Senior Design Showcases spotlight projects with real-world impact

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The College of Engineering Senior Design Showcase is May 3 from 1-3:30 p.m. in Kiewit Hall.
The College of Engineering Senior Design Showcase is May 3 from 1-3:30 p.m. in Kiewit Hall.


The College of Engineering’s senior design capstone teams will display innovative projects that tackle real-world professional challenges during the 2024 Senior Design Showcase – Nebraska’s premier undergraduate engineering student design event – Friday, May 3 from 1-3:30 p.m. in the new Kiewit Hall, 1700 Vine Street.

The event showcases projects from more than 30 teams of graduating seniors from across the college. Their projects also replicate professional environments and, in some cases, are collaborations with industry clients to develop products and devices that could have immediate impact.

Team members will be on hand to demonstrate and discuss their projects. Guests are encouraged to vote for their favorite project at the People’s Choice Award Voting Station.

Three of the teams who will be presenting at the College of Engineering Senior Design Showcase include projects that range from distilling gases in air - such as oxygen, nitrogen and argon – into liquid forms, to redesigning a leg press machine to make it safer for multiple sclerosis patients, to creating an all-in-one “starter pack” of equipment for musicians to use in live environments.

Here’s a quick description of these three projects by the team members:


Chemical Engineering

Kate McKenzie: “We are aiming to maximize the production of oxygen in both the liquid and gas forms.”

Cassie Jackson: “We chose this project because we worked a lot with different distillation processes, but we wanted to see the cryogenic side of things as well because we haven't been introduced to that.”

Jack Doherty: “The way the whole process works is … we take in air from the atmosphere, and we are able to cool it down. We filter all the water and all the carbon dioxide out, cool it down to a liquid phase and then we put it into a distillation column, which is where we're able to separate all of the components of the air into liquid forms of nitrogen, oxygen and small amounts of argon.

Zach Alderson: “It's a cryogenic system, which means it's very cold. Nitrogen liquefies at minus 180 (degrees) Celsius, which is very cold, and getting a system to work at those temperatures is difficult. Also, a cryogenic air separation system is very integrated. There's a lot of streams going a bunch of different directions, exchanging temperatures with each other and trying to get that system optimized in a way that works well requires a lot of trial and error.”


Mechanical Engineering

Tanner Brandl: “This project was a project with MSForward Gym in Omaha. This project really spoke to us because we got to work with real individuals … (who) had a problem that we could help solve and help them out a little bit in their life.

“This is the third iteration of a leg press for MSForward. … (We) basically, redesigned every part of this leg press to reduce the resistance and make it a bit more usable for patients.”

James Admiraal: “Some of the challenges have been making sure that the friction in the system is really low. We want this cylinder to have a really low resistance for people who don't have very much strength in their legs. Another challenge we faced was working with the controls and finding a way to drop the resistance in the cylinder very quickly, so that if someone's using the machine and they experience a spasm, the machine doesn't keep going, keep running, and hurt them.”


Electrical Engineering

Preston Sorenson: “When someone's taking that step from bedroom musician to someone that has to play in live environments – like basements, bars or even outdoor venues – the gear you would have as a beginner is not something that you would take on such stages. You need something bigger and more powerful, so as part of that, we've built out an amplifier head and a speaker cabinet, as well as this combination of digital and analog effects unit to run your signal through to give you more options on stage.

“I am an active, gigging musician here in Lincoln, so this was really a passion project for me. As an electrical engineer, I like to design some of the circuits I would use on stage, like on the floor. I hadn't done any amps before, but I decided it's about time. It's a natural course of things, so I thought it'd be fun to do all of this as a project and everyone in my group just ran with it. … I know where I would take it and where I wouldn't, but there's a gig later this summer that I would use it at.”

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On Thursday, May 9, the School of Computing Senior Design Showcase will showcase its seniors' capstone projects from 1-4:30 p.m. in the Nebraska Union Ballroom (second level), 1500 R Street. Students will be available to discuss their projects and will also be in breakout rooms to give prepared presentations.

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