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Ideas for final year project of mechanical engineering

  1. Aug 18, 2011 #1
    Title basically explains what I'm asking for. It is supposed to be a major design project with complete design, analysis and implementation. Our faculty consistently produces a whole bunch of the dullest projects every year. Suggest something with quite a bit of a wow-factor.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 18, 2011 #2
    'Wow factor' doesn't earn you engineering brownie points. Over complicating or being over ambitious with a project generally leads to either a half finish project or a full project that's half arsed.

    For this the object is to collect as many points as you can, to get a good degree. Engineers aren't wowed by fancy ideas or projects. They are wowed by consistent use of good practices, and depth of knowledge shown.

    The first questions to ask beck to you are?

    What are you interested in?
    What are you good at?
  4. Aug 18, 2011 #3
    @xxChrisxx: Thank you for the advice, but, I'm not looking for that. Just ideas please.
  5. Aug 18, 2011 #4
    What of designing a linear generator? That's what i'm currently working on with my group. We intend designing it for use in traffic actuated, power producing speed bumps.
  6. Aug 18, 2011 #5
    If this is for a dissertation/project/viva.

    Don't do a design heavy project, it's harder to pick up marks than if you do a development/research project. Also don't let the scope get too large, this the single biggest downfall of Uni projects. Trust me I know from experience.

    It's really pointless us just listing mad/crazy/fun ideas. You need to tailor your project to you.

    So tell us what you like and we can give you tons of starting ideas.

    EDIT: Also if you are making something, get testing prototype designs into the machine shop early.
  7. Aug 18, 2011 #6
    @henlus: Nice concept! I don't really have an opinion about it since I didn't know what a linear motor was until after your post but this definitely goes in the 'cool' or the wow-factor kind of ideas I'm looking for; lots of nice applications one can think of.

    @xxChrisxx: Hmm... Thanks for the very good advice again. I'm just starting junior year in a few days so I haven't really developed very strong likes and dislikes. However, I will say this much: I hate pure analysis projects like an FEM analysis of something or an energy management analysis of some industry. I don't like economically oriented projects though I do realize economics will have to be taken into account for any proper project. I like theory a lot and like the mathematical content of theory even more. I can't really say which subjects I like since I have studied only a few by now but I like those that I have done: statics, dynamics, mechanics of solids and thermodynamics.

    And I think you are misunderstanding what I'm asking for here. I'm not asking for crazy ideas. I don't know what kind of projects you see where you go, but, in our uni all that people do is make some optimized and nicely engineered heat exchangers or turbines or they do some complicated CFD or FEM analysis or (the worst) they do an energy audit of some industry. It never feels like "hey, it would have been fun to do that project", while all other departments make a lot of cool stuff including UAVs, wireless electricity transmitters, and last time they even made a thought controlled mouse pointer controller (I know the basic concept is pretty simple using EEG, but, still, we were in awe until we found out how they did it :D).
  8. Aug 18, 2011 #7
    I am electrical engineer, I did a robotic arm controlled through EMG signals with my friend in mechanical department.
    This is the video


    My friend designed different prototypes of the robotic arm using Catia software and did structural and finite element study also, but because of financial reasons we fabricate this robotic arm.

    In the other designs my friend used carbon fiber, with micro motors, and gears all built inside the robotic arm.
  9. Aug 18, 2011 #8
    Nice work man! Most projects in robotics are fun to do. We made a crappy autonomous robot already and I really like the idea of a robotics based final year project. I think we can all think of a lot of fun ELECTROmechanical stuff; not a lot of largely mechanical stuff though.

    Hydraulic ram has a nice working concept to it. I think I saw a project based on the water hammer effect last year in our uni. Are there any other, more up to date applications of this effect?
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2011
  10. Aug 18, 2011 #9
    the goal is to design something within reach to get an 'A' or a grade sufficient to get a degree.

    The WOW factor is doing the project in a way that no one else has done. This allows you to have something to fall back on if you run out of time or resources to still get a passing mark. Trust me, most engineering professors will be "WOW'ed' by incremental improvements on existing design that no other student has done. Even more so if that incremental design can lead to a paper or patent or is just unique.

    It's not very hard to write a paper for a journal article. If you can do the most mundane of projects and do it in a new way, your advisor (or whatever your school calls it) will appreciate the second or third author credit. That's a sure way of getting a good grade, wowing your professors, and pads the resume nicely.

    That being said, you're not looking for career advice. Shoot for something that requires interdisciplinary skills. Robotics, Space, Underwater, and Nuclear are always big eye-grabbing keywords in titles and are fun to learn/read about.
  11. Aug 21, 2011 #10
    I suggest you, to go to famous companies you are interested in their field and register your cv. They have a place in their websites for peoples like you and they suggest you some related projects for your thesis and pay you money. and If your job was good then they employ you. for example go to maersk, statoil,....

    Good luck
  12. Aug 21, 2011 #11
    I hit upon a wow idea and then analysed it was too much for us. It's always good to go towards what you like.

    I am also searching for ideas as faculty here also does offer pathetic projects which I do not want to think about having spent 3 years learning lots of things. For ME, one can ponder which of the following fields he is inclined to:

    Manufacturing Machinery
    Fluid Mechanics related projects (common and boring, our lovely pumps and turbines)
    Mechanics of Materials
    Software based projects

    And then see:

    * What can you do ?
    * What's the type of effort involved ? (Fabrication, Analysis, Modeling etc)
    * Most importantly, will you be able to finish it ?
  13. Aug 23, 2011 #12


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    Gold Member

    Here are a few ideas you may be able to expand on for your project:

    *Effective home recycling unit (aluminum, plastic, paper, tin, etc...) and pickup/ delivery method
    *heat recovery from waste water in rural homes (shower, sink, etc...)
    *Magneto-hydrodynamic propulsion for use in submarines. determining practicality and unique solutions to superconductivity issues. (keep in mind newly developed ultra-low temp superconductive materials)
    *upper atmospheric wind turbines for power generation
    *single out methods to harness the circular motion of molecules in ocean waves into electricity
    *Find a way to utilize resonant frequencies at the molecular level for use in manufacturing processes via ultra high frequency transducers or EMR.
    *devise a method for hydroelectric dams to harness the flow of water without harming salmon (this is huge issue in the Pacific North West!)
    ****Watch some TED.com videos for inspiration
    *Energy storage methods, perhaps involving elevated water or spinning masses
    *Devise an earth excavating machine that uses some form of suction to excavate caverns without the use of drill bits. But make it quiet!
    *Design and construct a prototype machine for use in dealing with radioactive waste. Including exploring subterranean tanks, cleaning pits, moving waste while minimizing contact and exposure.
    *Design and construct an in-wheel motor for use in an automobile or bicycle.
    *Pioneer unique methods of drilling using resonant frequencies instead of carbide bits.
    *Develop a vertical axis wind turbine for home use and slap some solar panels on it.
    *focus on methods for the disabled to become mobile. Utilize robotics and various control mechanisms.
    *Noise suppression systems for lawn mowers and automobiles.
    *Emission sequestration from cars and ambient atmospheric pollution.

    I hope this gets some brain activity started. Think outside of the box, but focus your project on something specific yet utilizes various disciplines.

    Last edited: Aug 23, 2011
  14. Aug 23, 2011 #13

    Simple in appearance and execution but still controversial and the explanation can touch on a lot of the fundamentals of physics. Some profs still don't accept how or even that it works.
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2011
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