ENMA 490: Materials Design—Capstone Design Course
ENMA 490: Materials Design, is the senior Capstone Design course for materials science and engineering. In it, teams of students utilize what they have learned throughout their undergraduate studies to create their own engineering designs from concept to product. The Capstone Design experience is one of the most important parts of the Clark School's engineering program—each department offers their own version of the course.
Design is a key theme in materials science and engineering, delivering solutions from the understanding achieved by analysis. Design also opens the door to creativity and invention. New materials are revolutionizing many areas of advanced technology. This is a design project course in which the students will work as a team. They will survey some of the exciting areas of new materials and microsystems, and they will identify opportunities where the inclusion of new materials can markedly advance microsystem design.
The goal is to develop a design including materials choice and process sequence, based upon societal, technological or industrial need. The work should be original and based upon the skills of the team.
The class will choose an appropriate project based upon solicitations, broad area announcements, and/or the recent technical literature. Students are expected to exploit their knowledge and experience from prior courses in materials and related domains. They will search for background knowledge and prior work, develop requirements for a solution to the problem, identify and analyze candidate designs, use modeling and possibly experimental approaches to evaluate key issues, and generate a final presentation and final report for the project. The class will organize itself into subgroups as appropriate through the semester, and each student will regularly report to their subgroup and the class in written and oral form, using Blackboard and class and subgroup meeting times for communications. The class will keep records of its task organization, progress, and individual and group assignments, so that the development process for the project can be monitored continuously and evaluated at the end of the semester. Finally, students will complete an evaluation at the end of the course, a self-assessment, a peer assessment, and an assessment of the instructor and the course.
Syllabus and Evaluation
Sample Project Results from Prior Semesters
The class investigated possible strategies for materials, processes, and device designs which would enable multilevel microfluidics transport and control in bioMEMS systems. Students carried out experimental work to construct and test a prototype PDMS-based microfluidic system involving two layers of horizontal/lateral microfluidic channels connected by vertical interconnects, and they also designed and built a second test structure using SU-8, PDMS, and valves controlled by gas-filled control lines. The project included emphasis on materials properties, associated processes, process flow and integration, test site design, experimental fabrication and test, and modeling. Since the project depended on the application of materials to devices and structures, students became familiar with the MEMS world as well as with the real experience of working in a team and managing their resources toward a goal with a deadline.