Loading...
Home 2018-08-08T11:50:46-05:00
Submit A Project
Become A Client
Donate To Capstone Program

Featured Project

Featured Project

Frequently Asked Questions

All participants in the Materials Science and Engineering Capstone Project I and II courses, including students, faculty clients, and industry public or private clients, are encouraged to consider the following benefits and challenges prior to the start of student projects, so that any questions or concerns can be discussed prior to the formation and assignment of the project team.

Students gain numerous benefits from these projects. Students get an opportunity to develop their technical problem solving skills while working in a team environment, similar to “real world” engineers. The students are exposed to project management challenges, including time constraints, material availability, and technical limitations.

There are also many benefits for clients participating in the Materials Science and Engineering Capstone Project I and II courses. These benefits include closely interacting with students, getting access to potential future employees, exposing students to the client’s laboratory, company or industry, and getting input on specific projects suggested by the client. Many clients have had real problems solved by participating in the course.

However, these courses do lead to competing objectives. Everyone needs to remember that the paramount objective is the education of the students. The student participants are undergraduate students, so clients should understand that this course is not a “work for hire” program and that there are no guarantees that the students will be able to solve the specific problems of the project.

In addition, one of the course requirements is dissemination of information through course presentations and team meeting, websites, conference presentations, and possibly publications.  Clients are encouraged to take appropriate steps to protect any confidential information that they determine is relevant to the team project. As part of the educational objective, the client can discuss with the students the appropriate safeguards to maintain the confidentiality of the sponsor’s information. However, clients need to remember that these are undergraduate students and to use prudence when disclosing any information to students. Clients should be aware that as a public institution, UW-Madison cannot agree to keep our work with each other confidential indefinitely.

Clients and students are also encouraged to discuss material, supplies and testing requirements for the project with their client to become familiar with the policies regarding the appropriate use of UW facilities, laboratory equipment, and safety procedures.  All participants in the Materials Science and Engineering Capstone Project I and II courses, including students, faculty clients, and industry public or private clients, are encouraged to consider the following benefits and challenges prior to the start of student projects, so that any questions or concerns can be discussed prior to the formation and assignment of the project team.

Students gain numerous benefits from these projects. They get an opportunity to develop their technical problem solving skills while working in a team environment, engaging in true engineering practice. They also deal with typical project management challenges, including time constraints, material availability, and technical limitations.

Clients also gain numerous benefits from the projects. These benefits include closely interacting with students, gaining access to potential future employees, exposing students to the client’s laboratory, company or industry, and getting input on specific projects suggested by the client. Many clients have had real problems solved by capstone project teams.

However, everyone involved (students and clients) needs to remember that the paramount objective is the education of the students. Capstone is still an academic course, and the student participants are undergraduate students. Clients should understand that this course is not a “work for hire” program and that there are no guarantees that the students will be able to solve the specific problems of the project.

In addition, one of the course requirements is dissemination of information through course presentations and team meeting, websites, conference presentations, and possibly publications. Clients are encouraged to take appropriate steps to protect any confidential information that they determine is relevant to the team project. As part of the educational objective, the client can discuss with the students the appropriate safeguards to maintain the confidentiality of the sponsor’s information. However, clients need to remember that these are undergraduate students and to use prudence when disclosing information. Clients should be aware that as a public institution, UW-Madison cannot agree to keep our work with each other confidential indefinitely.

Confidentiality and intellectual properties are complex and evolving issues. Clients with specific concerns should contact the course coordinator for more detailed discussion.

Clients and students are also encouraged to discuss material, supplies and testing requirements for the project with their client to become familiar with the policies regarding the appropriate use of UW facilities, laboratory equipment, and safety procedures. On-campus material science laboratory equipment is available for projects at the following locations: Core College of Engineering Research Facilities, the Materials Science Center, and the Soft Materials Center.

The undergraduate Materials Science and Engineering students are bright, motivated and resourceful. The students are responsible for the following deliverables during each semester:

  • A weekly progress report (including expenses) by email
  • A mid semester presentation
  • A final poster and presentation
  • A final technical report to the client and course instructor

Capstone is a service-learning course. The primary goal of the course is to educate students in the engineering design process. We anticipate that students will learn material science design principles, personnel and financial management, manufacturing, ethical behavior, leadership and communication skills during the course of their experience in these projects.

Clients offer a design problem suitable for undergraduate Materials Science and Engineering students to solve in two semesters. In addition, clients are expected to provide the following to the student team:

  • Time and attention to the student design team, either in person or by designated staff member or electronically. The time commitment is typically eight hours per semester, although greater involvement is welcome! Clients can coordinate with their team by telephone or video (Skype or web conference), not only face to face.
  • Budget limits and financial support for use of Materials Science and Engineering facilities and laboratory equipment, necessary testing material, and testing time. A fee may be charge for administrative support, preventative or corrective lab equipment maintenance, and/or overhead costs.
  • Guidance and compliance regarding all of the appropriate UW safety protocols that are applicable.

Clients should meet with their student teams frequently and are strongly encouraged to attend mid semester project presentations and final presentation sessions.

Each client establishes a budget and spending limits for their project, suited to the project scope and goals. Our experience is that costs for projects in this course are nominal. Projects typically run between $1000 to $3000 for materials and use of UW-Madison facilities and laboratory equipment, training by staff, and mentoring by faculty or staff. Overall cost will be greater (up to $7000) if specialized UW test equipment, materials required, and length/number of tests are involved. The client coordinates with the students on all testing requirements for their project. Expenses can be paid by providing the MSE department the spending limit and the expected budget. Expenses will then be tracked, and the department will issue invoices to the client for payment. Students will report expenditures and projected costs weekly in the project report (by email). Student time is provided free of charge.

Prior to the beginning of the semester, the Materials Science and Engineering Capstone Project course instructor will review the submitted project descriptions. The project descriptions provided by the client will be made available to the students one week before classes begin. Students choose projects and their teammates in a lottery-type process on the second Wednesday of the semester, then they contact their clients to get to work.

Not every submitted project can be undertaken in a given year. The best projects have a strong emphasis on material science and the principles of materials design, selection, and application; and a project definition that invites creativity, application of sound materials principles, incorporation of realistic design constraints (economic, environmental, health and safety, societal impact) and analysis, and presentation of project results. If a submitted project is not selected for a given year, sponsors will be contacted to either keep the project active for an additional year or withdraw it. Potential clients should feel free to submit as many projects as they want.

Contact Info

Russ Haas
MSE Capstone Projects

Coordinator and Instructor
capstone@mse.wisc.edu

Capstone Projects:

Capstone  projects are the culminating academic and intellectual experience for our students in their final year of undergraduate study. They require students to integrate the knowledge and skills they have gained throughout the curriculum to solve problems creatively. The projects are also a sustained, year-long exercise in true engineering practice, from project planning through execution to delivery of results.

MSE students work on a projects in materials design, selection, and application. The two capstone project courses (MSE 470 and 471)  develop skills problem identification, experimental design, data acquisition and analysis, and presentation of results, with an emphasis on creativity and application of fundamental engineering principles.

Clients play a key role in defining, supporting, and guiding capstone projects.

Students work in teams to apply their knowledge to solve a directed, client-based materials science and engineering design project. They will work closely together with their client in development and execution a statement of work, use of research laboratory facilities, and conducting design of experiments culminating with a project report and presentation of research results to the client.

We tailor the capstone project teams to the engineering needs of our clients, including creating interdisciplinary engineering teams involving MSE students and students from other departments across the College of Engineering to meet client needs.

MSE 470 Course Catalog Description

MSE 471 Course Catalog Description