Congratulations to all of our senior engineering students who have completed their Senior Design projects! Thank you for all of the hard work you put into your projects and we hope that they have been an experience that you can look back on and be proud of the work you accomplished and the experiences you gained through the process. Below are the winning projects for each department of engineering.
1. Amperometric Microfluidic Device With Incorporated Tissue Slide For Personalized Cancer
As the second leading cause of death in the United States, cancer demands a need for effective treatment strategies. Common cancer treatment options include surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is capable of addressing cases of metastasis when cancer spreads throughout a patient’s body through venues including the circulatory and lymphatic systems. Unfortunately, current methods utilize models which act as predictive indicators of average systems, offering a ‘one-size-fits-all’ without the ability to address patient-specific drug interactions. Current methods of personalized cancer treatment are not reasonable due to time, effort, and money. This study aims to address personalized treatment limitations by engineering a microfluidic device capable of screening for individualized chemotherapy treatments. The device will deliver drug cocktails to biopsy tissue inserted within the device while simultaneously analyzing drug efficacy against both cancerous and non-cancerous tissue. Microfluidic research has gained popularity in recent years due its advantage of high experimental precision compared to conventional cell cultures; recent studies have demonstrated successful incorporation of tissue slices and control of their microenvironments. While the most common method for tracking cellular behavior relies on microscopy, alternative methods based on microfluidics would enhance the ability to provide direct, real-time feedback on drug efficacy. Amperometry has been used to detect release of chemicals, such as neurotransmitters and catecholamines, from mouse and rat tissue slices and have shown to measure concentrations within 5% accuracy. Furthermore, microfluidics has demonstrated utilization of enzymatic reactions to selectively detect concentrations of cancerous markers such as lactate and glucose in solution. In addition, design of a microfluidic device capable of delivering drugs to patient tissue and assessing their respective efficacies via measured am-perometric signals introduces the potential for improved personalization of cancer treatment to offer patients a greater chance of life.
Read more about this team through their blog!
2. Covidien APC Design Team
Ulcerative colitis is a disease of the mucosa layer of the large intestine that causes lesions to appear on the inner walls. These lesions can be very irritable and painful to those suffering from the disease, and if untreated, will almost always lead to colon cancer. Current treatments of ulcerative colitis are invasive and can lead to irreparable damage, so this project aims to treat ulcerative colitis in adults in a much more con-trolled and less damaging way before the disease can become cancerous and therefore improve quality and length of life. This will be done by ablating the mucosa lining of the colon using argon gas as a plasma electrode, a process known as argon plasma ablation (APC). This project is sponsored by Covidien, a company that specializes in electrosurgical medical devices.
The design objectives for this project included the development and construction of two argon plasma ablation devices: one with a forward, axially firing nozzle and the other with a side, perpendicu-larly firing nozzle. These two prototype designs were tested for ablation depth accuracy based on a variety of design parameters. In both devices, gas travels through a catheter tube, brass collar, polyimide tube, and out a ceramic nozzle past a tungsten wire electrode. The energized wire electrode drives current through the argon gas, which then carries electrons to the tissue to perform electrosurgery on the ulcer sites in the colon. Both prototypes have similar form and function, with different nozzle designs specific for different surgical applications or user preferences. Our testing data is to be a proof of concept that will determine if we can truly have controlled burn depth using this technology.
3. Developing an In-line Cellular Lysis Device / Terumo BTC
Cellular lysis, or the rupture of cellular membranes, is integral in a number of research and industrial applications. In proteomics and genomics, cell lysis is fundamental in the recovery of various cellular components required for continual research and experimentation.
The process of cellular lysis generally employs mechanical, chemical, or electrical forces to rupture cell membranes. This disruption of cellular structure makes the intracellular components accessible for collection and further study. However, current cell lysing techniques remain inefficient, inexact, and time-consuming. Researchers are often forced to prioritize sensitivity or processing volume in lysing processes. Developing a streamlined process for cellular lysis, delivering in both protein yield and large volume capacity, has the potential to increase productivity while reducing cost and time requirements for researchers.
This design project focuses on the development a flow-through cellular lysis device that minimizes human involvement and handles larger volumes of cellular medium with the sensitivity of smaller-scale operations. This device is part of a larger system which will culture and lyse E. coli prior to harvesting intracellular proteins. This automated, large-capacity, cell-lysing device will provide efficient and repeatable yields of viable cellular components.
Civil & Environmental Engineering
1. Massif Engineering
The purpose of this project was to perform an alternative analysis, and then final design, on how to relocate a section of Bradley Road, which is a major thoroughfare that will be displaced by the construction of the Upper Williams Creek Reservoir scheduled to occur during Phase II of the Southern Delivery System (SDS). The SDS is a regional water delivery project designed to provide a safe and secure water distribution network for Colorado Springs and its surrounding communities. Additionally, Bradley Road is a Defense Access Road (DAR) for Schriever Air Force Base, and at no time, and under no circumstances, may this road be closed or detoured. Three alternatives were considered for this project including a road re-route to the north side of the reservoir and two separate bridge designs proposed to span the reservoir at different locations. A Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis was then developed to determine a preferred alternative to best meet the needs of the client with consideration to factors such as: cost, DAR requirements, environmental impacts, land access, impacts to commuter traffic, future reservoir impacts with respect to safe drinking water and recreational access, and any impacts to utilities in the area. The preferred alternative was then finalized to ensure that all design criteria and safety considerations met necessary requirements for an infrastructure project of this magnitude. Ultimately, the relocation of Bradley Road will provide a safe and efficient means of transportation to meet the needs of the communities affected by the filling of the Upper Williams Creek Reservoir.
2. Ram Restoration Consulting
In 2008 the Fort Collins City Council directed the Stormwater Utility to begin addressing stormwater quality and stream rehabilitation in Fort Collins. The program has since identified several potential stream restoration projects in an effort to protect the City’s watersheds and to preserve the natural functions of its floodplains. In collaboration with this program, Ram Restoration Consulting has been asked to provide the City with a preliminary design of stream stability measures and an aquatic habitat restoration plan for a reach of Mail Creek located upstream of Mead-ow Passaway Drive and downstream of the Fairway Dam. Like many waterways in the City, Mail Creek has been subject to long duration, high intensity flows of irrigation water since the early 1960’s. As a result, the stream channel has become severely degraded over time, experiencing severe vertical and lateral erosion, especially where banks exceed critical bank height. Additionally, the Mail Creek drainage basin has experienced a significant increase in development over the last decade, which has amplified surface irrigation and stormwater runoff. These changes contribute to the shallow groundwater table, which in turn contributes to base flow and further erosion of channel banks. Another consequence of these increased flows has been the overall degradation of aquatic habitat health and connectivity. Greater sinuosity and vertical erosion have majorly reduced the quality of the ecosystem as the reach continues to become more laterally disconnected. The objective of this project is to develop a preliminary design of the Mail Creek stream reach to improve the stability of the stream banks while enhancing the stream’s lateral and longitudinal connectivity. Such a design will focus on facilitating fish passage, improving the general health of the ecosystem and increasing water quality.
3. ASCE Student Steel Bridge / Ninjaneer Bridge Design
Ninjaneer Bridge Design (NBD), teamed with the Colorado State University chapter of ASCE, is taking part in the annual Student Steel Bridge Competition hosted by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC). Each year, teams are provided with a mock scenario for which the bridges must be designed. In the current competition it is required that teams design and construct a 1:10 scale model of a bridge for the President of Kupicra to span the Nogo River so that his capital city is connected to the surrounding villages during the rainy season. Sonarpin Foundation, the funders of the project, require use of specially sized, light-weight, prefabricated steel members which can be transported to the construction site via ox cart and be constructed before the annual rainy season begins. Footings, deck panels, and causeways will be constructed by local crews and do not need to be considered in the design. Along with this realistic scenario, ASCE provides restrictions for the bridge and individual members, including size and weight limitations which must be met during competition. At competition, bridges are judged based on durability, constructability, usability, stiffness, construction speed, efficiency, economy, and attractiveness. With the competition in mind, NBD’s objective throughout the year has been to design and fabricate the most cost effective and appropriate bridge to fit the demands provided by the ASCE rules and regulations. To meet this objective, NBD worked with Colorado State University’s ASCE chapter to find sponsors to fund the project, model multiple scenarios in AutoCAD, simulate the proposed loading scenarios in SAP2000 in order to optimize weight and member sizes, and then fabricate the bridge in an on-campus mill. The project came to fruition at the Rocky Mountain Regional Student Steel Bridge Competition this spring in Albuquerque, NM.
Chemical & Biological Engineering
1. ChemE Sense
Sensory substitution is the use of stimuli to one sensory organ, to supplement or replace another. Sensory substitution has practical applications in the health, entertainment, and the defense industries. The use of the tongue as a target for sensory substitution is of particular interest, because of the high density of innervated general and special sensation fibers. Electrical stimulation of the tongue can be used as a sensory substitute for hearing. However the dynamic range, the ability to use this sensory mode to discern the type, direction, and magnitude of a sound, falls short of what the human ear is capable of. The use of chemical and thermal stimuli can increase the dynamic range and allows the tongue to function as a substitute or supplement for the ear. Special visceral afferent nerves (SVAN) are able to detect different tastes based on chemical composition. Sound can be transduced to a taste sensation to further improve the dynamic range of the tongue as a mode of sensory substitution. Human saliva is 99% water, and with the use of electrolysis it produces acidic hydronium ions. Control of the hydronium ion concentration allows for localized and discrete taste sensations. These sensations induced by transduction of a sound input increase the dynamic range of the tongue. Likewise, localized thermal sensations can further increase this dynamic range. The combined effect of electrical, chemical, and thermal stimulation allows the tongue to function as a sensory substitute for hearing.
2. Development of Syngas from Biomass
Biomass gasification is a process that converts the energy on organic material into a fuel (gas) mixture of hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide, often referred to as Syngas. Syngas, when produced correctly, is often far more efficient than combusting the original organic material and has a very broad range of applications. The problem with Syngas production is that, currently, it is an expensive process and is not cost effective. It uses more energy to convert the organic material into fuel than it saves. This group intends to tackle this problem using a variety of natural, abundant resources to design and model a large scale biomass gasification process in a cost effective and efficient manner.
3. Templated Synthesis of Massively Parallel Nanowire Arrays
Protein crystals have numerous applications in Bioengineering across several disciplines, from applications in small-scale drug delivery to those in biosensors and micro-scale detection systems. Within this realm of Bioengineering via proteins, our group has chosen to explore the creation and testing of conductive nanotubes and nanowires within the pores of protein crystals. This was done by cross-linking, oxidizing, and pyrrole-soaking prepared protein crystals. Cross-linking by use of glutar-aldehyde or formaldehyde is utilized to strengthen the protein crystals to the point where they can be manipulated effectively. Oxidation creates free radicals within the crystals, which allows the pyrrole to polymerize into polypyrrole, an organic polymer which has been proven to provide conductance. This process allows for the creation of conductive protein crystals. Our crystals have been made to be conductive per the mentioned procedure, and tested as such, using Bioengineering and Electrochemical methods developed specifically for this project. Addition-ally, Electron Microscopy images have been taken to prove our theory that nanowires and nanotubes were created within the crystal pores.
Electrical & Computer Engineering
1. Robotics Challenge
Due to potentially hazardous environments and prohibitive travel time of manned space missions, robotic explorers are preferred for preliminary planetary explorations. These robots must be autonomous so they can effectively work at the vast distances between Earth and extraterrestrial bodies. Thus, the mechanical system, electrical hardware, and software must be thoroughly designed and rigorously tested before being put into the field. The cost of launching an exploratory mission causes scientists to err on the side of caution when selecting desired paths for a robot to explore. This limits the places the explorer can go as well as potentially adds a great deal of time to the expedition.
The project’s main goal is to create a 3-D printed robot that is capable of traversing rough terrain toward a navigational bea-con i.e. being able to climb over objects in its path rather than going around them when possible, otherwise navigating around them and returning to a desired course. This will take great effort, both on the mechanical system as well as the electrical hardware and software systems. The robot will be participating in the Robotics Challenge, an event sponsored by NASA and the Colorado Space Grant Consortium which seeks to spur interest and ideas in the design of autonomous robots for space exploration.
2. Social Robotics Platform
The Social Robotics Platform project moves a toy sitting on a platform in order to engage children with developmental disabilities. These children often do not understand that their actions affect their environment. The purpose of this platform is to help these children develop motor skills and prevent a condition of “learned helplessness” by providing an engaging system that responds to their input.
This interdisciplinary project is being tackled by five engineering students from CSU working in partnership with Anschutz Medical Campus (Denver) and Respite Care (Fort Collins).
The final platform design was to detect input from the patient and respond adequately. The patient will activate a capability switch for input (such as a button), and the Microcontroller Unit (MCU) will then process the input signal. Depending on the mode of operation, a movement, along with lights and sounds, will be generated by the MCU and the motion system. In this way, the child will see the toy on the platform respond to his or her action.
This project requires many custom-made parts and the integration and interfacing of many components. The team used various methods to create mechanical parts and casing parts. One of these methods involves 3D printing. Also, circuitry was designed to drive motors and integrate inputs, sounds, and lights; and software was developed to control an Arduino, which ultimately controls the entire system.
There is no perfect replacement for a professional therapist. However, providing a fun, portable, and engaging tool that enables children to continually progress in the development of motor-skills and understanding control (even in the absence of a therapist) is invaluable.
Read more about this team through their blog!
As airborne electronics become more popular, technology must be created to allow for better performance and operation of these machines. This is the idea behind the HexArray project. This team is responsible for the design, implementation, and analysis of a base station which will be used to transmit electromagnetic signals to various robotic devices within a specified range. This is achieved using various antennas that are strategically placed to communicate with mechanisms in the range. Extensive knowledge of antenna design and analysis, radio frequency applications, and manufacturing work were required for completion of this project.
This project is important because of the diversity of its applications. Streaming video from airborne electronics is very beneficial to a variety of practices. For example, firefighters in the near future could have a drone armed with a camera to quickly and safely oversee a burning building. The HexArray would simply need to be placed near the building (perhaps mounted on the firetruck) to give the firefighters a high quality live feed of a dangerous area. This product aims to be much more affordable than current solutions on the market.
The trucking industry plays a huge role in the modern economy. Near-ly 70% of all goods are transported on semi-trucks. With roughly two million semi-trucks in use today, a huge amount of diesel fuel is used for this industry. The leading cause of low fuel mileage for a tractor- trailer is aerodynamic drag. At highway speeds, approximately 65% of a truck’s power is used to overcome aerodynamic drag. There have been many attempts to reduce drag within the trucking industry on many different areas of the tractor-trailer. The Aerowings team has focused their efforts on the gap between the tractor and trailer. This area of low pressure turbulence creates a large amount of suction drag on the vehicle. Our sponsor was issued a patent, therefore the Aerowings team goal was to build a device in accordance with U.S. patent no. 8075046 and quantify the effect it has on the aerodynamic drag of a tractor-trailer system. The patent states that the device must be autonomous and operate between an open and closed position between the tractor and trailer with two sides working independently from each other. The autonomous and independent actuation was accomplished using vehicle speed, wind speed and wind direction sensors attached to a pneumatic system. The testing was performed using CFD modeling and an SAE coast down test.
2. Continuous Electric Field Assisted Sintering
Materials that take advantage of the unique properties available through sintering are finding their way into more and more every-day devices. For metals this is a relatively straight forward adaption of current technologies but for ceramics this presents challenges. The sintering methods able to make fully densified ceramics are slow batch processes that result in highly expensive materials and are difficult to manufacture. The need is then apparent for a process capable of generating fully densified materials regardless of their composition in a continuous manner. This specific prototype produces continuous samples of zinc oxide with a densification similar to those samples created with the existing manufacturing process, called Spark Plasma Sintering. Improvements not only include larger sample sizes, but the entire system exhibits a reduction in the power consumption and cycle time per unit of produced material. Our material of zinc oxide is simply the start of the capabilities of this brand new manufacturing process. The ramifications of this technology will be far reaching as it becomes possible to convert a slow batch process into a continuous production line in which a hopper filled with nano-powdered materials feeds a Continuous Electric Field Assisted Sintering machine. This therefore broadens the use of ceramics with unique properties in the manufacturing world.
3. BP Noise Mitigation
British Petroleum has hundreds of natural gas compressors in the San Juan Basin area of Colorado. The increase in well numbers in addition to growing populations means that well sites and residents’ homes are coming into closer contact with one another. It has become a major priority of BP to keep the noise levels of these compressors low, so that they can continue to be a good neighbor to the people of Colorado and stay within the legal noise regulations set by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. Current industry solutions include full or partial sound walls, mufflers, and noise attenuating enclosures. All of these solutions can be expensive and also hazardous due to the potential confinement of a highly flammable substance. Therefore, the demand for a less hazardous and less expensive noise mitigation solution has substantially increased.
The concept of active noise cancellation, which is executed through the destructive interference of two similar sound waves acting 180 degrees out of phase from one another, is an idea that could unlock a promising new solution to the mitigation of the unwanted compressor noise. The purpose of the BP Noise Mitigation Team was to design an alpha prototype active noise cancellation system that could give BP some initial insight into the feasibility of using this technique to reach a reasonable noise level on their compressors. The research of this team through the senior design project is a crucial step in British Petroleum’s pursuit to maintain a high level of customer satisfaction.