This model is currently being used to test new seal materials inside the full scale seal pack found in Stolle’s most powerful machines, the Standun B-line of bodymakers. These machines, used by some of the largest canning industry suppliers, can leak up to 10 gallons of oil lubricant every day after just a few months in factory production. After a full semester of machine design the team has a professionally built testing device weighing over 2000 pounds. In order to accurately replicate the full-scale model this mini-behemoth is pumping a 12 pound ram at 960 cycles per minute. The team is currently running tests to track the degradation process of each of the different seal materials. Team Stolle plans for their results, once implemented, to save Stolle and its customers thousands of dollars and reduce their impact on the environment.


Solix: Continuous Flow Ultrasonic Microalgae Harvesting System

As sustainable energy solutions are sought for the future, CSU has teamed up with Solix BioSystems to harness the power of algae. The project aimed to produce a harvesting method based on the acoustophoretic phenomenon to compete with current technologies that have capital and energy costs too excessive for the widespread acceptance of algae biofuels. The team utilized specialized flow geometry and acoustic pressure waves created by piezoelectric transducers to separate the algae cells from their growth solution. Modular design was also implemented with large-scale production in mind. Combined with the low power usage of the transducers, this creates a system that has the potential to dramatically decrease the production cost of algae biofuels.


Obermeyer: Harmonically Driven Drum Hoist

The renewable wind power industry continues to grow as more individuals seek energy independence. It is often more economical to purchase and refurbish used equipment such as the long available Micon 1 08kW turbine than to buy new hardware. Though very efficient, these turbines do have an issue with premature yaw drive wear. Currently, the only solution is to replace the broken drive with a similar drive known to fail again. It is the objective of our team to design a revolutionary pneumatically-actuated harmonic drive yaw control system with a longer lifespan and original purchasing price. A proof of concept was generated by one last year’s senior design teams. The focus of our team is on the optimization of the gear tooth profiles. In order to accomplish this, 2D and 3D non-linear FEA analysis was completed utilizing both Abaqus and ANSYS software platforms. The results of these simulations dictated changes to the geometry of the gear teeth to increase the efficiency of power transmission and the use of composite materials to better mitigate thermal effects.

Hydro Technologies

Hydro Technologies: Backpackable Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicle

Some bodies of water, namely alpine lakes and underwater caves, are too dangerous to explore with human teams and too difficult to access with commercial ROV equipment. Due to this fact, this project was established and funded by Corey Jaskolski, President of HydroTechnologies and National Geographic Fellow, in order to design and create an alternative means of exploring the aforementioned areas. The team designed N.E.M.O. (Nautical Exploratory Modular Observer) such that it can be hiked into a location with two explorers, reach depths of 60 meters, and achieve operable times of over 90 minutes. The team is confident that N.E.M.O. can be benchmarked and utilized by explorers across the world to make astonishing discoveries in previously unexplored


Faculty Initiated:

NASA Laser Sensor

NASA Laser Sensor for Atmospheric CO2 measurement:

The ability to accurately measure the concentrations of carbon dioxide in the terrestrial atmosphere has become a crucial step towards understanding climate change, combustion, and other areas of atmospheric science. NASA’s decadal ASCENDS mission seeks to identify the sources and sinks of natural carbon and its movement throughout the atmosphere with the long-term goal of understanding and predicting changes in climate. Colorado State University has developed a bench-top, near-infrared cavity ring-down spectroscopy (CRDS) system for measuring concentrations of carbon dioxide in a gas sample. The motivation for continuing the project is to integrate a temperature and pressure-controlled gas system that allows for the CRDS system to take measurements at various operating conditions. The CRDS system allows for replication of specific atmospheric conditions at varying altitudes with the ability to alter the temperature and pressure of the gas sample. The data collected will be used by atmospheric scientists to improve their own atmospheric models and carbon dioxide measurement techniques.

Wheelchair Backpack Retrieval Device

Wheelchair Backpack Retrieval Device:

In America alone, over 3 million people rely on electric wheelchairs for their everyday mode of transportation. These users store their bags or backpacks on the back of their wheelchairs, and they often struggle with the task of conveniently and autonomously accessing their belongings. The backpack retrieval device solves this problem by safely delivering a universal storage carriage from the back of the wheelchair to the user’s side, taking electric wheelchair users one step closer to living an independent lifestyle.

Heart Valve Fatigue Tester

Heart Valve Fatigue Tester:

In the United States, diseases affecting the valves of the heart are estimated to affect 2.5°/o of the general population, and this proportion is expected to rise as the population ages. Valve replacement therapy is an effective and common treatment for valve disease with at least 90,000 prosthetic valves implemented annually in US. Current bioprosthetic valves, however, have poor hemodynamics and are susceptible to wear. Durability testers are an important tool in assessing novel prosthetic valve designs, to ensure long-term durability of valves, and also to ensure adherence to regulatory standards set by the FDA. Unfortunately, they are prohibitively expensive at costs upwards of $50,000. The CSU HVFT team has designed and manufactured a low-cost ( < $3,000) durability tester for heart valves which may be utilized for research and teaching purposes in the effort to produce a more ideal cardiac prosthetic. The design is the first to utilize an eccentric shaft as a method for actuation. The team plans to make manufacturing plans and results available in an open source format upon project completion, in an effort to enable smaller cardiac research facilities.