Phone: (208) 885-6579
Fax: (208) 885-9031
Engineering Physics (EP)
875 Perimeter Drive MS 0902
Moscow, ID 83844-0902
Contact Denise Engebrecht
Phone: (208) 364-6123
Fax: (208) 364-3160
Idaho Water Center
322 E. Front Street
Boise, ID 83702
Contact Debbie Caudle
Phone: (208) 282-7983
Fax: (208) 282-7929
1776 Science Center Drive, Suite 306
Idaho Falls, Idaho 83402
Welcome from the Chair
Dear Alumni and Friends of the Department of Mechanical Engineering,
I recently returned from a trip to the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California, to discuss some research projects. The department sends a number of students there every summer to participate in research areas such as high-altitude balloons and space structures. During the course of one conversation, I asked one of the lead scientists of a project how University of Idaho engineering graduates perform, and he told me that they rank just as well as graduates from larger institutions. In fact, he said that they prize U-Idaho mechanical engineering graduates because of their excellent hands-on experience in our program; the students understand not only how to design things, but how to build them as well. This hands-on experience is something that is lacking at other schools. I have heard from many other employers in the region that they, too, value our graduates and recognize the quality of the education received.
During a workshop sponsored by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, a distinguished group of educators and industry leaders met together to determine what the future of engineering education should look like. They produced a document titled Vision 2030, Creating the Future of Mechanical Engineering Education, and in it they recommended that engineering curricula have a “design spine.” A “design spine” is a vertically integrated set of courses that require engineering graduates to take design courses during each of their four years of study.
The curriculum in the mechanical engineering department at the University of Idaho already contains such a set of courses:
- Freshmen take ME 123, Introduction to Mechanical Design, where they participate in a number of design projects.
- During the sophomore year, students take ME 223, where they learn the ins and outs of the design process.
- During the junior year, students take ME 301 and ME 325, Computer Aided Design and Machine Design.
- Finally, the design spine ends with the two-semester capstone senior design sequence. As I visit with the graduating seniors, the vast majority tell me that the best experience they had was in their senior design course.
Although we emphasize design, it is not to say that our students lack knowledge in the basics of engineering. Our students passed the nationwide Fundamentals of Engineering exam at a rate of 93%, much better than the national pass rate, which is around 80%. Our students receive a tremendous education at the University of Idaho.
Please let us know how your experience was at the university. Our email is firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you.
John C. Crepeau, Ph.D., P.E.
Professor and Chair
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Study Abroad — One Person's Experience
The best way to talk about studying in Austria would be the Austrian way: in a café, over a beer or a coffee. Much of my semester in Graz was spent exploring the different pubs, cafés and restaurants, but I did not choose to study in Graz for spring semester of 2011 because of the food.
I lived in a residence hall full of international students. With so many cultures packed into one place, one might expect a lot of conflict. However, what came to the surface most often were the things we had in common: a desire to see the world and an interest in other cultures, as well as science and engineering and an interest in having fun.
All of the engineering classes I took were taught in English, with the exception of biomechanics, where I learned a very specific set of German vocabulary, including my personal favorite, Halswirbelsäulenverletzungen, meaning “injuries to the cervical vertebrae.”
EFI 101 Trip Report
This past summer, with help from the National Institute of Advanced Transportation Technology (NIATT), eight of the University of Idaho Formula Hybrid SAE team members were able to attend the EFI 101 course held at PINA Motorsports in Kent, Washington. This course is put on by EFI University with the intention of teaching its students the basics of factory and aftermarket engine management systems and how they are integrated with internal combustion engines.
Making Kinetic Rain
There is an enormous amount of potential energy bound in 2.5 cm of rainfall. If the falling rainwater could be transformed into kinetic energy, then it could be used to power a car.
Students were given ½ liter of water and it had to be stored 16 cm above the ground. They were then tasked with designing a vehicle to convert the potential energy to kinetic energy and see how far their vehicles could travel.
Announcements, Awards and Achievements
In the classroom and beyond - Mechanical Engineering is doing some exceptional things.