Grunge or Grunge Lab is the more familiar name for ME1800, Material Selection and Manufacturing Processes. The course serves as an introduction to Manufacturing Engineering.
In this course, students used to do sand castings to create aluminum spools. "We've been making that spool [in ME1800] for about 30 years," said former Principal Lab Technician Joe Gale in the Winter 1996 edition of the WPI Journal. "There's usually a waiting list to get in the class. Some of them will take it in their senior year, not necessarily for credit but just to have the experience, to see how things are made. Because you can read all the books, see all the pictures, but you've got to get your hands into it."
Since then, Grunge has changed and the spools are gone. "Now the students learn manufacturing principles," says Christopher Brown, "by machining, measuring and assembling Stirling engines-external combustion engines that run on a low pressure thermodynamic cycle, where air is heated to move a piston and then cooled."