The Case for Engineering Involvement in Problems of Social Significance - An Integrated Undergraduate Project
The objectives of this paper are to describe an undergraduate project recently carried out at the University of Massachusetts on a vapor cycle automotive power system, to discuss some of the educational aspects of the project, and to briefly describe some of the results obtained. The problem posed to the seven undergraduate students involved in the project concerned certain aspects of the preliminary design and development of a small vapor powered powerplant for an automotive application. The technical design criteria given at the initial stages of the project was quite general: be competitive in size, weight, and power with conventional automotive IC engines. A socially significant constraint was also given: the powerplant should have low pollutant emission characteristics. The student's interpretation and application of this constraint to the engineering design studies clearly influenced the technical decisions they made.