Design and construction of a boat powered by solar energy with the aid of computational tools Academic Article in Scopus uri icon

abstract

  • The senior design project in engineering curricula is undoubtedly one of the prime opportunities for future engineers to synthesize knowledge acquired during their college education. We adopt the perspective that product development is an engineering and social activity aimed to satisfy human needs eliminating the negative environmental impact. This definition is delivered in our students through design experiences aimed under a project-oriented design course. This article seeks to give an overview of this project and to summarize the experience of the past two years that has led to improvement in the designing experiences in the capstone project. The project actively uses CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics), CAM(Computer Aided Manufacturing),FEM(Finite Element Method) andCAD(Computer Aided Design) software as tools for enhancing the innovative capacity of senior year engineering students. Seniors working collaboratively were asked to design a solar-powered boat while taking hydrodynamic, energy and economic factors into consideration. We showhow computational tools accelerate decision making processes in design while suggesting promising directions for the students to follow. All this is done while adhering to the fundamental principles in engineering that will lead to a feasible solution. Student creativity was channeled appropriately through CFD, FEM, CAM and CAD tools and new ideas were rigorously and rapidly tested at an early stage in the project allowing for a wide exploration of ideas and concepts. An important result of this capstone activity is the realization by the students of the importance of specialized engineering software in achieving a successful design. The objective of this paper is to present and discuss results obtained while observing students work with computer tools as a way to enhance their creativity in the context of developing their senior design project. © 2013 TEMPUS Publications.

publication date

  • March 27, 2013
  • March 27, 2013