Projects Involving Mechanical Engineering

For more information on any project, please contact Toni Boggan or email the project's Faculty Advisor.

ENSC03 Cross-Laminated Timber Characterization and Optimization


Team: Faye Maddox, August Braun, Seth Hickman, Brian Thompson
Faculty Advisor: Joshua Schultz email
Sponsor: Structurlam
Sponsor Liaison: Kris Spickler

The Timber Research Group (TRG) has been investigating the structural properties of cross-laminated timber (CLT) beams. TRG developed a test apparatus and controlled test procedure to: determine the ultimate strength of 3-ply CLT, the stress distribution through the unique layup of CLT beams, and the probability of failure of CLT beams loaded in flexure. The team used experimental data to investigate ways CLT might be optimized based on structural, financial, and environmental criteria. Optimized CLT was used to redesign structural components of a benchmark concrete building. The alternative design shows that CLT is a structurally viable and sustainable alternative for mid to high rise constructions. TRG would like to thank its gracious sponsor, StructurLam, for their donations of CLT panels, as well as Dr. Joshua Schultz and Dr. Patrick Ferro for their support and guidance.

ENSC09 Cincinnati Greenway


Team: Makayla Bowdish, Cameron Unkel, Nick Petersen
Faculty Advisor: Rhonda Young email
Sponsor: City of Spokane
Sponsor Liaison: Brandon Blankenagel

The Cincinnati Greenway is a bicycle and pedestrian friendly transportation project proposed by the City of Spokane. The City of Spokane has been working to implement safe and efficient bicycle facilities in order to provide Spokane with an enhanced bicycle network that can be used by all community members. The Cincinnati Greenway will connect the Ben Burr Trail, Centennial Trail, and bike lanes on Addison Street as it runs from Euclid Avenue in the north to Spokane Falls Boulevard in the south. The design team has met with Neighborhood Councils affected by the project as well as city politicians in order to produce a final design charter that reflects the community and promotes safe active transportation.

ENSC17 Apex Trekking Axe


Team: Aziza Radwan, Collin Calhoon, Matthew Saunders, Hunter Bingham
Faculty Advisor: Art Miller email
Sponsor: Smart Alex Product Development
Sponsor Liaison: Alex Korteum

The main goal for our apex trekking axe was to design and build a handle that could compete with the other trekking pole/axe combinations currently on the market with the improvement that the “axe” blade would fold into the handle for safety and ease of use when not needed. Throughout this year our team has accomplished designing and testing one prototype, designing another that used the feedback from out first test to make improvements and a third prototype that encompasses all of the feedback we have received from various members of the engineering community as well as our sponsor as well as the test results from our infield and machine tests.

ENSC18 Micro-Hydropower


Team: Alyssa Saad, Kanyon Powers, Karly McCauley, Ethan Evans
Faculty Advisor: Patrick Ferro email
Sponsor: Gonzaga University
Sponsor Liaison: Gabe Achenbach

The goal of this project was to design and prototype a micro hydrokinetic turbine system. The design caters to consumers who would like to utilize hydropower on a small scale. It allows for environmentally-conscious users to generate power from a river or stream near their home. This project focused on creating a system that analyzed different small-scale hydropower components to create a portable, cost effective system. The final prototype is made from 3D printed parts. It generates power using a water-lubricated, brushless DC motor. Water is channeled through the inlet to focus the flow into the turbine blades. Water exits through the outlet, reducing the pressure without causing cavitation. If brought to a manufacturing level, this easily installable system may allow for affordable and noninvasive infrastructure as an alternative to the traditional dam. This could bring green energy down to a much more personal level.

ENSC19 Automated Trailer Control


Team: Jacqueline Griesser-Secrest, Noah Kobayashi, Jonah Guerrero, Everett Fellger
Faculty Advisor: Andy Johnston email
Sponsor: Gary Stadtmueller
Sponsor Liaison: Gary Stadtmueller

ENSC Group 19 was tasked by Gary Stadtmueller to design an independent system that can be implemented on any trailer-type and connect to the towing vehicle as it executed a variety of maneuvers in an attempt to reduce the strain on the tow vehicle. ENSC 19 designed and created a functioning sub-scaled prototype by utilizing a garden wagon, batteries, a load cell, motorized wheels, a microcontroller, and speed controllers. The designed sub-scale prototype is capable of simulating a loaded trailer and reacting to the given input through the handle of the cart by the user, which is designed to resemble the tow vehicle performing various actions (i.e. stopping, starting, and turning). Through the design, a larger-sized system utilizing correctly-scaled components can be implemented on any trailer and Increase the fuel efficiency of the tow vehicle while under load.

ENSC20 Honeycomb Core


Team: Cesar Ortiz Rios, Jesslyn Bierman, Bridget Kiley, Dillon Peisson
Faculty Advisor: Jacob Laete email
Sponsor: Boeing
Sponsor Liaison: Michael Plahuta

The Boeing Honeycomb Core team analyzed the strength of Hexel’s Fiberglass and Aluminum honeycomb material when under compressive load. Mike Plahuta, an engineer in the jet propulsion division at Boeing, proposed this project because it is beneficial for Boeing to have multiple tests showing consistency and agreement with their honeycomb material vendor, Hexel. This project was a continuation of the 2016-2017 Boeing Honeycomb Core team. The 2017- 2018 team analyzed the previous team's data and delivered pre-test analysis with predicted failures. Tests were run both at the Boeing facility in Everett, WA and in the Gonzaga Lab. Using Boeing’s data, the team was able to validate the results obtained at Gonzaga. A test matrix including test data from 2016-2018 was delivered. Once testing was complete, the 2017-2018 team published a correlation curve with a correlation coefficient that correlates cell wall orientation to strength. The team also delivered documentation covering the testing procedures.

ENSC21 Clip Installation Tool


Team: Kyle Bowman, Sam Kendree, Todd Guse, Patrick Tjandra
Faculty Advisor: Ryan Leahy email
Sponsor: Boeing
Sponsor Liaison: Craig Ungerecht

Boeing, our sponsor, came to us with a problem they currently have with installing nut clips in the fuselage of their airplane. When installing by hand, the nut clips often fall into the lower deck of the airplane, becoming FOD, foreign object debris. When FOD occurs, it takes time and resources to clean before the next step in production. Our goal, which we have obtained, was to design, develop, and test a hand held tool for ergonomically installing nut clips, with the main function of preventing FOD. We have developed a tool that is durable, ergonomic, and easy to use, while providing the function of FOD prevention.

ENSC22 Shock Absorber for Human-Powered Tools


Team: Connor Arend, Kinsly Smith, Bryan Yu, Matthew Palodichuk
Faculty Advisor: J McCall email
Sponsor: Buck Knives
Sponsor Liaison: Mark McLean

The goal of this project was to mitigate the shock and vibrations felt throughout a person’s hand, wrist, elbow, and shoulder when they used a tool such as an axe or a hatchet. To achieve this goal, the group cut different geometries into the metal of axes and tested them to see if a certain geometry could reduce the shock the user felt. Another avenue of overmolding was explored. For this, urethane was cast over the different handles of axes and tested to see how urethane would dampen the shock felt.

ENSC23 Electro-Mechanical Faucet


Team: Sam Olson, Megan Millward, Charles Mielke, Ryan Hungate
Faculty Advisor: Bob Reed email
Sponsor: Ryan Kellog
Sponsor Liaison: Bob Reed

Senior Design Group 23 was tasked with development and prototyping of an ElectroMechanical Faucet device. There is a growing market for the automating of simple tasks for the improvement of user experience and efficiency. The infrastructure behind common objects lends them to be operated most efficiently in a certain way, but human operators tend to make this difficult or impossible. By integrating some basic technology and hardware, it is possible to drastically improve the efficiency of these devices and to improve the user experience. Thus, a system that can be retrofitted onto a preexisting single-handle shower valve that can actively control the temperature of the shower stream has been developed. Additional design specifications require it to remain noninvasive and relatively low cost compared to existing market competition, and provide preheat functionality.

ENSC24 Concrete Delivery ID


Team: Nicholas Reasoner, Hans VanderWel, Jack Zielinski, Bianca Burton, Christopher Clark
Faculty Advisor: Mason VanLith email
Sponsor: ACME
Sponsor Liaison: Robert Seghetti

The Electronic Concrete Delivery Team working with ACME Concrete based here in Spokane was tasked with embedding RFID chips into the concrete manufacturing process. Each chip has a unique identification number that correlates to the specific concrete batch specification which will now be stored in the company cloud database, making way for ease of location finding and data retrieval. This Multidisciplinary project consisted of teams of Computer Science, Mechanical, and Electrical Engineering majors. The team of four Computer Science majors (CPSC 09) created a cloud database for the storage of batch specific information and employee interface for the data retrieval. The team of three Mechanical Engineers were tasked with the dispensing of the RFID chips at the batch plant and the creation of a manufacturing process to do so. The team of two Electrical Engineers were responsible of the writing of the RFID chips and data transfer to the Computer Science team. Stop by the Design Expo to see how ACME Concrete goes digital with batch specific identification.

ENSC25 Sensors for Body Vibration


Team: Olivia Bridston, Gaelen Murray, Zachary Oldham, Jacob Laurent
Faculty Advisor: Art Miller email
Sponsor: NIOSH
Sponsor Liaison: Art Miller

The goal of this project was to develop a prototype and data acquisition system for the measurement of vibrations as they travel from the hand through the arm and to the ear, with a focus on how body vibrations can contribute to hearing loss. The team designed and developed a prototype of multiple accelerometers for NIOSH to refine and use in research going forward to analyze the connection between exposure to vibration of mining equipment and occupational hearing loss.

ENSC26 Paint Boom Protector


Team: Peter Bugos, Brian Scott, Sara Berry-Maraist, Gaby Sevilla
Faculty Advisor: Bob Reed email
Sponsor: EZ Loader
Sponsor Liaison: Jim Boone and Bruce Sundahl

Group ENSC 26 was assigned by EZ Loader Boat Trailer’s to provide recommendations on factory reconstruction to prevent product damage and make a more efficient process. With EZ Loader’s new expansion to 25ft parts, such as a boom (side parts for the trailer’s frame), they have received damage from bumping into factory walls and structural beams. We have outlined minimum dimensions that they must redesign certain rooms in their factory. This will not only prevent damaged products but also free skilled labor from guiding such parts. From simple solutions like rehanging a carrying hook to providing new room dimensions and realigning process chains, we will solve any hang-ups that these extended parts will cause.

ENSC27 Hydrogen Fuel Cell Testing


Team: Chris Peterson, Nicolas Carbonell, Sean Sweeney, Keenan Stephens
Faculty Advisor: Jeff Nolting email
Sponsor: Plug Power
Sponsor Liaison: Scott Spink

Working with the company Plug Power, our goal was to design an airflow test bench for Plug Power’s air-cooled hydrogen fuel cells. One of the most critical aspects of controlling an Air Cooled Fuel Cell (ACFC) is to maintain the optimum operating temperature for the membrane. In doing this, the water is sufficiently balanced to maintain a high level of conductivity and thus maximum output power. This is done by the use of a fan, and in order to choose an appropriate fan we need to know this mass flow rate and the pressure required to achieve said mass flow rate. Our test bench measures flow rate and the pressure that the said flow rate needs to overcome. From this data, the team generates impedance curves that Plug Power uses to easily choose the best fans for each fuel cell. This project taught the team a lot about working as a group on long projects and kept us on our toes with topics such as fluid mechanics and design.

ENSC28 Engine Test Skid


Team: Andrew Petrillo, Ben Froehlich, Jon Holt, Zach Gustlin
Faculty Advisor: Jim Weston email
Sponsor: Gonzaga University
Sponsor Liaison: Marc Baumgardner

We designed an engine test skid to increase research and laboratory opportunities for the Mechanical Engineering Department. This research includes, but is not limited to, research on biodiesel fuel performance and fuel consumption. The skid will allow for laboratory experiments in fluid mechanics, heat transfer or thermodynamics classes. Our test skid is an adjustable stand to support an engine ranging from 25-100 horsepower and designed to support a dynamometer at a later date. A cooling system on a transportable cart houses a radiator, fan, pump, and temperature and pressure gauges to monitor the state of the engine. A high temperature exhaust system transports the engine gases safely out of the room. We have manufactured the skid and it is ready for use.

ENSC29 Hardness Test Fixture


Team: David Stepovich, Brady Garcea, Bolen Brown, Isaia Tiangston
Faculty Advisor: Colleen Nolting email
Sponsor: UTC
Sponsor Liaison: Roy Wortman

For our senior design project, we worked with UTC Aerospace Systems. UTC runs a variety of tests on their large commercial and military airline brake discs, including hardness testing. However, most, if not all hardness testers are not made to test large objects because the work holding fixture is so small. The fixture that they have on site has caused a variety of problems, including balancing errors resulting in inaccurate measurements, a long testing process per disc and strenuous technician movements per test. We set out to redesign a new test fixture that will resolve these current problems. Our goal, which we have obtained, was to deliver a proof of concept which includes a complete drawing package, CAD model, operation manual and assembly instructions. Although a completely machined prototype wasn’t far out of reach, we simply didn’t have enough time to get all the parts machined, delivered and assembled.

ENSC30 Silicone Injection Fixture


Team: John Tatka, Nathan Bearup, Collin Jurenka
Faculty Advisor: Sam Shoemaker email
Sponsor: Nano Precision Medical
Sponsor Liaison: Antwan Gibson

The objective of this project is to develop, test, and verify the functionality of an automated silicone injection molding fixture. This will be used to quickly and precisely manufacture components for prototype medical devices to be used for research and development purposes. The fixture will increase the speed, efficiency, and control of the silicone septum forming process for the prototype medical implants while freeing up valuable human resources. The fixture will utilize the highly capable 3-axis properties of a 3D Printer combined with a custom-designed plunger assembly that will dispense a silicone compound to accomplish the task described above. The plunger assembly then depresses the cartridge and injects a precise amount of silicone into an array of molds of a predetermined geometry that can be scaled according to Nano-Precision Medical’s prototyping requirements. This allows for a controlled, highly accurate final product that marks an improvement over current techniques and technologies.

ENSC31 Probably A Pendulum


Team: Andrew D’alba, Alex Grudovik, Tony Sisco
Faculty Advisor: Jim Weston email
Sponsor: Gonzaga University
Sponsor Liaison: Timothy Fitzgerald

Our goal this year was to develop a pendulum that can measure the mass moment of inertia of any arbitrarily shaped body in the range of two to five pounds. We had some difficulties with multiple aspects such as securing the randomly shaped object, so it wouldn’t move, programming the different inputs and outputs, and the overall fabrication within our tolerances. However, we accomplished managing to deal with all of these issues and devised a product that will allow us to achieve our original goal.

ENSC33 Sheet Metal Fan Base


Team: Kyle Wilkinson, Ian Wilber, Mica Carriere-Hickox
Faculty Advisor: Bryan Woodbury email
Sponsor: Haakon Industries
Sponsor Liaison: Ryan Leahy

The goal of this project was to design, prototype, and test an alternative fan base for Haakon Industries, a leading manufacturer and designer of custom air handling units and HVAC equipment. A key component of Haakon’s air handling systems is the design of the fan assembly's structural base, which supports all loads placed on the fan housing while providing vibration isolation and earthquake restraints. Haakon’s current fan base design is constructed out of welded angle iron, which results in a process that is labor intensive and time consuming. With our design, we utilized Haakon’s extensive sheet metal manufacturing capabilities to construct a fan base that is fastener-based and weld-free. Our design also accommodates fan sizes from 1224 inches in diameter with integrated earthquake isolation and restraints. We have cut manufacturing time from 4 hours, to just under 15 minutes, and have reduced the cost per base of approximately 70%.

ENSC34 Hydrogen Fuel Cell Fitting


Team: Connor Colestock, Chris Ultican, Connor Nation, Danny Barnhart
Faculty Advisor: Patrick Ferro email
Sponsor: Dynacraft and PACCAR
Sponsor Liaison: Steve Weirlo and Andy Erickson

Our team set out to provide a material selection for a hydrogen fuel cell fitting for Dynacraft, A PACCAR Company. Utilizing literature and research, we first narrowed down our selection of materials. We then proceeded into intensive testing of our selected materials. After compiling and analyzing our test data, we provided our sponsor with the appropriate material for use in a hydrogen fuel cell fitting for a concept hydrogen powered vehicle.

ENSC35 Mechanical CPR Device


Team: Bryce Dumais, Laura Miller, Connor Nash, Matthew Stanley
Faculty Advisor: Renee LaRocca email
Sponsor: Gonzaga University
Sponsor Liaison: Les Bohush

Our team set out to design a mechanical CPR device that can be used during emergency situations in ambulances when it is not safe for medical personnel to perform CPR on a patient, especially while the ambulance is moving. Our design helps perform compressions on the patient’s chest by using pressurized pistons to contract and release a band and sculpted plate over the chest. An operator can safely operate the device using a foot pedal while sitting in the ambulance. With the help of Sacred Heart Medical Center, our team was able to test our device on advanced CPR mannequins to ensure proper CPR standards, such as compression rate and compression depth, were met.

ENSC36 Power Cycle Efficiency


Team: Bryce Anderson, Nathaniel Leone, James McManus, Julien Hajjar
Faculty Advisor: Christopher Nicol email
Sponsor: Gonzaga University
Sponsor Liaison: Patrick Dempsey

The goal of our project is to analyze and optimize the efficiency of an Avista power plant by harnessing its waste heat energy and converting it to usable power. During the project we analyzed three different heat recovery systems at multiple Avista power generation sites. From the three heat recovery systems: Liquid Air Energy Storage (LAES), Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC), and Stirling Engine; our team chose the most effective system (LAES) and location (Boulder Park). This was justified by simulating heat flow models using Thermoflow and putting the data into a comparison matrix. Furthermore, we constructed a proposal plan to present to Avista on the viability of the chosen system. This proposal plan includes a cost estimate, construction design, and in depth research on the performance of the Liquid Air System combine with the Boulder Park site.

ENSC37 Agricultural Irrigation System


Team: Mark Driver, Garrett Uhling, Boyd Knopp, Hailey Hunt
Faculty Advisor: Debra Offill email
Sponsor: Gonzaga University
Sponsor Liaison: Greg Wieck

We built a prototype that provides a proof of concept for Greg Wieck’s idea of a continuous-feed linear agricultural irrigation system. The proof of concept is a sleeve component sliding over a pipe full of water that continuously extracts water from the pipe and distributes it to sprinklers. We made a scale model that demonstrates and tests this concept. This included making a set of engineering drawings for each subassembly (the mainline, sleeve, water baths, and chain and sprocket system). This prototype can then be used to market the idea and eventually implement it on farms across the country.

ENSC38 Electromagnetic Diesel Engine


Team: Ivan Cliff, Eli Dawson, Makenzie Ware, Devan Sauerbrey, Luis DeArtola
Faculty Advisor: Debra Offill email
Sponsor: Gonzaga University
Sponsor Liaison: Jim Weston

The Electromagnetic Diesel Engine represents the next generation of the internal combustion engine. Our group is exploring the benefits and costs of this type of system using a mock engine which is used for demonstration purposes. The benefits of this engine system is reduced emissions, more power, improved efficiency, and longer engine life. The core of the system is a redesign of a modern engine cylinder head and replacing it with a cylinder head that opens and closes its valves using electromagnetic solenoids rather than a traditional camshaft. The group contains five mechanical engineers who build off their mechanical knowledge by adding in electrical engineering and programing components.

ENSC39 Flaring Crack Protection


Team: Erin Weinbender, Sarah Abercrombie, Kylie Muntean, Paul Joseph Bickel
Faculty Advisor: Anthony Schoen email
Sponsor: Gonzaga University
Sponsor Liaison: Anthony Schoen

The goal of our project is to create a piece of protective gear for outdoor rock climbers. A flaring crack is a rock formation which is wider at the surface and narrows deeper into the rock. Climbers will place the device inside flaring cracks to help protect them if they were to fall while climbing. The scope of the project includes the detailed analysis and production of multiple prototyped models that satisfy the safety standards for protective climbing gear. We have tackled this problem through magnetorheological fluid research, geometric solutions, and machine design theory. Rock climbers often encounter flaring crack formations. Protective gear has not been designed for flaring cracks, which forces climbers to seek other gear placements or climb longer distances without adequate protection. This device will create a safer climbing environment and allow climbers to have more versatile options when selecting a rock face to climb.

ENSC40 Fish Fighting Simulator


Team: Bradley Price, Jake Sahli, Kyle Van Wyck, Spencer Hill
Faculty Advisor: Debra Offill email
Sponsor: Sage Fly Fishing
Sponsor Liaison: Kurt Van Wyck

Sage asked us to design, build, and test a prototype fish fighting simulator that would allow their R&D engineers to properly test the whole fly fishing setup: rod, reel, and line. Our goal for this project was to create a mechanically functioning prototype and program in several different “fish scenarios” that can be selected by the user. We accomplished our goal by using a motor and clutch combination to rotate a shaft that powers a spool. This spool pulls the line from the user into the machine, simulating the feeling of a fish swimming away from the user once hooked. Built into the programming are small variations in the swimming pattern, as well as different levels of force and drag that are applied by the machine. These patterns simulate different sized fish and levels of fighting.

ENSC41 Heat Transfer from Finned Surfaces


Team: Rutger Thiele, Joe Aiello, Brian Okazaki
Faculty Advisor: Jim Weston email
Sponsor: SEAS Mechanical Engineering Lab & Gonzaga University
Sponsor Liaison: Talian Chen

The team was tasked with the job of developing a laboratory experiment that demonstrated the difference in heat transfer for various configurations of fin design (e.g., material, length, shape, spacing, surface finish, surface color) in both free and forced convection (including both shrouded and unshrouded configurations), enabling students of MENG 411/412 to determine the optimal configuration to maximize heat transfer. This year the team has completed research, created a working apparatus, and written a lab for students to perform, to get a better understanding of how different fin configurations can affect heat transfer. The experience the students will gain in this lab will be applicable to different kinds of heat transfer designs, such as a cooling system for a combustion engine.

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502 E. Boone
Spokane, WA 99258
Toni Boggan (509) 313-3913
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