College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Real-world experience from Capstone Design

At the College of Engineering, offering students real-world experience is a top priority. In addition to encouraging the over 80 percent of students who complete an internship or co-op, the college requires students to take Capstone Design, providing excellent hands-on opportunities that prepare them to work in industry.

Capstone Design was created to bring together all the skills and knowledge students have learned during their undergraduate studies and apply them to one final design project. Each department within the college has at least one capstone course, some are only a semester long while others delve deeper into engineering projects through a yearlong course.

Each program is designed to provide students with new and exciting real-world engineering projects. Many of the instructors will often chose a company for their students to work on projects that are intended to be implemented after students present their solutions. This year, the list of industry sponsors has included national organizations such as Googleand the United States Navy, as well as many local sponsors like Hagie Manufacturing Company.

From creating a website that introduces a new breed of social media to constructing plans for a build-site proposal, students have been going above and beyond expectations this year to independently create innovative designs from start to finish.

  • Designing a First Naval Division Headquarters Facility: CE 485/ConE 487 students were given a design-build request for proposal for the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Mid-Atlantic. The students had to design and construct a facility that would consolidate 151 personnel from several departments of the Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek in Norfolk, Virginia.
  • Creating a Website for Google: A group from CPR E 491/492 was selected by Google to create a new website that captures all the great functionalities of current social and academic sites available today. The team has named their site Central Campus, and it will serve as an academic social networking site that features functionality and information from WebCT, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Rate My Professors as well as the official Iowa State University website.
  • Redesigning Hagie’s rear boom: Students from A E 415/416,were asked to redesign Hagie Manufacturing Company’s rear boom, a device that connects to farm machinery and sprays chemicals on crops, to make it more integrated into the machinery. Hagie is known for their front booms, but needed to create a rear boom due to issues discovered in the field. The group has experimented with several design concepts that could allow them to keep the front design, but ultimately decided on redesigning the rear boom.
  • Recommending improvements for a small Iowan distillery: ChE 430 students took a field trip to the Broadbent distillery in Norwalk, Iowa, to research the business and its practices. The students were divided into teams and challenged with making recommendations on Broadbent’s process, safety aspects, current operations, and economic analysis based on engineering aspects.