Monthly Archives: April 2016

Team 15065

Project Title: Commercial-off-the-Shelf Infrastructure for a 1U CubeSat

Raytheon logoTeam 15065 Members:
Benjamin Bossler, mechanical engineering
Reed Hubbell, mechanical engineering
Alfie Tsang, systems engineering
Dean Whitman, aerospace engineering
Kaitlyn Williams, optical sciences and engineering
Steven Wirth, electrical and computer engineering

Sponsor: Raytheon Missile Systems

Sending sensors to space at lower cost

Team 15065

A standard space-ready CubeSat microsatellite measures 10 centimeters on each side, fits in the palm of your hand and costs roughly $40,000.

Sponsored by Raytheon Missile Systems, Team 15065 is designing a CubeSat that costs less than $5,000 and uses off-the-shelf components. One of the novel features of the low-cost satellite is that its frame is manufactured using 3-D printing and appropriate resins.

The redesigned CubeSat will be used to take environmental measurements in space.

“We are creating a satellite with parts that anyone can buy online,” said Alfie Tsang, systems test lead.

These parts include a memory chip, a microcontroller, a temperature sensor, a transceiver, a signal modulator and solar panels.

The technology inside the satellite must survive harsh launch conditions and extreme temperatures while running for up to 24 hours without power and engaging in risky interactions with space junk.

The team started out with a standard solid-printed CubeSat provided by the sponsor as an example. In addition to funding the project, Raytheon Missile Systems has provided 3-D printing services to the team.

“We are very fortunate that we can get our parts printed through our sponsor with a one-day turnaround,” said team lead Kaitlyn Williams. “This allowed us to rapidly perfect our mechanical structures while assembling our CubeSat.”

The team assembled their CubeSat in April and verified that it met all system design goals. They will display their prototype at Engineering Design Day 2016 on May 3.

Mentor Greg Ogden

Mentor Greg OgdenChemical engineer guides seniors in the process of becoming practitioners.

As a process engineer for more than 20 years, Greg Ogden has helped companies improve their industrial processes. As a mentor in the UA Engineering Design Program for six years, he has helped seniors establish effective procedures for their team projects and make smooth transitions from college students to practicing engineers.

His journey began with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemical engineering from the University of Washington and University of Colorado, respectively. He worked as a process engineer for companies in Colorado and New Mexico for several years.

A UA faculty appointment for his wife Kim Ogden brought him to Tucson in 1993. The pair founded the local consulting firm Ogden Engineering & Associates in 1999, which has completed several Small Business Innovation Research projects related to green propellants and renewable fuels.

Greg earned a PhD in chemical engineering from the UA in 2002 and joined the faculty of the department of chemical and environmental engineering as an associate research professor in 2006.

He says mentoring Engineering Design teams provides a stimulating break from business as usual.

“Finding a way to utilize my process engineering skills in a project design class is challenging, as the projects more often focus on the design cycle and product design, rather than processes.”

What keeps him mentoring from year to year?

“Seeing that light bulb turn on, when students really take ownership of their projects. That’s a big part of the transition from student to engineer.”

Team 15043

Project Title: Toilet Leak and Flood Prevention

QuakeWrap Inc. logoTeam 15043 Members:
Matthew Britton, systems engineering
Ian Carmichael, electrical and computer engineering
Eliza Dawson, mechanical engineering
Diego Morales, mechanical engineering
Derek Strickland, mechanical engineering

Sponsor: QuakeWrap Inc.

Timer-controlled valve limits impact of hidden leaks

Team 15043

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that more than one trillion gallons of water are lost in household leaks in the U.S. each year. Toilet malfunctions account for most of the loss.

For homeowners, the impact of toilet leaks extends to structural damage and health hazards like increased mold and bacterial growth.

QuakeWrap Inc., a Tucson-based company founded by a former College of Engineering professor, has tasked a group of students with mitigating the risk for disaster.

Team 15043 is working on a system that does more than detect leaks in American-style toilets – it stops them before they can escalate into household catastrophes.

The students have designed a secondary valve system that limits water flow with a timer. When the toilet is flushed, a chain flips a switch inside the tank. The switch opens a valve and starts the timer, which can be adjusted to allow for different water flow rates on different toilets. When the timer goes off, the valve closes. If a leak develops or a hose breaks, the valve will not let any water into the toilet, essentially eliminating risk of the toilet flooding.

Subtlety is a key feature for the system. “If your toilet is functioning normally, you’ll never know it’s there,” team member Matthew Britton explained. “However, if there’s a leak, you’ll only lose the water in the tank, and you’ll know there’s a leak because there will be no water in the toilet.”

As Engineering Design Day approaches on May 3, the team is waterproofing the switch and completing the electrical system for the control box.

Meanwhile, the sponsors are filing a patent application on the students’ results.

Team 15030; Justine Bacchus and Brennen Guy

Project Title: Water Processing and Cleaning for Reuse

Shamrock Farms logoTeam 15030 Members:
Justine Bacchus, biomedical engineering
Brennen Guy, mechanical engineering
Cory Luke, biomedical engineering
Edward Mackay, engineering management
Nicholas Siegel, mechanical engineering

Sponsor: Shamrock Foods

Triple-filtration process uses natural methods to clear dairy debris

Team 15030; Justine Bacchus and Brennen Guy

Water conservation is a major concern for arid Arizona – and for food-service distributor Shamrock Foods, which supplies fresh dairy products and other comestibles to the Southwest.

The company’s Phoenix location alone averages 500,000 gallons of industrial wastewater per day, and replacing all that water costs almost half a million dollars per year.

Shamrock Foods has enlisted Team 15030 to boost water use efficiency in its distribution centers by recycling wastewater back into production without adding any potentially harmful chemicals.

The team is relying on natural biological processes to filter the water the factory uses to steam-clean and rinse milk containers.

The first step of their reclamation process uses a bioreactor made from a high-powered bubbler and bio-ring filters, like those found in fish tanks, to break down organic waste and pull out large particulates. A reverse-osmosis system then removes smaller pollutants. Finally, the water is pumped through an ultraviolet filtration system, which kills leftover bacteria and leaves clean, serviceable water.

The design returns 70 percent of the wastewater to the factory floor for reuse.

“Getting clean sources of water is a big problem for Southwestern states,” said team member Brennen Guy. “For a company to use recycled water is a huge step.”

The team is currently building a prototype of the system and testing each section separately before assembly. They expect to finish the project by the end of April for presentation to the public on Engineering Design Day on May 3.