Engineering is more than problem solving. It’s not just designing, building, troubleshooting, and improving things. Are those all part of a strong engineering education? Yes. But there’s more to it than that.
At Dordt, we believe engineers have the privilege and responsibility of developing and maintaining God’s creation. We also believe that an engineer’s technical skill set should be rooted in a biblical understanding of his or her calling. That mindset is one aspect of Dordt’s Engineering major that sets us apart from most other engineering programs. If you want to be challenged and changed by your engineering education, consider applying to Dordt.
As an engineering major at Dordt, you’ll learn technical skills in the classroom. You’ll have numerous opportunities to do hands-on projects. You’ll have chances to put your knowledge into action through on-campus engineering competitions and internship opportunities. And you’ll be challenged to understand how all aspects of your work can serve the Lord.
Engineering at Dordt will teach you how to engage the field from a Christian perspective. Professors with years of research and industry experience create a rich learning environment. Our resources, facilities, and labs set us apart from other engineering programs. And you’ll have a range of engineering concentrations to choose from, including Biomedical, Chemical, Civil, Computer, Electrical, and Mechanical.
The engineering program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, https://www.abet.org, under the General Criteria.
A Top Undergraduate Engineering Program
Dordt’s engineering program was listed as a top program within the “Undergraduate Engineering Programs (No Doctorate)” list by U.S. News and World Report. To qualify, a school must have an undergraduate engineering program accredited by ABET.
What can I do with a degree in engineering from Dordt University?
By majoring in Engineering at Dordt, you’ll set yourself up for a bright future. Whether you attend graduate school or enter the workforce, you’ll leave with the skills and tools you need to succeed. Civil engineering. Chemical engineering. Mechanical engineering. Whatever type of engineering you’re passionate about, you’ll be ready to make a career of it. And with your identity firmly rooted in Christ, you won’t just make a professional impact—you’ll make a spiritual impact as well.
You can serve the public in any of the different engineering fields. You may work with consulting firms or government organizations. You might pursue a job in the manufacturing industry or in a research laboratory. Here are just a few of the careers you’ll be prepared for as an Engineering major at Dordt:
Provide engineering direction for public and private organizations. Help plan and manage construction or infrastructure projects in your areas of expertise.
Work for the local or federal government to plan and lead civil construction projects, like building bridges, roads, or other city needs.
Design and control mechanical devices and thermal systems ranging from wheelchairs to solar collectors to refrigerators.
As an engineering major at Dordt, you’ll learn technical skills in the classroom and will have numerous opportunities to do hands-on projects. You’ll have the opportunity to put your knowledge into action by participating in the concrete canoe, emergency shelter, steel bridge, or mini-baja competitions.
As an engineering major at Dordt, you’ll learn technical skills in the classroom and will have numerous opportunities to do hands-on projects. You’ll have the opportunity to put your knowledge into action by participating in the concrete canoe, emergency shelter, steel bridge, or mini-baja competitions.
Engineering at Dordt will teach you how to engage the field from a Christian perspective so you can enter your career prepared to make a difference for Christ using your technical skills in a biomedical, chemical, civil, computer, electrical, or mechanical engineering concentration.
To learn more, you can also view the program strengths and learning outcomes for this program.
As an engineering major at Dordt, you'll have access to these labs and more:
Computational labs: design and analyze 3D objects using solid modeling (CAD), finite element analysis (FEA), and computational fluid dynamics (CFD)
Solar energy lab: monitor solar collector and wind turbine performance
Prototyping lab: fabricate a project using computer-aided manufacturing (CAM), computer numeric control (CNC) machining, and 3D printing
Mechanics and materials lab: measure material behavior under loading
Chemical reactor lab: experiment with combustion and gasification
Civil engineering lab: analyze soil and concrete samples
Biomechanics lab: measure forces and positions for the human body during movement
Thermodynamics lab: test air-foils in a wind tunnel and measure the impact of a high-speed fluid jet on a vane
Electronics lab: build, design, and test circuits and microprocessors
The following curricular outcomes provide specific means of achieving the institutional and program educational objectives. Students will have…
- Faithfulness and Responsibility. …an ability to articulate and faithfully practice responsible engineering that grows out of Christ’s all-encompassing work as Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer.
- Fundamentals. …an ability to identify, formulate, critically evaluate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics faithful to the analytical, sensory, biotic, physical, kinematic, spatial, and numeric aspects of creation.
- Design. …an ability to holistically design systems, components, or processes that flow from a vision of responsible engineering, giving consideration to models of normative technology faithful to the fiduciary, ethical, juridic, aesthetic, economic, social, lingual, and cultural aspects of creation.
- Communication. …an ability to openly, honestly, and effectively communicate with a broad range of audiences using a variety of oral, written, and graphical forms.
- Context. …an ability to recognize how professional and ethical engineering grows out of a faithful response to the cultural mandate and therefore must be grounded in an understanding of contemporary issues within the broader context of historical, cultural, societal, global, economic, and environmental development.
- Teamwork. …an ability to function effectively on a team by serving alongside others to provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives.
- Experimental Development and Analysis. …an ability to develop and conduct appropriate experiments, analyze and interpret data, and use holistic judgment to draw conclusions.
- Lifelong Learning. …an ability to humbly acquire and apply new knowledge, insights, and skills as faithful stewards of creation.
- Introduction to Computer Aided Engineering and Design: The design studio experience introduces concepts of graphical communication for engineers and develops basic 2-D and 3-D design skills with the use of a solid modeling software package. The course meets for one design studio per week.
- Introduction to Engineering Energy and Economics: An engineering foundations course that introduces students to engineering design economics (energy, material, time, and money) within the broader norms of engineering stewardship. Basic engineering analysis and problem-solving tools will be practiced.
- Introduction to Engineering Design: An introduction to the engineering analysis and design of structures. Students will explore principles of statics and mechanics within the broader context of engineering analysis and design. The course meets for one studio session per week.
- Introduction to Engineering Statics and Structures: An introduction to the engineering analysis and design of structures. Students will explore principles of statics and mechanics within the broader context of engineering analysis and design. The course meets for one studio session per week.
- Introduction to Engineering Analysis: An introduction to engineering mathematics and problem solving, introducing foundational mathematics and computational tools for the solution of a variety of engineering problems. The course introduces a perspective on how the activities of both math and science can in-form and constrain our ability to design normatively. The course meets for one lecture session and one studio session per week.
- Introduction to Engineering Electronics: An introduction to electrical engineering fundamentals relating to electrical energy and circuit analysis. Concepts in digital logic and digital electronics are also introduced. Students will explore principles of electronic systems within the broader context of engineering analysis and design. The course meets for one studio session per week.
- Elements of Materials Science: Studies the relationship between structure and properties of various materials, including metals, ceramics, polymers, and semiconductors. Students will learn how atomic and molecular arrangements, as well as manufacturing processes, influence the mechanical, electrical, and thermal properties of a material. Introductory topics in metallurgy in this course include the examination of effects of processing (heat treatment and manufacturing) and service environment on microstructure and properties. Laboratory explorations in materials engineering introduce concepts in experimental design and data analysis.
- Statics: A mechanics course that examines the effects of forces and moments applied to rigid and deformable bodies in equilibrium. Students will analyze concentrated and distributed force systems applied to static particles, rigid bodies, trusses, frames, and machines.
- Linear Circuits and Electronics: Assumes a prerequisite knowledge of DC electrical circuits, including the definitions of electrical quantities, circuit elements (sources, resistors, capacitors, inductors), understanding of Kirchhoff’s laws and basic concepts in AC circuits such as frequency and phase. Topics in this course include: general linear circuit analysis including Norton’s and Thevenin’s theorems; superposition; nodal and loop analysis; natural and forced responses in RLC circuits; and sinusoidal steady state analysis. The course also gives introductions to operational amplifier circuits, single stage BJT transistor circuits, and steady-state balanced 3-phase power calculations. The lab includes a formal design project.
- Introduction to Thermal-Fluids: An introduction to the principles of thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and heat transfer principles, including energy, work, heat, properties of pure substances, the first and second laws, and other thermal-fluid relations.
- History of Science and Technology: Enables the student to examine from a Reformed, biblical perspective the narrative of scientific unfolding and technological development as two human activities that are manifest in all cultures. Emphasis is on the major paradigms and events that have shaped the development of science and technology in the West and most recently in North America. The course focuses on the historical activity of engineers and artisans, while investigating the interrelationship between scientific thought and technological development. Events and ideas such as the philosophical origins of Western science, the Copernican revolution, Enlightenment rationalism, the industrial revolutions, 20th century positivism, the Einsteinian revolution, and the modern systemization ethic are discussed.
- Senior Design I: The first of two project courses providing students with the opportunity to use, in an integrated manner, the knowledge and skills that have been acquired to this point in their education. This design studio course is devoted entirely to the research, planning, analysis, and report writing required in the first phase of the senior design project. Students work in project teams of two to four on a project of their mutual interest. The class meets for one lecture period and at least one team-mentor session per week.
- Senior Design II: The second course devoted to senior design project activities. This lab studio course requires students to complete the design, experimentation, analysis, and communication components of their project. Work on the project, while culminating in this course, starts in Engineering 379 the previous semester. Teams confer weekly with members of the engineering department staff.
- Engineering Economics: A course on the fundamentals of engineering economics and system cost analysis. An introduction to engineering economic topics such as, cost estimating, economic decision-making, time-value analysis, depreciation, taxes, cash flow, cost-benefit, and risk assessment will be addressed in the context of stewardship principles of engineering design.
- Technology and Society: An examination and critique of the relationship of technology to other areas of Western society. During the first half of the course students examine a Christian philosophy of technology and application is made to such problems as the role of the computer, technocracy, appropriate technology, and the historical two-cultures dualism. During its second half, the course focuses on the question of engineering ethics, with particular emphasis on such questions as safety and risk, professional responsibility and authority, whistle blowing, normative socioeconomic structures, and morality in career choice. This course requires the student to write and orally present a significant thesis paper.
- Principles of Chemistry: A study of the fundamental principles of chemistry and an introduction to foundational issues in science. Topics include atomic and molecular structure, chemical equilibria, chemical kinetics, chemical thermodynamics, and electrochemistry. An introduction to laboratory safety and chemical hygiene is included in the laboratory. This is the first course in chemistry for majors in the physical and life sciences. Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory period per week.
- Programming I: An introduction to computer programming. Basic notions of abstraction, elementary composition principles, the fundamental data structures, and object-oriented programming technique are introduced. Topics include variables, control structures, arrays, and input/output.
- Calculus I: A study of the basic concepts and techniques of calculus for students in all disciplines. Topics include limits, differentiation, integration, and applications. This course is intended for students without any previous calculus credit.
- Calculus II: Continuation of Mathematics 152; a study of transcendental functions, integration techniques, Taylor series approximations, calculus in polar coordinates, vectors, calculus of vector valued functions and applications of calculus. Students with one semester of calculus credit should take this course instead of Mathematics 152.
- Multivariable Calculus: A study of differential and integral calculus of functions of several variables, and line and surface integrals.
- Differential Equations: An introduction to the theory and techniques of solving elementary differential equations and the use of these techniques in applied problems.
- Introductory Physics I: An introduction to the study of the physical aspect of reality for students intending to continue in the physical sciences and engineering.
Linear and rotational kinematics and dynamics, statics, and gravitation will be covered. Three lectures and one laboratory period per week.
- Introductory Physics II: Continuation of Physics 231. Topics covered include fluid, oscillations, waves, heat and thermodynamics, and electricity. Three lectures and one laboratory per week.
- Elementary Linear Algebra: An introductory study of vectors, matrices, linear transformations, vector spaces, determinants, and their applications, with particular emphasis upon solving systems of linear equations.
- Numerical Analysis: A study of numerical methods for integration, differentiation, calculus of finite differences, and applications, using the computer.
- Discrete Structures: A study of topics in discrete mathematics that are relevant to computer science and mathematics, including logic and proof, induction and recursion, elementary set theory, combinatorics, relations and functions, Boolean algebra, and introductory graph theory.
- Introduction to Light, Energy, and Matter: Advanced classical and introduction to modern physics topics. Optics, advanced waves, semiconductors, and modern physics topics in particle, nuclear, and quantum physics are covered.
- Classical Mechanics: Lagrangian and Hamiltonian dynamics, general rigid body motion, theory of vibrations and waves, planetary motion, and chaos are studied.
- Electromagnetic Fields: Review of vector calculus; divergence, curl, Gauss’ and Stoke’s theorems; electro- and magneto-statics; polarization; boundary conditions; Laplace and Poisson equations; magnetic vector potential; energy; Maxwell’s equations for time varying fields; wave propagation; and Poynting’s theorem.
- Modern Physics: Developments in modern physics: special relativity, atomic nature of matter and electricity, wave and particle aspects of electrons and light, quantum theory and applications to the study of atomic and molecular structure, condensed matter physics, particle and nuclear physics. Three lectures and one laboratory period per week.
- Accelerated Introductory Statistics: This course covers the same content and learning objectives as Statistics 131 but in half the time. This course, along with Statistics 202 and Statistics 203, also serves as preparation for Actuarial Exam SRM. Additionally this course, along with Statistics 202, Statistics 203, Statistics 220 and Statistics 352, serves as preparation for Actuarial Exam MAS I. Offered first half of spring semester. Credit will not be given for both Statistics 131 and 132.
- Applied Statistical Models: This course surveys multivariable design and statistical methods used across various disciplines and seen in peer-reviewed research. Topics include multiple and non-linear regression, general linear models, multivariable statistical models, and multifactor experimental design emphasis is on active-learning using group activities and projects, critiquing research, and statistical software. Offered second half of spring semester. Credit will not be given for Statistics 201 and 202.
- Introduction to Univariate Probability: An introduction to the theory and techniques of general probability and common univariate probability distributions. Topics include but are not limited to basic set theory, introductory probability rules (independence, combinatorials, conditionals, Bayes theorem, etc.), common univariate distributions (e.g., binomial and normal) and expected value/variance. This course, along with Statistics 216, also serves as preparation for Actuarial Exam P/1. Offered first half of the semester.
- Introduction to Multivariate Probability: An introduction to multivariate probability distributions. Topics include but are not limited to joint probability density functions, conditional and marginal probability distributions, moment generating functions, covariance and correlations, transformations and linear combinations of independent random variables. This course, along with Statistics 215, also serves as preparation for Actuarial Exam P/1. Offered second half of the semester.
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Senior Design Projects
CHILDREN’S PARK PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE
Caleb Kroeze, Davis Tebben, Parker Hamaan, & Parks Brawand
The Children’s Park disc golf course’s fifth hole crosses a waterway which at times throughout the year is either filled with water or has very saturated soil. A solution is required that will streamline the play of the disc golf course by allowing players to safely cross this waterway without getting wet or having to enter neighbors’ adjacent properties and add to the visual appeal of Children’s Park.
We designed a bridge that will be constructed across the waterway. This bridge will be constructed using reinforced concrete footings, steel I-beams, wood decking, and steel railings and brackets. The bridge uses these materials to create a structure that successfully transports people across the waterway and adds to the visual appeal of Children’s Park. The design is structurally safe and is designed in such a way that it is pleasing to use and view.
AUTOMATED TRAILER DECK ASSEMBLY PROJECT
Henri Carrette, Benjamin Schmidt, Eric Steiger, Timothy Molitor
Demco’s drop deck trailer requires over 800 screws to attach boards to steel I-beams. An automated device is needed to travel the length of the trailer and screw the boards into the I-beams to simplify the current manual process.
We designed a solution that uses Simpson Strong-Tie auto feed screw attachments for automatically driving self-tapping screws through the wood into the I-beam. An air cylinder provides 120 pounds of force to each drill, and the drill mounting plate slides on linear shafts and bearings. This design meets the need of automating the current manual process repeatably and robustly.
INSTRUMENTED VAPOR COMPRESSION CYCLE
Bryce Collins, Caleb Hoke, Sam Kingma
The Engineering Department desires the ability to perform lab projects related to material covered in thermodynamics. They seek an intuitively instrumented lab system capable of both refrigeration and dehumidification processes.
We designed a basic dehumidifier unit that runs on a refrigeration cycle. The system contains the three major components: compressor, heat exchangers, and expansion valve. We instrumented the system with enough thermocouples and pressure sensors that each state of the system would be known with as few assumptions as possible. Data from the instrumentation is then displayed in custom designed user program. We tested the entire system to verify the fidelity of operation.
MOBILE REELER DRIVE SYSTEM
Logan Cline, Peter Kurschner, Collin O’Brien, Collin Price
Kelley Engineered Equipment’s Mobile Reeler is a product that is used on many construction sites to ease the process of spooling in and out reels of material. Currently, the drive system is driven by a gear system that utilizes large gears and brakes. This current drive system has an expensive fabrication process and has limited scalability for larger applications. Kelley partnered with us through Dordt to design a new cost effective, scalable, and efficient drive system.
Our solution was to replace the old spur and pinion geared drive system with a new one that used five linear actuating cylinders in order to crank the shaft. Hydraulic cylinders typically cost less than big machined gears. The other advantage to cylinders is that they can be easily replaced with larger ones in order to get a higher force that allows us to scale up the system easily. An image of our new system design is shown.
NON-RECTIFIED VARIABLE FREQUENCY DRIVE
Elijah Goossen, Mitchell Minderhoud, Levi DeVries
Variable Frequency Drives are typically controlled by a method called Pulse Width Modulation, which pulses a constant voltage to create a current wave form that approximates a sine wave of a desired frequency. This is an effective method of varying the speed of AC induction motors but creates some power inefficiencies and has the potential damage motors and other hardware. This creates a need to develop a more efficient method of varying the speed of AC induction motors. We plan to analyze matrix conversion technology as an alternative to reduce the total harmonic distortion of the input and output signals.
We designed and simulated a matrix converter using MATLAB Simscape to analyze the performance of a matrix converter and to compare it to the performed of current VFD technology. Additionally, we built a small-scale matrix converter out of hardware that was controlled by an Arduino to compare to our simulation. In the end, we found that our simulation did not perform as well as the current VFD technology.
AUTOMATIC SOCCER REBOUNDER
Deven Burkhart, Colton Cohoon, Antonio Maldonado, Jebadiah Merkle
Soccer players spend excessive time and energy retrieving balls from the goal during shooting drills at practice. This time and energy use reduces the player's concentration and overall quality of practice. This project seeks to design a modular apparatus to attach to a goal frame to return scored soccer balls back to the player.
We designed a collector and transporter to be paired with a commercially available launcher. We prioritized the transportability of the product so that one person can easily set it up and take it down. The collector consists of a tarp to stop a ball and a set of PVC pipe ramps to direct the ball to the transporter. The transporter is a conveyor belt that pushes the soccer ball up a ramp. The ball then falls into the launcher and is launched back to the player.
SOLAR WATER HEATING
Chase Pheifer, Cameron Steenhoek, Nathan Ver Meer, Joseph Yannie
The sun’s energy can be utilized to satisfy domestic water heating needs using a solar thermal water heater. However, the drastic decline in pricing and increase in development of photovoltaic systems in the last few decades have brought into question the comparative viability of solar thermal water heating systems. This project sought to provide guidance to Dordt and other entities that would be interested in installing one of these two technologies to supplement domestic energy needs.
To provide this guidance, solar thermal and photovoltaic technologies were compared on the basis of finances, practicality, and environmental impact. Dordt’s Southview Apartments were used as a case study in which these technologies could compete. Although solar thermal may have the slight edge in terms of positive environmental impact, photovoltaics are far easier to install and at a lower cost. For this reason, we concluded that a photovoltaic system would be recommended in this case.
Logan Horne, Tyce Marquez, Cody Minderhoud, Eden Winslow
Developing communities and disaster-affected areas require safe drinking water, durable shelter, and a means to reduce plastic waste. Some communities address this issue by building houses out of water bottles filled with dirt and held together by a mud adhesive, but during the rainy season, these tend to wash away. A low-cost process to re-mold water bottles into a more stackable shape that does not require a mud adhesive would greatly improve the durability of these houses, while continuing to help reduce plastic waste.
We designed a process to re-mold existing plastic PET water bottles into a new shape which can be filled and used as a building brick for housing. The process involves removing the top of a water bottle and placing the remainder over an arrowhead-shaped wooden mold, fitting it into a custom designed clamp, and heating the bottle over an open fire. The bottle shrinks to the shape of the mold, which is then is easily filled with dirt or mud. A second molded bottle is fitted over the first to seal the dirt into place, resulting in a stackable building brick. We tested the strength and friction force of the bricks and found them to be resilient and sturdy in a wall application. Although our process requires more construction time than simply filling traditional single bottles, the resulting structure is more stable in the rain, and the design can be expanded in the future to re-mold larger PET bottles.
AIAA DESIGN, BUILD, FLY II
Branden Lesondak, Kyle Meinders, Zachary Sanford, Patrick Terhark, and Joseph Wanninger
Dordt has limited hands-on extracurricular, interdisciplinary engineering activities, with no aerospace option currently available. This project seeks to encourage cross-emphasis collaboration and provide students immersion in aerospace topics beyond the existing curriculum.
To meet this need we entered and successfully competed in the AIAA Design, Build, Fly competition. The AIAA DBF competition helps bring engineers from various fields together to compete in a fun design challenge for the best RC plane. We designed a UAV that met the rules for the competition and completed the mission requirements. The plane is capable of hauling crates and can extend out and retract a stable sensor while in flight. We are comprised of engineers from various disciplines of civil, mechanical, and electrical emphases.
CERAMIC WATER FILTER LAB
Cody Speh, Isaac Porte, and Matthew Minderhoud
Ceramic water filters are a simple solution that allows for contaminated water to be cleaned easily and effectively. Dr. Derek Chitwood has much international experience working with such filters, but he has not had access to the necessary equipment to continue researching them since his arrival back in the US. This project sought to provide Dr. Chitwood with the necessary equipment needed to continue his testing. This equipment included an enclosure to hold filters while testing, a moveable and adjustable apparatus to hold such enclosures while testing, and a clay press and mold to allow for new disks to be made for testing.
To meet these needs we sized various PVC fittings to create an enclosure that appropriately sealed a filter disk so that no leaking occurred. We designed and manufactured a metal frame with pulleys and a winch to create a testing apparatus that can hold and test up to 8 enclosures simultaneously while providing between 30 cm and 200 cm of water pressure on the filters. We designed a mold to be mounted onto a standard 20-ton H-frame press. We purchased and modified the H-frame along with a 20-ton air hydraulic jack to press to speed up the manufacturing process.
EROSION MANAGEMENT OF THE DORDT PRAIRIE
Christian Orr, Isaac Buteyn, and Jared Van Elburg
The Dordt Prairie has experienced increased erosion over the past several years due to fallen trees, increased water flow, and several other factors. This project aims to alleviate or eliminate the erosion in the prairie to preserve its natural beauty and functionality.
Our chosen design incorporates rock armoring that will be strategically placed along the southern part of the prairie to prevent future erosion. Using natural materials such as fieldstone, we plan to slow down the flow of water through the eroded area. Our client requested that our design be natural and fit seamlessly into the prairie, so using rock armoring will meet this need. Eliminating the erosion in the prairie will mean that the prairie will be preserved for future generations of Dordt students.
FLOATING MICRO HYDRO
Jonathan De Bruin, Foster Popken, Ben Thorud, Charley Young, Andrew Zehr
Don Stenberg, a Dordt engineering alumnus, visited the Platte River and saw the fast-flowing water as a potentially untapped energy source. Micro Hydro power is a viable source of energy for areas that do not have readily available access to electricity. Utilizing kinetic energy from river flow is a sustainable and non-invasive possibility for powering electrical loads off the grid.
To harvest energy from a river’s flow, we designed and constructed a floating micro hydro system from readily accessible materials. The device is mounted on a pressure-treated wooden frame making use of two fifty-five-gallon barrels for floatation. The device is anchored with a cable and arm to mount from one side of the river. A plywood undershot paddlewheel in the center catches water flow and turns a shaft hooked to a DC motor operated in reverse to act as a generator. The generator is attached to a charge controller that regulates electrical power to trickle charge a battery. This electrical energy is usable via either 12V DC terminals or USB A connections on the charge controller. The device successfully functioned and produced a trickle charge of 7 Watts of continuous power at the second river test
FRACTIONAL DISTILLATION COLUMN 2.0
Alexia Alsum, Alejandro Castelan, Rylie Brown, and Samuel De Penning
Fractional distillation is a prominent commercial application in industry. The chemical engineering program at Dordt University desires more lab exercises to successfully engage the chemical engineering students. A previous design group built the column structure on a wooden base; however, the trays they created did not allow for proper distillation. In order to use this column for a lab, better trays and clear instructions were needed.
Research showed that a holed area of 10-15% was desired for the trays instead of the 40% from the previous design. With this knowledge, we designed three new sets of trays – a large hole sieve tray, small hole sieve tray, and valve tray. Barrel bolts were used as the valves. In addition, we created a base constructed of t-slotted aluminum to hold the column as well as house the additional components needed to run it. Furthermore, a comprehensive lab manual was written detailing four weeks of labs for the column as well as future lab ideas.
LOW-INCOME SUSTAINABLE HOUSE DESIGN
Tyler Bouma, Ben Huvelhorst, Halle Nanninga, Jessica Oules, Sawyer Strelnieks, and Mitchell Wall
Siouxland Habitat for Humanity is seeking to design a sustainable house for a narrow lot in South Sioux City. The house must be affordable to build, sustainable to the owners, and provide a functional layout. The affordability of the house is key to achieving Habitat for Humanity’s vision of each person having a decent place to live. Sustainability speaks to our responsibility to be stewards of God’s creation. The need for a functional layout encompasses our goal to create a home that both fosters community and meets the homeowners' practical needs.
We began with the 1200 sq ft layout Habitat for Humanity currently uses with a newly inset garage to fit the setbacks for the purchased lot. To increase useable living space on the main floor we placed two bedrooms on the main floor with two additional bedrooms directly below in the basement. A pantry and closet provided a privacy hallway for the bedrooms placed in the back of the house. An L-shaped layout for the kitchen, dining room, and family room provided room for a large family. Extra windows and an open staircase were placed on the south wall to allow passive solar heating and light. To minimize plumbing and ductwork the bathrooms, kitchen, and mechanical room are all centrally located. Finally, a staggered stud wall construction was specified to minimize material use and increase the insulation value.
REMOTE-CONTROLLED TACKLING DUMMY
Dale De Jong, Ethan Hoekstra, Andrew Kouns, Troy Nelson
The Dordt University football team has been looking for someone to design a more advanced tackling dummy. Coach Penner has expressed the desire for a dummy that gives a more realistic experience and a challenge for the players while maintaining a high level of safety.
Our team designed a remote-controlled tackling dummy that has a two-wheel, two-motor drive system. It is made to fit within the top padding of a standard tackling dummy and has additional padding attached to the base. The dummy can achieve speeds of 15 mph while having a battery life of around 45 minutes of continuous use. This allowed us to achieve the goal of creating a realistic experience for the players as well as being relatively safe to use.
TEAM CAMP WITNESS
Enoch Ariko, Kanema Kaumba, Luther Mukanga, Jalen Placide
Camp Witness is a non-profit Christian camp located in Long Pine, Nebraska. They are in desperate need of a vehicle bridge as they are looking to expand their infrastructure onto the other side of the camp. Their previous bridge was washed away in the flooding of Long Pine Creek back in May of 2019. This bridge would allow a small excavator to reach the other side of the camp so they can move along in the expansion.
We created a complete design package that consists of calculations, construction drawings, and a cost estimate of the entire bridge. From the washout of the previous bridge, one side had experienced severe corrosion which played a huge role in our design process. It left the span of the bridge to be 76 feet from bank to bank, which is why we decided to go with two 80-foot-long steel girders to span across the entire creek. The wide-flange beams are connected to cast-in-place concrete foundations on each side of the bridge. We did not want to disrupt the flow of the creek, so in order to best handle the weight of the entire bridge and address future washout issues, we decided to drive steel HP-Piles 50 feet into the ground. We wanted the bridge to be aesthetically pleasing to the eye, so we placed wood decking on top of the steel girders so that it would fit better into its environment.
TRAFFIC PAINT ADDITIVE DISPENSER PROJECT
Ben DeKleine, Russell Dyk, and Stefan Walicord
Diamond Vogel needs a system for automating the dispensing of additives for use in their traffic paint production. Currently, the process is entirely manual and is subject to a lack of speed and precision. This process is also a repetitive and menial task for the workers who perform it.
Our team’s solution to this problem was an automated dispensing system involving pumps, valves, flow meters, and a control system. We determined the best layout to meet Diamond Vogel’s needs for a fast, accurate, and relatively inexpensive distribution system. After determining the layout, our team selected and ordered hardware for a scaled-down prototype. We then assembled the pictured prototype and performed tests to determine its speed and accuracy.
VERVE 2.0–THE MOUNTAIN CHAIR
Brandyn Brummel, Sam Toenies, and Mat Van Donselaar
The options for off-road wheelchairs are expensive and limit users to electrically-powered, rider-controlled options or non-powered options controlled by someone pushing the chair. The need for our client was to have a chair fit for wilderness adventure that is self-powered and allows for safe control from the person pushing the chair. The operator behind the chair controls the steering and the electric-assist pushing.
The Verve 2.0 team designed and manufactured an off-road, electric-assist wheelchair. The chair design includes Ebike hub motors and controllers powered by a 36 V battery, adjustable speed range, independent A-arm suspension, adjustable air shocks, lockable disk brakes, rear freewheel layout, adjustable leg rest, and a medical seat back and cushion. This met the client's primary objectives for rider and operator comfort, ease of access, and durability.
WATERSPORT ROPE REEL
Derek Dekam, Grant Dunsbergen, Max Kolb, and Patrick Munsey
Prompt, steady retraction of tow ropes and their storage needs were the main functional design focuses of the project. Easy and intuitive mounting was also a part of the design criteria. Accomplishing these functional requirements in a simple and aesthetic manner while keeping the product affordable were also criteria in the design constraints.
The final product design comprised of a DC motor-powered spool fed by a 12-volt car plug whose speed was varied by the user through an external potentiometer and switch. The housing was waterproof in the motor and electronics bay and was constructed out of sheet aluminum to look like common boat tower speakers. The spool was linked to the spool shaft through a series of face gears that could be disengaged physically with a rotating handle present on the front of the housing. The device’s mounting system was designed around wakeboard holding forks present on most boats and utilized the tensioning element they present. These design aspects were successful in creating an economic and functioning product.
WI-FI ENERGY MONITOR
Lucas Nelson, Shane Tinklenberg, Matthew Van Eps, and Kyle Waas
In today's market, there is a lack of energy-monitoring devices that promote good relationships between humanity and creation. Most of these devices are either inaccurate or not easy to utilize for an average homeowner. Because of this and other reasons, creation is suffering from a lack of efficient energy usage.
We designed a custom printed circuit board (PCB) that would connect to an application that we also designed. This PCB utilized an integrated circuit designed to measure the voltage and current flowing through it. It also utilized a microcontroller which allowed for communication to the application via Wi-Fi. This design allowed for our group to accurately measure and report how much energy a specific device was consuming and to notify the user in a way the average homeowner would find intuitive.
AIAA DESIGN, BUILD, FLY
Joshua Fopma, Nicolas Kuperus, Cade Wingfield, Ryan Zevenbergen
Current engineering clubs have limited cross-discipline interactions, and there is no aerospace option currently available. This project seeks to encourage cross-emphasis collaboration and provide students immersion in aerospace topics beyond the existing curriculum.Customizable Pediatric Wheelchair
To meet this need, we decided to enter the AIAA Design, Build, Fly competition. This year, the competition requirement was a cargo/passenger carrying bush plane. Our aircraft utilizes a single engine design and a rectangular fuselage for maximum cargo space. We decided to use a flat bottom wing and large surface area to generate more lift. We also calculated the stress on both the wing spar and fuselage components and obtained the efficiency of our propeller motor. Overall, we were excited to see how our design worked, but were sadly unable to attend the competition this year.
CUSTOMIZABLE PEDIATRIC WHEELCHAIR
Jaren Brue, Tanner Hulstein, Caleb Koomans, Caleb Kroese, David Van Woerden
Hope Haven currently manufactures a pediatric wheelchair for distribution around the world but lacks a full set of prints or drawings of the wheelchair and its components to use in the production and manufacturing process. A consistent part naming/numbering system will allow the manufacturers and field technicians to communicate more effectively. As an added feature, a new non-fixed footrest design is desired so that the client can easily enter and exit the wheelchair. The new footrest design needed to be low cost and not disrupt the current manufacturing process. Hope Haven also requested testing on various parts of the wheelchair to ensure their current model provides guaranteed safety.
Our team created a smart numbering system for each part, allowing ease of reference for field technicians, while also providing the required information for the manufacturer. The wheelchair was fully 3D modeled and displayed via CAD prints in a booklet. The swinging footrest we designed kept the wheelchair as similar to the original as possible, making frugal use of the material used. Testing on the footrest verified that this new design is even stronger than the original. Additional testing and Finite Element Analysis ensured that there are no areas in the wheelchair that require other structural modifications.
DIRTY DIGGER HOPPER
Brendan Bunker, Paige Postman, Tyler VanEeden Petersman
SLM Spud Farms, a potato farm in Grassy Lake, Alberta, Canada manufactures a custom six-row potato harvester called the “Dirty Digger.” The owner of SLM Spud Farms requested that the design of their digger be improved in order to raise its efficiency and marketability. The size of the original hopper makes it difficult to continuously harvest potatoes as the hopper reaches capacity, forcing a stop to unload. The inability to distribute the potatoes evenly within the also limits its overall holding capacity.
Our improved design has a larger hopper as well as a mechanism that ensures that the hopper is filled more evenly. By moving the hopper to the rear of the digger, we were able to maintain the design of the existing frame. Additionally, we were able to double the hopper capacity from five to ten tons. We designed a swinging conveyor that swings on a track both vertically and horizontally via hydraulic lifts. It can be folded into a reduced-height position for transportation. The owner of SLM Spud Farms is satisfied with our solution because it provides a greater field of vision for the operator and increases the efficiency of its operation.
EMERALD DRIVE WATER DESIGN
Zach Bussard, Janneke deBoer
The owner of a currently undeveloped 1.4-acre lot in the town of Storm Lake, IA, wants to construct a development of 5 duplex homes on the site in order to meet the affordable housing need in the area. In order to do so, site design would need to be completed. Two critical aspects of the site design for this project are the management of stormwater runoff and sanitary wastewater. A key limiting factor in this design is the strict specifications and standards listed in government and state regulations.
Our design team proposed a solution to these needs by designing systems for stormwater runoff and sanitary wastewater management. The stormwater design consisted of a proposed site topography that directs the flow of rainwater off the property and away from the homes. The sanitary system consisted of an underground gravity-flow sewer line connecting the five homes to an existing lift station. These designs were accomplished in accordance with federal and state regulations.
HAITIAN MINISTRY MICROGRID SYSTEM
Matt Benardis, Ty White, Jake Dodge
Children of the Promise Ministry contacted Power Systems Engineering (Prinsburg, MN) to design a solar system to power their campus in Lagossette, Haiti. Power Systems employee and Dordt Engineering alum Ola Boye reached out to Dordt University to offer a senior design opportunity. Haiti is a struggling third world country in terms of electricity. Right now, it is up to each business to provide their own source of electricity. Currently the 13-acre campus utilizes a 40-kilowatt generator that is noisy, dirty, and expensive to operate. Due to the poor political climate, fuel prices have been rising over the past few years to the point where they need a new solution.
The Dordt team researched solar options until landing on a four-phase, solar microgrid system. The initial phase of the design would provide them with clean, renewable energy for roughly five hours during the day, with remaining hours powered by the generator. Alongside the design of the microgrid, options were suggested and put in place to reduce their overall electric load. The team was planning to travel to Haiti to assist in the installation of the system, however, the trip was canceled due to COVID-19. With the cancellation, the team turned to designing and writing a detailed installation booklet to guide initial installation and future expansion.
DORDT GROUNDS DEPARTMENT LAWN EQUIPMENT LIFT
Matthew Frazeur, Jeremy Riege, Ryan Ver Meer
The Grounds Department desires a lawn mower lift which would enable easy access to the undersides of their varied lawn care equipment in a safe and convenient manner.
We built a double-cross scissor lift to tilt the lawnmower up, creating a large area of clearance underneath the equipment and facilitate easy and safe routine maintenance. The biggest strength of our design is its versatility and simplicity. The design optimizes safety within a stringent budget, is compatible with a variety of equipment, and requires minimal physical effort to operate. After assembly of the system we were able to test and analyze the functionality of the lift to ensure that it meets all the specifications determined in consultation with our client.
TRAFFIC INTERSECTION REDESIGN
Levi Niesen, Trenton Ribbens
State Street (HWY 44) in Boise, Idaho forms a skewed 3-way-interseciton with Pierce Park Lane. The Ada County Highway District was seeking to widen State Street and realign the intersection to decrease traffic congestion and improve driving conditions. The project called for significant alterations to the pedestrian/bicycle facilities to improve the mobility and safety of these modes of transportation. Additionally, after rain events, the area was susceptible to ponding on the roadway due to faulty drainage systems and grading, which reduced safety and facilitated deterioration and erosion of the roadway.
Our chosen design was a 4-way intersection with Michigan U-Turns to reduce traffic congestion. The 4-way intersection addressed a need to develop a golf course along the southern edge of State Street. This design affords more efficient traffic flow by reducing traffic wait times through rephrasing the signal system, and by an additional lane in both directions. Bicycle/pedestrian facilities were improved by adding a separate shared-use pathway. This pathway creates fewer crosswalks at the intersection and eliminated sidewalks or bike directly adjacent to the roadway. The draipathsnage was improved by regrading the site and roadway to drain to a detention pond and swales between the shared-use pathway and roadway.
PEDIATRIC WHEELCHAIR TILT MECHANISM
Eber White, Mykaela Ptacek, Levi Smith
Hope Haven provides low cost and low weight wheelchairs for children in developing countries. Five percent of these children require tilt adjustment not possible with the current design. Our task was to modify Hope Haven’s original design to enable the chair to tilt. Our design needed to use as few new parts as possible; be safe, durable, and operable with one hand; and have modifications cost less than $70 additional.
Our team split the original wheelchair design into two frames: a chair frame and a wheel frame. The chair frame remained very similar to the original chair with minimal modification. The wheel frame is wider than the chair frame so the chair frame can pivot within the wheel frame near the patient's center of mass, allowing for ease of operation. The angular position locks into place using two spring-loaded pins that fit into holes on a sliding rod. Ultimately, our project improves the lives of children in developing nations by giving an underserved population a normalcy that affords them more opportunities in life.
SINGLE STRING GUITAR CAP
Blake Herrema, Josh Casemier, Ian Smit
Available guitar capos dampen all six strings on the same fret. A capo that acts on only one string at any fret and does not get in the way of the guitarist’s hand allows a musician to create more unique and innovative music. The goal of this project is to produce a single-string capo that enables guitar players to experiment with their guitar playing, in order to create music that would otherwise be impossible.
This need was met by designing a capo that consists of four parts: a leaf spring in the shape of a C, two contact pieces that touch the guitar (“thumb” & “finger”), and one piece that acts as a pivot for a contact point (“palm”). The prototyping process for these four pieces comes leverage heat-treating steel and 3D printing. Overall the model has a high level of success in that can dampen any of the six strings found on the guitar at any fret. Future models will need to adapt a foldable tab to fully achieve the design goal.
AG STEWARDSHIP CENTER CROP DRYER
Joshua Wiederkehr, Jesse Ewald, Ben Noble
The Dordt Ag Department currently dries crops in a slow process with materials spread out on in classrooms or on lab benches. This process is not conducive for classroom use and does not always dry the crop evenly or adequately to prevent degradation. To improve the use of agriculture facilities for students and research, the Ag Department requested a new crop drying system for the Ag Stewardship Center. This new system should prevent the formation of mold and preserve the integrity of the crops. The proposed system will dry grain, seed, and forage crops very quickly (at temperatures up to 140 °F) while providing ease of loading, mobility, and safety for students.
To meet the desired specifications within cost constraints, a batch dryer was designed that blows hot air around the crops and quickly evaporate the water in the crop and prevent mold formation. The design allows for control of both heat rate and airflow to the dryer unit so that the relative humidity of the air can be optimized for drying. The final design consisted of wheeled boxes with removable shelves that latch together and are connected to a conventional grain bin aeration and heater unit. This configuration allows for a mobility of the dryer box. The scope of this initial design allowed for the construction and testing one of the four proposed boxes, with plans provided to construct the additional boxes as needed.
DATE PROCESSING FOR NORTH AFRICA
Brandon Baas, Jeff Paepke, David Van Hal, Caleb G. Smith
Date farming is a center of industry and livelihood for towns in the Sahara desert. An entrepreneur in North Africa is starting a business to grind whole dates into a date powder, a sugar substitute. This business utilizes dry, bruised, or cracked dates which are otherwise worthless in the market. Our team was tasked with designing a dryer to reduce the moisture content of the dates before grinding. Due to the high cost of electricity and the abundance of sunlight in the region, the dryer was designed to use energy from the sun and require very little electrical power.
To meet these needs, the team designed an angled box which exposed the dates to direct sunlight. Energy from the sun heats up the dryer and evaporates water from the dates. Air is forced into the system through a thermostat-controlled fan on the bottom of the dryer, with air exiting through exhaust holes on top of the dryer. Internal temperatures must be regulated to prevent the dates from over-heating and caramelizing. Additional fans are placed on each shelf, to mix the air across the dates. These conditions create a suitable drying environment for the dates.
EAST CAMPUS REDEVELOPMENT
Joas Bies, Jalissa DeHaan, Colton Schreur, Tara Tilstra, Jose Benitez
As a growing college, soon to be university, with grand potential, it is necessary for Dordt’s campus to physically reflect its hopes and dreams of forming Christians that will become God’s stewards in the community. The East Campus Apartments are an area in need of updates. The six buildings have existed long past their anticipated life expectancy as temporary structures and are far behind the modern conveniences and housing needs met in the other dormitories and apartments on Dordt’s campus.
After consulting with the client, two apartment styles were created, with a modern architectural style being selected over a townhouse style. The final design features a two-winged building with four floors and reflects campus themes with brick, steel, and glass materials in common with other buildings. The apartments are designed to fit four or six occupants. A special feature of this new building is that the apartments can be converted into dorms for underclassmen. The central living space in the apartments can be divided to make the living room area into a two-person bedroom with the kitchen area becoming open to the hallway and other apartment sections. A key feature of the building is increased community space to provide much needed areas for students to fellowship, study, and relax outside of their living quarters.
FRACTIONAL DISTILLATION COLUMN
Gilbert Jimenez, Joe De Penning, Aaron Van Middendorp
Fractional distillation is the separation of a liquid mixture into individual components by the gradual increase of temperature. The goal of this project was to improve the chemical engineering curriculum at Dordt College (University) by developing an affordable, lab-scale fractional distillation column that gives hands-on experience to future students in the program. Undergraduate chemical engineering majors need hands-on experience because there are many jobs involving distillation in the workforce.
We designed a fractional distillation column that can output a purer substance from a mixture. In the distillation separation process, the lower boiling point component evaporates and rises to the top of the column to create the distillate while the lower boiling point component remains at the bottom of the column. A methanol-water mixture was tested, but other mixtures can be separated in the future. Our design allows for students to observe the distillation process through the glass section of the column. It also provides a very hands-on experience due to the manual start-up nature of the design.
HUMAN ASSISTIVE ROBOTIC EXOSKELETON
Rebecca Groninga, Adam Galloy, Elayne Apol
Robotic Exoskeletons are a wearable technology used to assist human operators with physical tasks. Since 2018, the University of Michigan has hosted an annual competition to design and build a robotic exoskeleton intended to assist rescue workers. The goal of the competition is to help address the need for collaborative, open-access, inexpensive exoskeleton technology and to help advance the field of wearable robotics. To be successful at competition, we wanted to make an exoskeleton that is simple, safe, and comfortable to wear.
To fulfill these criteria, we built an exoskeleton with an aluminum frame and a powered knee joint. The frame attaches to the user by a backpack element and three Velcro straps around the legs. It is adjustable to users between the heights of 5’4” and 6’2”. The knee of the exoskeleton frame is powered by an electric motor connected to a plunger that pushes on the lower leg, moving it forward. A combination of encoders and springs connected to the motor enable a microcontroller to determine when to assist the leg. We were able to complete the framing and the motor separately and take them both to the competition.
NECO GRAIN DRYER EFFICIENCY IMPROVEMENT
Tyson Dahlgrin, Keithen Drury, Ross Cooper
The goal of this project is to increase the fuel efficiency of AGI NECO’s 16-foot grain dryer. These grain dryers use propane or natural gas to heat air which is then blown through multiple layers of grain to dry the grain after harvest. Our task was to develop and test a prototype for a system that reduces fuel consumption by preheating the incoming air.
Pre-heating is accomplished by extracting energy from the grain dryer’s exhaust air. Incoming air is ducted through the dust collection system, allowing the two air streams to remain unmixed but surrounding the incoming air with heated exhaust air. This approach maximizes the surface area for heat transfer and minimizes the contact area of the incoming air ducts with cold outside air.
UNITED REFORMED CHURCH EXPANSION PROJECT
Alex Lokhorst, Lucas Van Eps
A growing congregation and confined facilities of the Sioux Center United Reformed Church have led the building committee to consider expansion. This project consisted of designing and estimating a new sanctuary and classroom addition. The church’s primary short-term need is additional classroom space, while long-term the church would like a more permanent worship space or dedicated sanctuary.
We worked in close consultation with the church’s building committee and engineering and construction professionals to develop two different design concepts. The two sanctuary designs consisted of one more basic and cost-effective option along with another higher-cost option offering better aesthetics and functionality. Both designs are intended to integrate well with the existing building configuration and provide increased seating capacity. To address the classroom need, we designed a classroom addition that could be constructed in stages, allowing the church to use its current sanctuary layout while gaining more classrooms. This project focused primarily on the building layout along with structural civil design.
SOLAR POWER FOR ONEVISION ORPHANAGE IN HAITI
Ben Hayes, Josiah Kotte, Keaton De Jong, Clay Hemphill
In order to reduce annual expenses, OneVision orphanage in Haiti hopes to transition to a full-time solar power system in place of a diesel generator.
We designed a solar powered system to give the orphanage off-grid power for both day and night. The system consisted of (15) 355W solar panels and a 19-kWh battery bank. We also designed a steel moment-frame pavilion with a footprint of 24 feet by 36 feet. The steel components were pre-fabricated for construction. The pavilion will be used to support the solar panels and provide an additional community area at the orphanage. Project materials were purchased and prepared, with the final construction to be completed by a future mission team.
SUMP PUMP MONITORING SYSTEM
Daniel Wunderink, Levi Knight, Kirk Carlson
Any home with a basement has some risk of flooding. Many basements have been designed with a sump pit and pump. Water around the house is directed into the pit where the sump pump then redirects the water away from the house or into a storm drain. While this solution is normally effective, there are many cases where pumps fails, or the water enters the pit faster than it can be pumped out. In these situations, the basement can sustain severe water damage. Our senior design project was to create a monitoring system for a sump pit so that the homeowner would be notified in advance if a pump did not turn on when it should or if the water level is too high.
To accomplish the monitoring, we used a series of float switches positioned at known depths to determine the level of water in the pit. Current sensors to determine if the pumps are on. Sensor inputs are fed to a Raspberry Pi computer to process the data, send results to a website, and send notification emails and texts. Our design also makes a reasonable estimate of flowrate into the sump pit. The monitoring system is also easy to interpret from the website and offers the convenience of automatic notifications.
David Davelaar, Yannick Habimana, Ryan Pasveer, Conner Stephens
The Jean Alexis Kuislin (JAK) Christian Academy of Ti-Riviére, Haiti, is separated from the community by a deep ravine that is dangerous to cross. The old solution to this problem was cardboard and a wooden pallet to help cross the muddy channel. After heavy rains it was impossible to cross. The school needed a bridge to span the gap. The design was limited by the financial constraints of Mission Haiti, the organization that runs the school. Construction equipment and methods were also limited by the remote location in Haiti and steep banks of the ravine. Limited material availability and construction time made for a third major design constraint.
The solution we provided is a 45 ft. single span suspension bridge, which allows the students and community members to cross the ravine safely. The design process consisted of two parts: concrete support structures and the superstructure. The concrete support structures consist of a buried, L shaped anchor block on each side of the ravine. There are also four tall, square concrete towers. The superstructure is made up of large cables that connect to the L shaped anchor blocks, run over top of the towers, and then span the entire 45 ft. Smaller cables hang from the main large cables to hold up the steel deck supports and the wooden bridge decking. All designs meet American design code standards. The construction was completed on April 18-21, 2018 by the design team and locals.
E.J. Hill, Jason Seeley
Dordt College has solar panels located on the roof the Science Building. They use solar energy to heat the air passed through them. Currently, they help heat the engineering department’s high-bay lab in the winter but are idle and disconnected during the summer. The Dordt College Engineering Department requested that we design a system that can use the hot air generated by the solar panels in order to reduce the amount of energy required to cool the building in the summer.
Our team designed a dehumidification system that uses a hygroscopic material, silica gel desiccant, to remove water from the air and lower the relative humidity of the engineering lab. This system includes two stages: adsorption and regeneration. In the adsorption stage, the desiccant adsorbs moisture from the inside air. Once the desiccant becomes saturated with water, the hot air from the solar panels is passed through it. This process regenerates, or dries, the desiccant. The resulting exhaust air is vented outside of the science building. Due to the properties of desiccant materials, this dehumidification system has no need for a compressor or water collection bucket. We estimated that this system can save about 650 Watts during operation, which corresponds to a savings of 5-6 cents/hr.
Laura Baridon, Trevor Bartz, Bryan Van Belle
An impact tester will be designed and built for use in Dordt College Material Science Labs. This will allow students to experimentally determine the toughness of different materials that they previously could only look up in textbooks. By using this impact tester, students will gain valuable hands on experience and a better understanding of impact energies. This will help them gain a greater appreciation for God’s creation and improve their competency as engineers if they choose to go into a related field.
An impact tester measures the impact energies of materials (the amount of energy necessary to fracture it). This is done with a swinging pendulum of known weight. Using the pendulum’s initial height and the height after impact, two potential energy values can be found. The difference between these potential energies is the impact energy. We built a Charpy Impact tester with a T-slotted aluminum frame and other commercially available parts. It is lightweight and is easily able to be used on a tabletop. Weights can be added to the pendulum head to allow testing of a greater range of materials. A DAQ collects the data and a LabVIEW program analyzes the data and calculates the impact energy.
DORDT COLLEGE SAE MINI BAJA
Ben Bajema, Jeff Heldt, Kyle Reitsma
Dordt College SAE Mini Baja is a competition-oriented design and fabrication project. The purpose of this project was to increase available intercollegiate competition options for Mechanical Engineering students at Dordt who are passionate about motorsports, with the goal of successfully competing in, and completing, all events in the 2018 Mini Baja Competition in Pittsburg, Kansas. This project included all aspects of production from concept and design through fabrication and competition.
We designed this year’s Mini Baja buggy for ruggedness and economy with a mind for safety. While some aspects of design are highly regulated, others have more freedom for modification. Our modifications focused primarily on suspension and drivetrain durability and effectiveness, while still providing significant range of motion with economical parts, both purchased and manufactured. As a team, we learned how to work effectively and efficiently using all the tools available, including SolidWorks® CAD modeling, welding and fabrication equipment, and general assembly tools.
Brandon Moore, Jordan Severson, Micah Tjeerdsma, Jason Vander Woude
Our clients, Dordt’s biology and agriculture departments, desired something to facilitate their small-scale experimental research on plants. They purchased a FarmBot from FarmBot Inc., a commercially available robotic gardening system that is still in its early stages of development. It’s capable of planting, watering, and weeding a garden. However, when our clients assembled it last summer, it did not operate as advertised. Thus, our primary task was to troubleshoot FarmBot’s operation. Since our clients also wanted to expand its capabilities, our secondary task was to design a tool that would sense pH levels in the soil.
In accordance with our primary task, we tested all electrical components such as motors and their respective wiring. After testing all these components, we realized that the issue was most likely related to FarmBot’s software. Soon after, FarmBot Inc. released an update that resolved most issues. In addition, we designed and built the pH sensing tool desired by our client. We made sure that the sensor was compatible with FarmBot, operating like all of FarmBot’s other tools. We also built a cleaning station and storage system that attach to FarmBot’s garden bed. These allow FarmBot to autonomously clean the pH sensor and store it in a pH 4.0 solution that protects it from degradation.
LIBERIA SOLAR-POWERED WATER SYSTEM
Jonathan Attema, Allyn Brummel, Davis Konynenbelt, Mark Schussler
One Body One Hope partnered with the Dordt College Engineering Department to design and install an off-grid solar powered water system. They were looking to find a way to provide clean drinking water and electricity to the workers on the One Body One Hope Liberia farm. Requested in this project was constant access to clean water, a battery bank to allow for the charging of devices, and watering troughs for the livestock.
This system was installed at the farm by an AMOR team over Christmas break. The system that was designed utilizes an underground water pump, storage tanks on a tower, and also has a battery bank that is charged by the solar panels. Two showers, auto-filling water troughs for their animals, and spigots by several buildings were also part of the water distribution network that was included. This project was successfully installed, and is fully operational.
PORTABLE RETAIL STRUCTURE
Jacob Cook, Arie Hoekstra, Taylor Neuroth, Ryan Ruenholl
A local business has a need for a portable retail building that can be transported in pieces and rapidly assembled at the sales location. The structure being designed must withstand natural forces that are common for Midwestern summers, secure products overnight, and require a minimal number of workers to assemble.
Our design is a 21 ft. x 24 ft. wood framed structure with exterior steel siding. Strengths of our design are highlighted by the modular nature of the structure. Individual vertical panels are bolted together to form the walls of the structure, and nearly horizontal panels are set on top of the walls to form the roof of our structure. Panels can be added or removed as determined by our customer in order to idealize floor space for a particular location. We performed a full structural analysis to ensure our structure can handle wind loads during a storm, and support a worker on the roof during assembly. The structure is restrained to the ground using concrete or soil anchor bolts (depending on location), and at least two 4000lb concrete blocks (1 per sidewall). This design serves the customer by meeting their needs of storm-proofing, product security, and ease of assembly.
Keith Heidema, Jacob Patrilla, Connor Pennings, Daniel Stevens, Brad Weber, Ashley Williams
The Kansas Land Institute came to us looking for a method of weed control between the rows of their perennial crops. Their current method is to have someone push a push mower through the rows. However, this is inconvenient because the crops grow to be about five feet tall. To solve this problem, they bought an old high clearance sprayer and asked us to convert it to a high clearance mower, allowing them to sit above the crops as they mow. The requirements for the mower system include being sturdy enough to cut alfalfa, be three rows wide, adjustable cut width, adjustable cut height, and preferably the mowers be placed in front of the tire paths.
In order to meet their needs, we designed a mower system that meets all of these requirements. The mechanical structure of the system involves three four-bar linkage systems that are attached in a way that places a mower in front of each of the three tires. The cut width is adjustable by changing the length of the blade, and the guard on the deck is designed to be adjustable to accommodate for different blade lengths. The front linkage of the system is attached to a hydraulic cylinder that raises and lowers the system, allowing for adjustable cut height. The two side linkages are connected to the front linkage by cables that are strategically placed to raise and lower the side mowers at the same height as the front mower.
“The mental rigor, spiritual discipline, worldview relevance, and communal support is unparalleled. You will grow as a person, an engineer, and a faithful disciple of Christ.”- Anderson Clare
Science and Technology Center
As an engineering major, you'll have the opportunity to spend time in Dordt's Science and Technology Center. Informally known as the "Science Building," the Science and Technology Center is home to labs for mechanical engineering, electronics, electrical engineering, and computer-aided design.Learn more
Dordt students and alumni use their gifts to make a difference in the world. Check out their stories to see how Defender Nation lives out our mission to work effectively toward Christ-centered renewal in all aspects of contemporary life.
During his time at Dordt, Nicholas learned invaluable skills that prepared him to enter the field of engineering and grew in many areas, especially in his spiritual life.
Nicholas KuperusRead More
Monique travels from Canada to get a Christian education and engineering degree
Monique LieuwenRead More
Dordt's engineering program prepared Andrew in ways he did not anticipate before entering the workforce.
Andrew De HaanRead More
Engineering and rap seem like two separate worlds, but at Dordt, Becca was able to pursue both interests.
Becca Groninga Merging rap music and an engineering degreeRead More
Beekman looks back and acknowledges the most valuable aspect of Dordt's engineering program being the grounding of their work within God's story.
Darrin BeekmanRead More
Kyle recognizes that the engineering program at Dordt prepared him in ways beyond the obvious coursework that allowed him to extend his faith and perspective into his future.
Kyle Vander ZeeRead More
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