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A Comparison of Succeeding Mission-Critical Mechanical Engineering Design/Fabrication Projects.

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2020 ASEE North Central Section conference


Morgantown, West Virginia

Publication Date

March 27, 2020

Start Date

March 27, 2020

End Date

May 20, 2020

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Russell L. Rhoton Baker College

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Dr. Russell L. Rhoton is currently a Professor and the Director of Engineering at the Jackson campus of Baker College. Dr. Rhoton took his doctoral, master's and bachelors' degrees from Eastern Michigan University, and taught there for many years prior to coming to Baker College of Engineering. His research areas are materials modification by use of energetic plasmas, and design of processing equipment.

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The project, aimed at drawing crowds of local people to our combination Charity event and Engineering Open house late in October, became known as “The Halloween Pumpkin Flinging for Charity at XXX College School of Engineering”. The first attempt was successful both from a financial standpoint ($350 raised) and perhaps more importantly, showed creditable data indicating that student groups, when faced with a problem beyond or outside their skill sets, naturally (with minimal steering) followed a plan of their own that turned out to be basically indistinguishable from that of Bloom’s Taxonomy. This paper is a report of the outcomes of the second attempt to allow a student design group to research, plan, design, fabricate and test a modern version of an ancient device (catapult) while watching for adherence to an ‘internalized’ version of Bloom’s as was seen in the previous group. Beginning with the same requirements as defined the first attempt, size, payload, distance, and overall time frame, we expected that the group, although smaller in number, would follow roughly the same path as the previous class and arrive at the end of the project after having spent the design/build period developing the same high-order skills. Results indicate, however, that while the standard tasks of the pyramid did indeed propel the group toward the project end, the addition of an unexpected failure added an additional test of the validity of the ‘internalized pyramid’ theory and its influence on the final outcome. Again, the group succeeded, although not without setbacks, as described in later sections.

Rhoton, R. L. (2020, March), A Comparison of Succeeding Mission-Critical Mechanical Engineering Design/Fabrication Projects. Paper presented at 2020 ASEE North Central Section conference, Morgantown, West Virginia.

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