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Project Examples

Continuation of Sophomore Plastics Engineering Course

Course: 26.418 – Plastics Product and Process Design
Semester: Spring 2006
Instructor: Fang “Francis” Lai
Partner: Village Empowerment Peru Project, Tsongas Industrial History Center, Individual Clients with Special Needs

Partnership and Project Descriptions: One team from this year’s senior Plastics Design course choose to follow up on the analysis work done by last year’s sophomore-level plastics engineering students at the request of the Village Empowerment Peru project. The Plastics Process Engineering Lab I class had evaluated polymeric materials for use as the housing of solar lanterns.

One team chose to redesign the broken plastic waterwheel from an exhibit at the Tsongas Industrial History Center. Technical specifications were provided by Rick Smith and Peter O’Connell. Peter also attended the students’ final presentation.

One team chose to design a bracket to hold a ChatPC II, a communication device for an assistive technology client. Sophomore mechanical engineering student, Ellen Heerlein, provided her drawings from the Design I course. Mechanical engineering professor Bob Parkin contacted the Saltillo Corporation, which provided 2 non-functioning loaner ChatPC IIs to use as models for the project.

This course examined theoretical principles and sound engineering practice involved in the design of new end products made from polymers, applying the total systems approach to the balance between product design, choice of materials, tool design, and process techniques, as they affect competitive choices for commercial success.

The service-learning was implemented into three semester projects, which involved eight of the seventeen students in the class. As usual, these semester projects required a complete design of the product, including material selection, dimensioned drawings, and suggestion(s) for processing the product. Final design presentations were conducted by each group involved in S-L projects in this course.