2010 Engineering Projects

Boundary Dam Walkway

Team: CEE 10.1
Sponsor: Seattle City Light
Sponsor Liaison(s): Bernie O’Donnell, Dan O’Sullivan, Andy Strong
Faculty Advisor: Prof. Katherine Kuder
Students: Jess Nofziger, Brian Olmsted, Dylan Parker, Kasandra Wells, Ziba Zeyni

Boundary Dam is a hydroelectric facility located in Pend Oreille County, Washington. Seattle City Light has identified damaged concrete maintenance walkways in need of repair or replacement at each of the dam’s seven sluice gates. . These walkways traverse the downstream face of the dam and provide access for necessary sluice gate maintenance. CEE 10.1 presented Seattle City Light with two innovative designs: (1) retrofit existing slabs to increase load carrying capacity and (2) demolish and replace existing slabs with new slabs to increase the capacity and serviceability. Each design alternative took many site-specific challenges into consideration, including the complex geometry of the dam, limited site access, and the remote site location. The project deliverables include structural calculations, drawings, specifications, demolition and construction sequences, and detailed cost estimates.

Diablo Dam- Powerhouse Storage Building

Team: CEE 10.2
Sponsor: Seattle City Light
Sponsor Liaison(s) Robert Cochran
Faculty Advisor: Prof. Carla Keel
Students:  Alan Chun, Jennifer Davis, Mark Santos, Mike Shattuck

Seattle City Light asked the team to design a storage building in Diablo, Washington. The purpose of the building is to store critical spares, maintenance parts, and lift assemblies for generators in the Diablo Dam Powerhouse. The footprint of the building is 60 feet by 80 feet with a total height of 28 feet. The location of the building was selected within the powerhouse compound by the design team and recommended to Seattle City Light. The team designed the superstructure using steel as the primary material and concrete for the foundation. Using the 2006 International Building Code (IBC) and ASCE 7-05, the building was designed to withstand North Cascade snow, wind, and seismic loadings. In addition to the superstructure and foundation designs, the team submitted a final report to Seattle City Light, which contained AutoCAD drawings of the building layout, a cost estimate for the project, and calculations used to determine the loading conditions.

Arlington Decant Facility, System Design

Team: CEE 10.3
Sponsor: Snohomish County
Sponsor Liaison(s)Leo Kypuros
Faculty Advisor: Prof. Michael Marsolek
Students: Kavik Frol, Nicolas Johnson, Ryan Manning, Robert Poshusta

Snohomish County is interested in increasing the discharge capacity of its decant facility in Arlington, Washington. A decant facility is used to dewater liquids and solids collected from catch basins. Currently, the Arlington facility’s limited discharge volume requires excess catch basin waste to be taken twenty miles away to the Cathcart facility, which results in higher costs and lost work hours. Snohomish County asked team CEE 10.3 to design a retrofit for their Arlington facility to decrease their discharge water turbidity and thereby increase the discharge volume allowed from the facility. The team prepared five preliminary designs to respond to this request. Two preferred alternatives, a settling trench and bioswale, were selected based on cost, practicality, maintenance, and construction impact.  The final design increases the facility’s discharge capacity, decreases lost work hours, and results in significant cost savings for Snohomish County over the lifetime of the project.

Haiti Flood Control

Team: CEE 10.4
Sponsor: Herrera Environmental Consultants
Sponsor Liaison(s): Mark Merkelbach, Michael Spillane
Faculty Advisor: Prof. J. Wesley Lauer
Students: Adam Stricker, Jenny Graves, Vanessa Mitchell, Devin O’Neill

La Plaine des Moustiques is an agriculturally important floodplain in northern Haiti that has recently become increasingly susceptible to flood damage. In 2008, Herrera Environmental Consultants developed a comprehensive flood and drainage study of the region as part of a larger agricultural development project. One of the recommendations in the report included a diversion channel to move excess water in the main channel away from the farmed portions of the floodplain. Seattle University project team CEE 10.4 was selected to complete the design of this channel. The project involved four major tasks: updating an existing hydrologic model to determine a design discharge; finalizing the geometry, lining, and slope of the diversion channel; updating the hydraulic model of the floodplain with the new channel design; and performing a sediment transport analysis to address questions regarding long-term sustainability of the project.  The new diversion channel will help to alleviate some of the flooding in valley, and significantly reduce crop loss and farmland degradation.

Earth Saver: Autonomous Waste Sorter

Team: ME 10.1
Sponsor: American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) 
Faculty Advisor: Prof. Frank Shih
Students: Matt Lollini, Brian Kunimoto, Sam Simon, Mike Sullivan

ASME is a nonprofit society working to better the engineering community through collaboration, knowledge sharing, and the development of engineering solutions to worldwide problems. ASME hosts student design competitions every year. The 2010 student design competition challenges engineering students to design, build, and test a fully autonomous waste sorter. ASME rules state that the waste sorter must safely and accurately sort ferrous metals, nonferrous metals, plastics, and glass items with no human interference. The team designed a machine that uses a load cell, a static electric sensor, a magnetic sensor, and ultrasonic sensors to determine material types. The waste sorter quickly and accurately sorts the waste types into distinct bins, while staying within the ASME design constraints.

Parking Brake and Cell Phone Charger for World Bicycle Relief

Team: ME 10.2
Sponsor: World Bicycle Relief
Sponsor Liaison(s): Craig DeAmbrose
Faculty Advisor: Prof. Mike Larson
Students: Adam Bornemann, Charlie Bourain, Jessica Gunderson, Peter Medina, Mark Toma

World Bicycle Relief (WBR) is a non-profit organization that provides bicycles to medical workers and school children in Zambia and other developing countries.  WBR has identified a need to provide a parking brake and a cell phone charger as original equipment on their bicycles.WBR bicycles are single speed, and often loaded with supplies and equipment weighing up to 150 pounds. This makes pedaling the bike up moderate inclines difficult, so the bicycles are often pushed forcing the rider to pause during the climb. A parking brake would allow the rider to rest and recuperate during these pauses.  Land-based telephone and electrical power systems are either uncommon or unreliable in much of the WBR rider regions in Zambia. As a result, most communication is done via cellular phones, which require regular charging. A bicycle-based cell phone charging system would provide this charging source. The cell phone charger should have additional capacity to power a bicycle lighting system.  Team 10.2 designed and developed a simple and practical parking brake and cell phone charging system with additional capacity to power a bicycle light. Prototypes of both products were built and tested. Complete engineering specifications and drawings of both products were also created.

Electroporation of Microalgae

Team: ME 10.3
Sponsor:  Solution Recovery Services
Sponsor Liaison(s):  Puneet Chandra and Tom Czartoski
Faculty Advisor:  Dr. Teodora Shuman and Dr. Greg Mason
Students: Brian De Vitis, Justin Umagat, Dennis Chang, and Adrianne Beach

Solution Recovery Services (SRS) is a leader in industrial fluid purification and separation.  The company is investing in the development of custom separation technology for a variety of industries, one of which is alternative fuels.  SRS combined efforts with Seattle University to explore the effect of electroporation on microalgae.  Electroporation is the process of applying short electrical pulses to permeate cell membranes, allowing DNA and other substances to be introduced to the cell.  Currently, this method is successfully used in biotechnology and medicine. The team is specifically investigating whether electroporation is an effective pretreatment to the chemical process that SRS is using to separate the important components of Nannochloropsis oculata (microalgae).  If the method proves to decrease the amount of energy, time, and money required, then it will contribute to solving the large-scale challenge of making algae-based fuels a reality.  To investigate the effectiveness, the team conducted numerous tests on a batch electroporation device developed during the summer of 2009. Also, the team built and tested a continuous flow electroporation device.  The test results will be presented.

Mount Rainer National Park Building Energy Efficiency Retrofit

Team: ME 10.4
Sponsor: National Park Service
Sponsor Liaison(s): Mr. Jim Fuller, Mr. Keith Elder
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Teodora Shuman
Students: Matt Murphy, Gary Beach, Adam Lyons, Chai Thamkongka

Mount Rainer National Park asked the ME 10.4 team to perform energy audits of two park buildings, analyze alternatives, recommend insulation of the building envelopes, and design heating and ventilation systems for both buildings.  The goal is to achieve very high energy efficiency of close to 20 kWh/m2 per building per year.  The two single-story buildings were built circa 1930, and are in need of an energy retrofit. The buildings are located in Longmire, WA and used as park maintenance-related storage and work areas. Both buildings lack insulation in the walls, ceilings, and crawlspaces and have single pane windows. The current heating systems consist of a condensing propane forced air system in building L214 and propane unit heaters in building L203.  Both buildings also use electric heaters. The team recommended a retrofit plan, which includes insulation installation, replacement of windows and doors, architectural re-design, removal of the current electric heaters and propane unit heaters, and the installation of an efficient primary heating system. By achieving the goal, the carbon footprint of the two buildings and the energy cost will be significantly decreased.


Team: ME 10.5
Sponsor: Cray Inc.
Sponsor Liaison(s): Patrick Stevenson
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Christopher Stipe
Students: Jaymie Ayson, James Golder, Moussa Niang, Budi Susanto, Andrew Wu

Cray Inc. is a supercomputer manufacturing company. They have data centers all over the United States, each of which contains approximately 450 supercomputer cabinets. These supercomputers are used for high-powered computational analysis, like Hurricane Storm Surge Modeling, which is used by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to design more effective barriers for damage mitigation and protection against flooding. A single Cray supercomputer cabinet consumes approximately 48kW of power for data processing. After data processing, the power is released in the form of heat from the processors. Currently, Cray Inc. does not have any way of converting the waste heat into usable electricity. Cray Inc. asked the team to design and analyze possible methods to address this problem. The team pursued three possible solutions: a Rankine cycle, Thermal Electric Generators (TEG), and Photovoltaic Cells (PV). Each of the three solutions applies different concepts to convert the waste heat into usable electricity. The study will provide Cray with an analysis of the costs and efficiency of each of the three possible solutions, provided that the latest technology is available.

Commencement Tool

Team: ECE 10.1
Sponsor: Seattle University
Sponsor Liaison(s)Andrew Anderson
Team Members: Maxime Cazor, Ronny Hartanto, Ting Yen Lin, Gregory Ray
Faculty Advisor: Prof. Alvin Moser 

A user-friendly program was designed to improve the pronunciation of student’s names at the Seattle University commencement. In brief, students will be allowed to record their names prior to the graduation ceremony.  The recording will allow readers to practice before graduation, as well as receive aid during graduation.  The student’s unique username is encoded in barcode text and is carried to the podium, where a barcode scanner and software will play the recorded name into an earpiece. Software for recording the names and editing the resulting sound files, creating bar codes, and retrieving appropriate sound files for playback were written in C++ with Visual Studio© and in MatLab©.

Diablo Dam Storage Shed

Team: ECE 10.2
Sponsor: Seattle City Light
Sponsor Liaison(s)Sung Kim
Faculty Advisor: Prof. Paul Neudorfer
Students: Melanie Dolores, Evan Higuchi, Andrew Miron, Randy Silva

In conjunction with the CEE10.2 team’s structural design, a corresponding detailed electrical system package was designed for Seattle City Light’s Diablo Dam storage building. Utilizing the National Electrical Code (NEC) and SCL requirements, the complete electrical package was produced and includes the following: a list of chosen components, which consists of lighting, motors, outlets, and wiring; a schematic which illustrates the placement and layout of components; a spreadsheet, which contains power load calculations; and a one-line power distribution diagram.

Small Human-Powered Generator Design

Team: ECE 10.3
Sponsor: Seattle University
Sponsor Liaison(s)Steve Szablya
Faculty Advisor: Prof. Henry Louie
Students: Che Kent Chan, Eric Hoffstetter, Natalie Pear, Kevin Peng

Access to reliable electricity remains unavailable to approximately one third of the world’s population, with a disproportionate concentration of people who live in developing or rural communities. Amongst this backdrop of inaccessibility to electricity is a seemingly incongruent proliferation of portable electronic devices, such as cellular phones and radios. To power these devices, the owners must pay a merchant who owns a generator or walk to the nearest town to charge or exchange discharged batteries for charged batteries. Last year, a senior design team designed a portable hand-cranked generator to alleviate this burden, which can be constructed with resources and labor available in rural areas. This year, the project continued with a focus on simplifying the design, improving the power output of the generator, and providing instructions on how to build the generator.

Angst Warriors Navigation System

Team: ECE 10.4
Sponsor: The Other Roadside Attraction
Sponsor Liaison(s)Dan Brown, Pam Hom
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Agnieszka Miguel
Students: Alec Adams, Kevin Grady, Hao Nguyen, Michael Kimura

The challenge that the team faced was to devise a navigational system with high degrees of accuracy and precision for tracking the movement of up to twenty-one robots simultaneously while they move about in a display area with a maximum floor space of 15x30m2, which is called a venue.  Two possible solutions were evaluated.  The first, an optical tracking method, used cameras from above to determine the robots’ locations.  The second, an array of RFID floor panels, translated RFID tag identification numbers, gathered by readers placed on the robots, into a set of physical coordinates. The deliverables are a close evaluation of each method and recommendations.

Transformer Differential Protection

Team: ECE 10.5Sponsor: Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories
Sponsor Liaison(s)Kinchieu Wei
Faculty Advisor: Prof. Xu-Sheng Chen
Students: Lawrence Ancheta, Arman Birang, Thu-Thao Nguyen, Igor Parkman

The power transformer is one of the cornerstones of the power distribution systems that millions of people and organizations depend on. Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories is one of the industry leaders when it comes to protection equipment that insures the integrity of these power systems, which includes the transformers. When designing power transformer protection, it is necessary to take into consideration the wide variety of faults that can occur. An algorithm will be implemented using computerized methods and digital signal processing techniques, specifically, controlling the behavior of protection relays under inrush currents and internal faults. A comparison to the protection scheme used in the sponsor’s SEL-487E protection relay will be made under these same conditions.

Alternative Energy Generation

Team: ECE 10.6
Sponsor: Kenworth Truck Company
Sponsor Liaison(s)Frank Churchill, Sean Smith
Students: Eric Hee, Junya Motoike, Christopher Rabotin, Don Sable, Siyu Zhang
Faculty Advisor: Prof. Henry Louie

The Kenworth Truck Company wishes to make a positive impact on the environment by powering their recently constructed 8000 square foot PACCAR Technology Center (PTC) with a renewable energy source. The goal of this project is to design a renewable energy system that is capable of supplying the approximately 38,000 kWh of energy consumed by the PTC each year. Both wind and solar power systems were investigated for feasibility and profitability. Through statistical analysis and simulation, it was determined that an approximately 40 kW photovoltaic (PV) array placed on the PTC rooftop is the design that maximizes the return on investment.

Neighborhood House

Team: CSSE 10.1
Sponsor: Neighborhood House
Sponsor Liaison(s): Melissa Buyukcetin, Tony Kuo, Chad Trakarnsilpa, Alex Wang
Faculty Advisor: Prof. Annie Dai
Students: Tommy Faizal, Michael Fujiuchi, Mary Scarborough, Riley Taylor

Neighborhood House, a local non-profit organization in Seattle, built a new community center with many state of the art environmentally friendly features. In an effort to educate the High Point community, the team developed educational software to be implemented on a touch screen kiosk located on the High Point campus. This software showcases many of the "green" technologies present in the community center. The project required the team to include multi-media, such as video and graphics, to make the program accessible to all ages. In addition, the program makes data previously collected by the building available.

Philips Automated Storage System (PASS)

Team: CSSE 10.2
Sponsor: Philips HealthCare
Sponsor Liaison(s): Stephen Metz, Thomas Gauthier
Faculty Advisor: Prof. Yingwu Zhu
Students: Kevin Chang, Fauzia Lala, Corey McMillin, Lauren Saiki

Philips aims to pioneer a paradigm shift away from hospital-owned patient records towards patient-owned records by sponsoring the development of a software solution that would enable a direct upload of a patient’s medical records from an Ultrasound machine to an online health records storage service provider, such as Microsoft Health Vault.  The Philips Team created a scalable software prototype that receives a DICOM file from an Ultrasound Machine, processes the study of single frame image(s), and uploads the study to the patient’s Microsoft Health Vault (MS HV) account.  This process will enhance records management for both the hospital and patient and provide reliable access to their complete health records, even when they change healthcare providers.

2010 Engineering Projects

The year-long senior design project through the SU Project Center strengthened the critical thinking skills I developed in classes to solve a real world problem. Constructing real-world deliverables helped to enhance my communications skills which are critical when pursuing a career in engineering.

- Chris Stoll, Civil and Environmental Engineering alumni, class of ‘08