Sample Project Proposal

Following is a sample project proposal that matches the fields required for submission. Your proposal can be as technical as this one, or more general. The student teams go through a rigorous customer requirement phase, so whatever you don’t include in your proposal will be fleshed out with your team at the start of the program.

Project Name: Metal Surface Quality Characterization

Course: Select appropriate academic year

Sponsor Company:& AA Engineering

Project Contacts: Select yourself or other contacts who will be working with student team

Project Type: Industry

Project Intellectual Property: Company Controlled

Project Citizenship Restriction: No

Project Scope: Shiny metal items such as high quality stainless steel knives and spatulas, and sink drains, can have their perfect mirror finish degraded by dishwasher detergents.  This can be manifested in several ways like white hard water deposits (streaks and spots), etching causing a change in surface texture and roughness, loss of shine/gloss, and discolorations (like an oil stain on water).  Measurement of these characteristics by traditional means such as glossmeters, spectrophotometers, profilometers, and digital imaging is challenging or not feasible due to the field of view required and (mostly) due to the extremely reflective nature of the surfaces.

Scope: (1) Work with AA Engineering scientists (optics/imaging, and chemists) to understand the current human visual grading system that is used.  AA Engineering will supply samples of perfect items and items that have been degraded in various ways.  (2) Evaluate existing off the shelf technology and see if it will be sufficient or if we need to design a custom system from simpler individual components.  (3)  Design optical or electronic setup to detect and quantify the shine, etching, and discoloration over the whole item (not just a small spot).  (4) Build a prototype system, complete with optical, mechanical, and electrical diagrams.  (5) If computer analysis of data or images is required, write computer software to control the equipment, capture the raw data, and turn the raw data into metrics that are meaningful to humans and correlate with human visual grades.  (6) Test system on supplied metal items and iterate on previous steps until an optimal design is found.  (7) Develop plans (including cost estimates) to turn the lab prototype into a standalone, compact, turnkey system that can be used in an AA Engineering lab.  (8) Present results in a video conference and PowerPoint presentation to a group of AA Engineering scientists.

Additional Resources: AA Engineering will supply the metal items.  Because of the remote company location, video conference room would be good for the university team to present the final report or interim progress reports to the sponsor.

Skills Requested: optical engineering, spectroscopy or color science, surface science, computer programming, image analysis, data analysis and visualization.  Bonus knowledge: material science, chemistry, mechanical engineering, statistics, psychophysical/psychological studies.

Disciplines Requested Number Needed
Optical Sciences and Engineering 2
Electrical Engineering 2
Systems & Industrial Engineering 1
Material Science and Engineering 1

Documents to Attach

  • PDF schematic of three test items
  • PDF article regarding current human visual grading systems

Sponsor Company: AA Engineering, Cincinnati, Ohio

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