2011 Projects


Project Number: CEE 11.1
Project Title: Gateway of Hope Orphanage
Sponsor:  Seattle University and Engineers without Borders-Puget Sound Chapter
Sponsor Liaisons: Girma Haile-Leul, Eset Alemu, Mahi Demissie
Faculty Advisor: Prof. Jhon Paul Smith
Students: Bea Elise Casem, Farzin Komizi, Sidney Nakao, Scott Stainer


Seattle University and the Engineers Without Borders-Puget Sound Chapter partnered with property owner, Frehiwot Bruce, and the project team to design an orphanage near the capital city of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The project team prepared preliminary architectural layouts, 30% design plans, structural member sizing, and corresponding structural calculations for a dormitory and a community center hall. The structural design of the buildings followed standard construction practices and used materials available in Ethiopia, including steel trusses on reinforced concrete frames and masonry block as infill for non-bearing walls. In addition, the design team created a cost analysis for each structure based on the cost of the building materials and labor expenses. 



Project Number: CEE 11.2
Project Title: Cedar Falls Dam Safety Feature Retrofit
Sponsor: Seattle City Light
Sponsor Liaisons: Robert Cochran, Bernie O’Donnell, Wanda Schulze
Faculty Advisor: Prof. Katherine Kuder
Students: Wilmurf de Vera, Jamie Mellies, Royce Miyahara, Dan Pickering


Completed in 1914, Cedar Falls Dam provides electricity and drinking water for the Seattle area, and is recognized as a historic site by the National Register of Historic Places. Seattle City Light (SCL) requested the team to retrofit the safety features on the dam, which do not comply with current building codes (American Society of Civil Engineers/ Structural Engineering Institute 7-10 and the 2009 International Building Code). The team analyzed the existing handrail, vehicle barrier, and concrete parapet (short wall) using as-builts, site visit observations, and load testing. Load testing included: (1) determining the compressive strength of the wall from concrete cores, (2) evaluating the load-deflection response of the existing parapet wall, and (3) measuring the pullout capacity of embedded anchorage bolts. Considering environmental issues and the historical aesthetics of the dam, the team developed designs to satisfy the relevant building codes for geometric and loading requirements. The final project deliverable is a design basis memorandum for the safety features and includes a cost estimate.   



Project Number: CEE 11.3  

Project Title: Poder Joven Foundation Community Center 

Sponsor: Tetra Tech, Inc. 

Sponsor Liaisons: Chad McDonald, Hamid Naderi 

Faculty Advisor: Prof. Jhon Paul Smith 

Students: Elizabeth Lenker, Khashayar Mirani, Amy Reinke, Gyan Sinha 


Poder Joven Foundation (PJF) plans to build a community center for underprivileged children in Medellín, Colombia. The building will provide space for educational programs for children, job retraining programs for adults, and community meetings. The team created a 30% design of a three story building with a reinforced concrete frame consisting of columns, beams, floor slabs, and footings. Member sizing and reinforcement detailing were also provided. The design and construction are proceeding simultaneously through spring 2011.  PJF is a nonprofit organization and works within a limited budget, so the construction is largely completed by unskilled laborers.  The design team created a simple design that can be constructed in phases as funds become available.  Thus, the cost analysis for the community center specified the cost to construct in phases. 



Project Number: CEE 11.4Project Title: Vactor Decant Solids Remediation and Re-useSponsor: Pierce County Public Works Road OperationsSponsor Liaisons: Jeff RudolphFaculty Advisor: Prof. Mike MarsolekStudents: Liz Kendall, Michele Myers, Zack Pittman, Brynn Watanabe 


Pierce County Public Works Road Operations (PCPWRO) is investigating the viability of bioremediation as a treatment option for contaminated street waste.  Street waste is generated from the cleaning of storm drainage facilities and roadways.  It is collected by vactor trucks or street sweepers and then tested for contaminants such as carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (cPAHs), hydrocarbons, and metals.  In recent years, concentrations of cPAHs have been increasing in street waste.  Waste materials can be reused if the cumulative cPAH concentration is below 1 part per million, otherwise it must be disposed of at a landfill.  PCPWRO would prefer to re-use all of its street maintenance solids to increase overall process sustainability and to reduce costs. PCPWRO requested the design team to identify, test, and model multiple options to remediate their contaminated vactor solid waste. The team created an experimental design; field tested the efficacy of each option, and developed models describing the concentration rate of change over time for each option. From these results a treatment process was developed and a cost/benefit analysis was performed. 



Project Number: CEE 11.5
Project Title: Snohomish County Planter Strip Design
Sponsor: Snohomish County Public Works
Sponsor Liaisons: Max Phan, Brook Chesterfield
Faculty Advisor: Prof. Kari Watkins
Students: John Conway, Jennifer Kuzaro, Katie Rawson, and Catherine Wilcox


Snohomish County Public Works (SCPW) is interested in developing new design, retrofit, and maintenance options for planter strips and medians along roadways with the goal of decreasing current maintenance costs while still providing an aesthetically pleasing appearance to the general public. As a first step, SCPW asked the design team to account for the unmaintained planter strips by creating a comprehensive inventory of all county planter strip areas, and a GIS layer to demonstrate which roadways contained planter strip areas. Current maintenance practices of Snohomish County were analyzed, comparing their designs and maintenance practices to other agencies in the Pacific Northwest, as well as other areas across the country. Best management practices were recommended to reduce maintenance requirements and costs. The final product includes several new designs and retrofitting strategies providing the benefits of infiltrating and treating storm water runoff, as well as a cost-benefit analysis for new construction design alternatives.  The project reflects SCPW’s request to implement Low-Impact Development principles while designing planter strips that are aesthetically appealing and low in cost. 


Project Number:  CEE 11.6
Project Title:  Green Stormwater Infrastructure Master Plan
Sponsors:  Seattle University and King County
Sponsor Liaison:  Robin Kirschbaum, PE, LEED
Faculty Advisor:  Prof. Wes Lauer
Students:  James Appleyard, David Julian, Darton Riely-Gibbons, James Smith


Much of Seattle is drained by an aging combined sewer system.  During periods of intense rainfall, the system frequently exceeds capacity, triggering the release of untreated sewage in events called combined sewer overflows (CSOs).  King County is currently updating its long-term CSO Control Plan to incorporate green stormwater infrastructure (GSI), such as rain gardens, bioretention swales, green roofs, and pervious pavement.  The goal is to address stormwater runoff near the source, thereby reducing or potentially eliminating the need for downstream CSO control infrastructure in some basins.  Seattle University is located within King County’s Hanford/Lander basin, which is one of the basins prioritized for GSI.  The County requested that the design team, with the aid of local engineering firm HDR, create a GSI Master Plan for the University.  The design team developed a comprehensive inventory of existing stormwater infrastructure, identified opportunities and constraints for on-site stormwater management, developed a list of prioritized GSI projects, and used the EPA’s Stormwater Management Model (SWMM) to evaluate the expected cost-effectiveness of high-priority projects.  The plan incorporates preliminary designs for the top two high-priority projects. 



Project Number: CEE 11.7 

Project Title: The Safe Water Project 

Sponsor: Seattle University and Rotary International 

Sponsor Liaison: Prof. Phillip Thompson 

Faculty Advisor: Prof. Dave Jacobs 

Students: Amanda Connell, Chris Kemly, Katie Nolan, Omar Ongoco 


Water is a basic necessity for survival, yet over 1.1 billion people in the world lack access to clean drinking water. In an effort to address this issue, Rotary International designed a small-scale community drinking water treatment system for medical clinics in the developing world and for areas affected by natural disasters. The design team analyzed the water quality produced by the current system and evaluated other means of disinfection that could be implemented. Laboratory testing was performed to analyze the effectiveness for removing bacteria, viruses, and turbidity. A triple-bottom-line analysis was then performed to analyze long-term operation and maintenance (O&M) costs, short-term capital costs, size constraints, removal efficiencies, and ease of use. Two different system configurations were recommended based on the evaluations. A system utilizing an ultrafiltration device was suggested for long-term use at medical clinics and another system was suggested for disaster relief applications.  The team was also tasked with testing a method of disinfecting containers used for transporting the treated water and devised a chlorine generation dosage plan to provide adequate residual. Other deliverables included O&M manuals and a final report.  



Project Number: ME 11.1 

Project Title: Boundary Dam Trash Rake 

Sponsor: Seattle City Light 

Sponsor Liaison: Kevin Marshall 

Faculty Advisor: Prof. Robert Cornwell 

Students: Brad Buczkowski, Sean Froese, Nick Spada, and Patrick Yumang 


Boundary Dam, which is owned and operated by Seattle City Light (SCL), is located on the Pend Oreille River in Northeastern Washington.  The focus of this project was the operation of the dam’s trash rack system, which keeps debris out of the turbines.  As a result of a buildup from logs and twigs on the trash rack, the water velocity through the system has increased. The restricted flow, due to the debris buildup, has resulted in decreased overall plant efficiency and could eventually lead to structural damage.  Team ME 11.1 conducted a three-step study to address SCL’s concerns with respect to the trash rack.  First, a structural and economic analysis of the current situation was conducted.  Second, criteria were developed from which several possible methods of cleaning the trash rack were identified.  Finally, a system for cleaning the trash rack, which can be implemented without modifications to the existing structure, was recommended to SCL. 


Project Number: ME 11.2 

Project Title: Digitization of an In-Cab Control System 

Sponsor: FSI Fabrication 

Sponsor Liaison: Silas Curfman 

Faculty Advisor: Prof. Greg Mason, Prof. Christopher Stipe 

Students: Zack Luker, Lance Miller, Ryan Shepard, Matthew Taylor  


FSI Fabrication specializes in converting farmer-provided semi-trucks into material-spreading vehicles.  These materials include feed, mulch, fertilizer, sand, and snow.  The current hydraulically-controlled systems require long installation times, provide little adaptability to new systems, and are limited to manual monitoring and control.  FSI recognized that by giving their current system a technological upgrade they could gain a competitive advantage in the agricultural market.  The team’s goal was to replace all hydraulic components with electronic ones and use an electronic controller and digital user interface to read, interpret and react to live data from the vehicle. The system will provide greater interchangeability in installation, the ability to record data, increased operator safety, and greater reliability in spreading.  FSI plans to implement this system in their current models and build upon the system to provide a better product in the marketplace. 



Project Number: ME 11.3 

Project Title: Rapid Microalgae Concentration and Settling In Low-Energy Use Batch and Continuous 

Sponsor: SRS Energy, Dexter, MI  

Sponsor Liaison: Puneet Chandra  

Faculty Advisor: Prof. Teodora Shuman  

Students: Makenna Coe Smith, Mirela Isic, Narud Wongsirikul, Sean Woodward  


Algae have the potential to replace crude oil as the source of biofuels and numerous chemicals, as well as to provide animal food.  Several scientific and technical breakthroughs are needed for algae to become commercialized, one of which is to reduce length of time and energy input for settling of algae from the liquid it is grown in.  SRS Energy asked the team to collect data on energy levels required to settle algae rapidly using a novel electrochemical method, and to design and test a continuous flow device that uses that method.  The team conducted extensive testing and demonstrated that this method reduced algae settling from weeks to minutes, while using less than a tenth of the energy needed for centrifugation. The process also verified that the new method is commercially viable.   


Project Number               :  ME 11.4 

Project Title:  Camp Muir Human Waste Management 

Sponsor:  Mount Rainier National Park Service 

Sponsor Liaison:  Richard Lechleitner 

Faculty Advisor:  Prof. Mike Larson 

Students:  Roald Dietzman, Sarah Kahr, Yi-Chun Lien, Kim Nguyen 

The National Park Service manages facilities at Mount Rainier National Park and is responsible for providing safe access for visitors. Camp Muir is a high-altitude facility on Mount Rainier that is used by day hikers and climbers summiting the mountain. Due to very low temperatures and its remote location, the camp has no plumbing. This requires intensive maintenance of human waste facilities, as well as excessive amounts of propane to melt snow for drinking water. The team researched and analyzed alternatives to current toilet systems using thermal energy audit software and finite element analysis. The camp currently uses solar dehydrating and pit toilets, which the team found to be more effective than alternatives. However, the amount of propane used to produce drinking water can be effectively reduced with a solar powered snow melting system. 


Project Number:  ME 11.5 

Project Title:  Thermal Shutter System 

Sponsor:  Kenworth Truck Company 

Sponsor Liaison:  Alec Wong 

Faculty Advisor:  Prof. William Baratuci 

Students:  Carlo Itchon, Adam Kollgaard, Sari Mira and Kevin Manalo 


Kenworth Truck Company designs and manufactures medium and heavy duty trucks. They are industry leaders in fuel efficiency and aerodynamics. Kenworth tasked the team to develop a grille shutter system to reduce aerodynamic drag and improve fuel efficiency on the T660 truck. The team developed an active rolling grille shutter system that responds to changing cooling requirements. This design maintained the original cooling capacity of the truck while reducing drag, improving fuel efficiency, and maintaining the aesthetic appearance. 



Project Number:  ECE 11.1 

Project Title:  Sound Attenuating Aircraft Lining Panels 

Sponsor:  Boeing Commercial Aircraft Co. 

Sponsor Liaison:  Adam Weston, Mark Cloud 

Faculty Advisor:  Prof.  Al Moser 

Students:  Jonathan Lauwardi, Ha Tran, Gary Wiryawan 



The project team’s objective was to improve the transmission loss performance of aircraft lining panels by exploiting Helmholtz resonance principles. The team placed Helmholtz resonators in the gap inside cabin walls to reduce airborne noise in an aircraft.  Increased transmission loss was simulated using an insulated wooden test box as the aircraft cabin with actual portions of aircraft panel in the lid.  Sound reduction devices can be suspended from the panel.  The team then used multiple Helmholtz designs to determine which were most effective. Sound equipment, such as microphones and guitar amplifiers, were used to generate sound and acquire digitized sound-data from inside the test box to computer storage. This allowed the team to analyze the transmission loss using data comparisons. This particular experiment tested sound in a wide frequency range from 400Hz to 2000Hz but it also focused on the lower frequency sound range of 400Hz-500Hz. The weight of the Helmholtz resonators was a major concern and had to be considered in the project’s design.


Project Number: ECE 11.2 

Project Title: Electromagnetic Modeling of Open Source Generator Designs 

Sponsor: IEEE PES Community Solutions Initiative 

Sponsor Liaison: Steve Szablya  

Faculty Advisor: Prof.  Henry Louie 

Students: Yousef Algannas, Steven Cruz, Vinh Ho, Wayne Urubio 


Today over 1.7 billion people are without ready access to electrical power. The majority of these people live in rural, impoverished communities, which means they must often travel great distances to charge batteries that power their radios, cellular phones and other important devices. The project—sponsored by the IEEE PES Community Solutions Initiative—helps to alleviate this problem through designing an open source model for electricity generation. The generator can be constructed and used in the local community to provide small amounts of electricity.  An electromagnetic field modeling program was used to design, test and simulate efficient axial flux generators. The generator design is independent of the prime mover; that is, any form of mechanical energy can be used to turn the generator. The goal is to make the generator design open source, so that it will be freely available to anyone, and thus enable micro-enterprises within the rural communities.  



Project Number:  ECE 11.3
Project Title:  Electrical System Diagnostic Data Logger
Sponsor:  PACCAR Inc
Sponsor Liaisons:  Jim Collins, Mark Fredrickson, Chris Harry
Faculty Advisor:  Prof. Paul Neudorfer
Students:  Ronald Carrion, Jun Eric Delossantos, Eric French

PACCAR is a leader in the design and manufacture of heavy duty trucks. When PACCAR’s trucks experience intermittent faults in their electrical systems, it can be costly in terms of both time and money to identify and fix a problem. The company requested the team to design and prototype a portable device that will detect intermittent electrical faults in a truck and send the data wirelessly to PACCAR’s engineers for diagnosis. The team designed and built a diagnostic data logger prototype using the GHI FEZ Cobra development board. This device collects data from three sources: analog signals from sensors placed at chosen locations on the truck; GPS data from the onboard GPS module; and digital data from the J1939 truck data bus. Upon operator input, the data are packaged and transmitted to PACCAR using the onboard cellular modem.



Project Number:  ECE 11.4

Project Title:  Angst Warriors

Sponsor:  Pam Hom of the Other Roadside Attraction

Sponsor Liaison:  Dean Hoaglan

Faculty Advisor:  Prof. Agnieszka Miguel

Students:  Ian Absher, Brian Fox, Che Yi Kung, Jake Weaver


Pam Hom is a metal sculpture artist from Mount Vernon, Washington. Pam's art focuses on the courage and fear that exist in the daily lives of people and the struggles they endure. Angst Warriors, Pam's current project, is a series of nine-foot tall metal statues that represent people walking through a busy city street. Pam asked the team to design and prototype an art installation in which the sculptures move to express and reflect the social angst manifested in our interactions with each other. This is the third year of the project; in previous years, two prior teams developed wirelessly communicating robotic bases and a basic implementation of navigation. Team ECE 11.4 combined the efforts from the past two years into a fully-functional system with three intelligently moving robots. The navigational system, which was the team’s main focus, is based on RFID sensors embedded in the floor and mapped into position information. Each robot base, equipped with an RFID sensor, transmits its RFID identification tag to a central computer. The computer converts the tag into coordinates and communicates with the robot to adjust its position.  The movements of the sculptures simulate how people move when constrained by anxiety. The robots move in a slow, seemingly random fashion. They approach each other but deflect in time to prevent collision, exhibiting an inherent bravery as they continue to plunge around in spite of the disconnect.


Project Number: CSSE 11.1

Project Title: Imagine Cup App

Sponsor: Microsoft

Sponsor Liaisons: Kent Foster, Hilary Pike

Faculty Advisor:  Prof. Adair Dingle

Students: Peter Daughtry, Alvaro Martin, Jesse Sharp


Imagine Cup is a global student technology competition hosted by Microsoft. Students compete in several categories and submit videos of their projects. The job of Seattle University's Imagine Cup senior project was to create a mobile experience for the Software Design and Game Design categories. The team’s solution allows users to vote on their favorite submissions, read more information about projects, watch videos, and share projects in different social networks. The team designed and implemented a mobile website, providing consistent functionality across all mainstream mobile browsers. Additionally, an iPhone app, a Windows Phone 7 app, and an Android app were designed and implemented for the project


Project Number: CSSE 11.2

Project Title: Philips Medical Imagery Manager (PMI Manager)

Sponsor: Philips Healthcare Ultrasound Research Division

Sponsor Liaisons: Steve Metz, Thomas Gauthier

Faculty Advisor: Prof.  Yingwu Zhu

Students: Guillaume Barroux, Lindsay Stetson, Kyle Zielinski


Though ultrasound technology continues to advance, the technology for sharing and distributing ultrasound images lags behind.  Philips Healthcare seeks to connect users efficiently and simply with the digital images ultrasound machines provide.  Philips will shift away from providing images to interested parties on a physical disk, and instead leverage the increasing popularity of smartphones and utilize them as storage and sharing devices for ultrasound images. Philips Healthcare understands that expedient and convenient delivery of ultrasound images is essential for driving business. The Seattle University project team has designed and implemented a mobile software solution for the Apple iOS line of products (iPhone, iPad) that facilitates placing digital ultrasound images on the client’s mobile device and sharing these images using standard social networking sites. The software engineering project fulfills Philips’ goal of gaining momentum in the area of electronic sharing of medical images, while keeping performance and usability at the forefront of its design. 


Project Number:  CSSE 11.3 

Project Title:  Phasor Measurement Unit Simulator 

Sponsor: Alstom Grid 

Sponsor Liaisons:  Barbarra Motteler, Manu Parashar 

Faculty Advisor:  Prof. Annie Dai 

Students:  Nassim Amar Artavazard, Ginosian, Edgar Herbo, Dalis Sreng  



Alstom Grid provides software to energy companies worldwide to help them manage their data grids.  Data grids contain several high-precision voltage monitoring devices, called Phasor Measurement Units (PMUs), which send data back to monitoring software provided by Alstom Grid. One Alstom Grid product, Phasor Data Concentrator Servers, receives measurements from PMUs, displays the current state of the grid, and allows energy companies to make informed, real-time decisions about managing their power grid.  It is difficult for Alstom Grid to develop software such as the Phasor Data Concentrator without a stream of PMU data.  However, it is impractical and expensive to use real PMUs, so this project developed a simulator to stream data exactly like a real Phasor Measurement Unit. This tool speeds up testing and removes the need to use real devices, which in turn accelerates Alstom Grid’s software development.   



The Project Center

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