Semester-Long Team Project Integrating Materials and Mechanics Concepts

Semester-Long Team Project Integrating Materials and Mechanics Concepts

Kyle G. Gipson (James Madison University, USA) and Robert J. Prins (James Madison University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1798-6.ch049
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The Madison Engineering Department is an undergraduate non-discipline specific engineering program. The program maintains the university-wide liberal arts core and blends engineering science fundamentals with sustainable design to integrate environmental, social, economic, and technical contexts plus systems thinking within the academic experience. Madison Engineering is dedicated to the development of engineering versatilists who can readily integrate knowledge from historically different fields of engineering. In support of this development, several courses within the curriculum integrate topics to provide space for future engineers to not be constrained by disciplinary boundaries but demonstrate the ability to adapt and work across disciplines within team atmospheres. The focus of this paper is on a course project that integrates concepts from the traditional content of stand-alone courses (materials science and mechanics of materials) via a semester long design project in which students must incorporate knowledge of both sets of content.
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Madison Engineering Curriculum

The Madison Engineering program was established to instruct, train, and guide engineering versatilists. The curriculum combines a campus-wide, liberal arts general educational core with courses in mathematics, science, science, engineering specific design, science, and management, systems analysis, and sustainability (Nagel, Gipson, & Ogundipe, 2014). Individual skills taught developmentally through the curriculum beginning in the first year. Courses are blended with engineering science fundamentals and engineering design theory concepts, which are ultimately utilized in various projects. With this backdrop, the program also equips students with opportunities outside of the traditional academic environment inclusive of industrial facility tours, community service, and study aboard programs. The program ultimately aims to engage students and to aid in their development of knowledge, skills and values.

Description of Course: ENGR 314 Materials and Mechanics

The following case study is focused on the project that is in the ENGR 314: Materials & Mechanics course. Materials & Mechanics is a four credit hour lecture/laboratory required course within the Madison Engineering curriculum. ENGR 314 is most often taken in the third year and was created to provide students with a working foundation to explore the governing principles of materials science and the mechanics of materials. Typical class size is 25 students per section, with two sections running per semester.

Depicted in Table 1 are the pedagogical methods within the course and the four major topic areas are listed as follows:

  • Materials Science

    • o

      Material Properties and Structure

    • o

      Product Development – Materials Selection

  • Mechanics

    • o

      Characterization of Mechanical Properties

    • o

      Analysis of Structural Elements

The multidisciplinary nature of the Materials & Mechanics course provides students with traditional content from materials science and mechanics of materials. The Mechanics portion allows students to advance their knowledge about loads on physical structures while gaining hands-on testing and analysis experience. The Materials portion guides the students through investigations of scale, composition, and quantity. Product development is also discussed within the Materials portion through materials selection process based on designing from desired characteristics to developing subsystems that facilitate desired results. The course also includes a semester-long team design project that requires students to integrate knowledge of mechanics of materials with materials science in response to a short design brief representative of a real-world scenario.

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