Welcome to Real World Engineering

ME443 & ME444: Mechanical Design I & II

Welcome to Real World Engineering

Mechanical Engineering Design is a two-semester capstone design sequence. The Capstone Design courses provide students an industry-like experience that includes technical, business, and professional skill development. Topics vary, but they often include engineering design process, proposal development, engineering project management, plus computer-aided design, simulation, and modeling.

In the fall semester, students form design teams and progress from the proposal phase through the critical design stages of the project. In the spring, they continue with prototyping, fabricating, testing and then evaluating their projects. The students present their projects and reports that document their designs during a formal Capstone Day.

Student Benefits

Industry wants graduating engineers to be well rounded, with a strong technical foundation, and possess strong business acumen. The capstone design sequence provides students a richer, practice-based experience, builds stronger professional skills and helps ensure they are ready to contribute significantly upon graduation. The program scope allows students to demonstrate greater innovation and creativity and replicates the engineering project business cycle.  Student involvement provides a competitive edge, not only during the hiring decision process, but also as they begin their careers. 


In the 2016 / 2017 academic year, Mechanical Engineering had four capstone design projects, including those sponsored by the DOD and private industry.  For example, Technical Data Analysis Corporation of Falls Church, VA sponsored a project focused on the design of a portable wind turbine.  Their technical requirements included:

  • Maximum rotor diameter 150 cm (59 inch) (5ft)
  • Cut in speed of 2.5 m/s (5.6 mph)
  • Maximum weight 4 kg (8.8 lb.)
  • 30,000 mAh battery charging
  • 300W peak power capability
  • Numerical simulation of the aerodynamics for the chosen blade design
  • Computation and optimization of the wind turbine performances  
  • Extensive additive manufacturing

The team’s final design, tested in the US Naval Academy’s wind tunnel, exceeded expectations and reflects the dedication and capabilities of the student team and their advisors.

The George Mason University and Volgenau School of Engineering family is proud of the significant accomplishments of its dedicated student teams.