Engineering students work with local company


Photo by Jordan Johnson

From left to right, engineering students TImothy Fair, Sam Goulet and Shaun Plunkett discuss their senior design project.

Four senior engineering students developed a more beneficial way to maximize the efficiency of a cooling and heating system for a research project.

Timothy Fair, a senior in the College of Engineering, works part-time at Modine Manufacturing Company, a thermal management company in Racine, Wisconsin. Fair has been working on the project since August 2017.

Fair, the team captain of the project, said he and his co-worker at Modine came up with the project. He then asked fellow students Sam Goulet, Luke Klusmeyer, and Shaun Plunkett to work together for their senior year design project, which is mandatory for College of Engineering students.

“You can create a team with your friends and either have Marquette pick a project for you, or if you’re working for a company, you can talk to the company and have them create a project for you,” Goulet said.

Fair said the Marquette team was focused on the heating, ventilation and cooling side of engineering.

“We actually made a system and retrofitted and added to the unit that has already been produced,” Fair said.

The unit they were modifying is a “adiabatic” cooling system, which is a process that changes air pressure to reduce heat. Goulet said the project is a “huge air conditioning unit you would put on an industrial building.”

Rob Bedard, a principal engineer at Modine, took on the role of the industry advisor after Fair and him discussed possible ideas for Fair’s senior design project.

Bedard said he met with the team every few weeks.

“It’s been really nice to work with a different team than I am used to on a day-to-day basis,” Bedard said.

Bedard helped the team with calculation and design problems that arose.

“It’s been a learning experience for me as well,” Bedard said. “I  had to revisit some topics I hadn’t touched in a little while.”

Somesh Roy, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering, was the Marqeutte professor connected with the project.

Students doing the project are utilizing theories that they learned in my class,” Roy said.

Fair said professors have given the four seniors helpful information to use in real-life situations.

Aside from giving you the book knowledge, if you go out of the way and talk to the professors, they give you the applicable knowledge you need,” Fair said. “They shaved down your broad view of engineering to what you specifically like.”

The next steps of the project are not set in stone. Bedard said presentations of the project are slated to start in May.

“The plan is for either another senior group or Modine to take this over,” Goulet said.

As for the four seniors involved in the project, they will not graduate until next December because of an extended co-op internship.

Fair is hoping to pursue graduate school after he graduates from Marquette.

The engineering students said they are grateful for this project because it offered hands-on work in the engineering field.

“Before this experience, I had no real experience dealing with heating, ventilation and air conditioning. This was a whole new spectrum of engineering I had never encountered before,” Goulet said.

Fair said he believes energy is what makes the world go round.

“I learned from Modine … we can start helping the world by cutting down energy costs,” Fair said.