5 aspiring engineers share their experiences

Special thanks to 26670 NCdt Katherine Silins for coordinating this article on behalf of e-Veritas

Engineering exam schedules are notorious for being challenging and intense;  exam after exam with the interim chock-full of late-night study sessions and memorization. This semester, though, fourth-year engineers have one less exam to study for due to their design project. Also known as a thesis, each department has a different process for the creation and execution of their final project.

Following are five testimonials from a IV year cadet from each department:

The Civil Engineering department thesis projects focus in on the various sub-disciplines learned throughout our 4 years at RMC. Environmental, structural, and geotechnical engineering are all represented in the various projects. As a part of one of six groups, my thesis consists of designing a new building to house the Peace Support Training Centre on CFB Kingston. Together with OCdt Wiesenberg, OCdt Switzer, and NCdt Lee, the major focus of the semester has been understanding and refining the project requirements, and beginning our preliminary structural design. The greatest challenge we have faced so far is simply discovering every factor that must be considered in the design of an entire building. In mid October we presented for our first design review in front of the faculty. During the question and answer period the professors gave us many useful critiques and pointers on how to move forward in our design.

26068 OCdt Andrew Ernst (Civil Engineering)

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Many different theses are available to the Mechanical Engineering Department. My partner, 26415 OCdt DeBoer and I chose the “Removable Gunship Capability for the CC-130J Hercules”. Our task it to mount the M242 Bushmaster to the aircraft without making any modifications to the airframe. Since both the weapon and the J model aircraft are still in service, many documents are classified, which has been the biggest obstacle in designing our weapon system. Our supervisor, Capt Leithead is very knowledgeable and has provided us with many contacts who helped us find the required information. This semester we have produced two iterations of the design, and in January we plan on having the final design. Next semester will consist of refining the design using ANASYS modeling in order to simulate loads being applied. Numerous oral presentations throughout the semester has provided us with guidance and support as departmental professors have given us design points that we had not yet researched in enough depth.

26334 OCdt Ioan Zaharia (Mechanical Engineering)

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The design projects in the department of Chemical Engineering consist of the design of large-scale, multi-stage processes, providing solutions to real problems. This semester has seen the projects progress from the conceptual stage, all the way to a process flow diagram. My design project is to design a state-of-the-art reverse osmosis desalination facility, along with OCdt Brent Kershaw (IV), and NCdt Daniel Presseau (IV), that would be able to supply the municipal water needs of around 2000 people. On the 24th, the three design groups presented our posters to the faculty. The presentation gave us a chance to find out how well we were able to back up our work, as well as receiving valuable input from faculty members. Even though we have worked hard, a lot of work remains, with our mass/energy balances, economic analysis, and hazards analysis all remaining to be done next semester.

26446 OCdt Stanley Bennett (Chemical Engineering)

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Our thesis is best described as many sleepless nights and endless streams of paper flowing from the printer. The 16 of us were given a nearly impossible task and asked to come up with a solution. Over two semesters we are expected to conduct both the conceptual design and preliminary design phases of a CC-138 Twin Otter replacement. The twist being that our replacement must be able to take off and land vertically as well as conventionally. This, to many, may seem unimpressive. To put this task into perspective we have been asked to design an aircraft that is more capable and less expensive than the only other aircraft on the market with the same vertical takeoff capabilities. We have to work as a team learning how to make compromises in every design decision that we make. When one team member makes a change we all must make a change. These changes happen constantly through the semester. At the end of the semester we deliver a report that outlines every decision that we made and why before presenting our aircraft design in front of academic, military and industry experts. Next semester we will find ourselves in the lab for many more nights as we work to move forward into the preliminary design phase. We will be striving to produce a deliverable that solves the problems brought to us by the experts while still working off of the design decisions that we have made. Next semester, as Dr. Perez would say, we will be “paying for the decisions that that we made in the conceptual design phase”.

26490 NCdt Taylor Donovan (Aeronautical Engineering)

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In the department of Electrical and Computer engineering, theses are slightly different from those in other engineering departments as, since software is not physical, a full implementation of a suggested solution can be created instead of the modelling and experimentation that is often required in different departments. As a 4th year computer software engineer, my thesis is attempting to create a Wearable Wireless Gait Monitor that would replace existing static and non-portable systems. With my partner 26262 Alexandre Lavoie (IV), under the direction of Dr. Alain Beaulieu, this semester as mostly consisted of planning and research and design to ensure that we fully understand the depth of our project and how to proceed effectively and safely. Last week, we presented our progress and plan to the department in order to receive permission to continue. The presentation was nerve-wracking as it was in front of most of our teachers, but the question period was the hardest, has we struggled to come up with answers to questions we hadn’t considered on the spot. Next semester, we will continue with the design, testing and implementation of our system, working towards a solution that we will present to the department at the end of the semester.

26670 NCdt Katherine Silins (Computer Engineering)