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A General Structured Procedure to Solve Machine Design Problems

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Design Related

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

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Paper Authors


Joseph J. Rencis P.E. California State Polytechnic University-Pomona

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Dr. Joseph J. Rencis is the dean of engineering by the Clay N. Hixson Chair for Engineering Leadership, and professor of mechanical engineering at Tennessee Technological University. From 2004 to 2011, he was in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville and was Department Head, inaugural 21st Century Leadership Chair in Mechanical Engineering, and professor. From 1985 to 2004, he was professor and director of Engineering Mechanics in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. His research focuses on boundary element methods, finite element methods, atomistic modeling, and engineering education. He currently serves on the editorial board of Engineering Analysis with Boundary Elements and the Journal of Online Engineering Education. He is an associate editor of the International Series on Advances in Boundary Elements. He currently serves as chair of ASEE Professional Interest Council (PIC) III. He received the 2002 ASEE New England Section Teacher of Year Award, the 2004 ASEE New England Section Outstanding Leader Award, the 2006 ASEE Mechanics Division James L. Meriam Service Award, and the 2010 ASEE Midwest Section Outstanding Service Award. Rencis is a fellow of ASEE and ASME. He received a B.S. from Milwaukee School of Engineering in 1980, a M.S. from Northwestern University in 1982, and a Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University in 1985.

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Hartley T. Grandin Jr. Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)

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Hartley T. Grandin, Jr. was Professor Emeritus of Engineering Mechanics and Design in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). He authored the textbook Fundamentals of the Finite Element Method published by Macmillan in 1986. When he retired from WPI in 1996, he taught a mechanics of materials course each year. In 1983 he received the WPI Board of Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Teaching. Dr. Grandin received his B.S. in 1955 and an M.S. in 1960 in Mechanical Engineering from WPI and a Ph.D. in Engineering Mechanics from the Department of Metallurgy, Mechanics and Materials Science at Michigan State University in 1972. He passed away in March 2013.

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This paper presents a general structured procedure using eight steps to solve machine design problems. The design of a circular shaft subjected to combined loading is presented to show the general structured procedure. All equations are formulated symbolically and solved using a modern engineering tool. One significant advantage is that symbolic equations can be solved for any variable value. Therefore, the design process generally requires solving problems over a range of variable values to obtain a satisfactory design. An essential part of our approach is educating our students to question, test, and verify “answers” to all of their problem solutions. Verifying answers is done by developing and implementing test case scenarios to verify the problem’s validity. Lecture examples and homework problems throughout the course are solved with all equations formulated symbolically, and test cases are used to verify the equations. The circular shaft design project is divided into multiple phases. Each phase of the project requires the material covered up to a point in the course. A project phase is assigned once a topic is covered in the lecture, and reinforced through homework and quizzes.

Rencis, J. J., & Grandin, H. T. (2021, July), A General Structured Procedure to Solve Machine Design Problems Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--36582

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