Does the “sensor dry” function on a clothes dryer really work and does it save energy?  Is there any benefit to balancing the tires on an ATV?  Are automotive ceramic brake pads worth the extra money?  How much more efficient is your refrigerator if it is full?  These and many other questions were answered by NMU engineering technology students enrolled in the Testing and Data Acquisition class (ET 410) this past semester. 

For a semester project, the students were required to develop a test to answer a question they had regarding some type of product.  Professor Mike Martin comments, “it is a great project that gives the students a hands-on experience that mirrors what many will be tasked to do early in their engineering careers”.   The student developed test plans, specified equipment, setup and performed their test, and analyzed the data to determine answers to their question.   

A group found that a clothes dryer sensor dry function effectively determines when clothes are dry and prevents unnecessary drying time, saving energy. 

It was found that under severe braking conditions, ceramic brakes pads result in considerably lower brake rotor temperatures than conventional brake pads.  

In another project it was determined that it takes an excess amount of unbalanced weight (over 5 lbs) on the tires of an ATV to generate any significant vibration. 

Another group tested a dorm size refrigerator with varying amounts of beverages inside.  They found that the refrigerator was on a timed cycled as opposed to a thermostat, therefore power consumption was equal regardless of the fullness of the refrigerator.  However it was found that the full fridge stayed 3-5°F colder than a nearly empty fridge. 

The students presented the results of their findings to their classmates and other members of the university community during the last week of classes.