June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.47.1 - 12.47.13
A Holistic Review of Mechanical Design Curriculum in An Engineering Technology Program Abstract
In most of the mechanical and manufacturing engineering technology programs, mechanical design is a critical course for students to acquire the knowledge and skill in design of mechanical components and systems. While the course contents generally include important topics, such as failure theories and machine elements, a holistic mechanical design education should also address the interdependency between various subjects related to mechanical design. The subject of mechanical design should be viewed as an “integrated curriculum,” not an isolated course. As a result of a professional development project with the Sandia National Laboratories (SNL), the Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology (MMET) program at Texas A&M University (TAMU) has embarked on a critical review of its mechanical design curriculum. This paper presents the collaboration between TAMU and SNL on the education development project, the on-going curriculum review of mechanical design courses, and the initial findings and recommendations for the MMET program at TAMU. The methodology in this study can be used as a continuous improvement process for engineering technology education.
The typical mechanical engineering technology curriculum consists of a mechanical design course or sequence. Taken during the junior and/or senior years, these courses carry titles such as Mechanical Design, Machine Design, Machine Element Design, and Mechanical System Design. In this context, design means to create a component or a system to meet the desired functional requirements. Thus, the objective of the course is to provide the concepts, methodologies, knowledge, analytical skills, and decision-making techniques necessary to design mechanical parts (components), devices, and systems. Building upon the students’ knowledge of statics, dynamics, and strength of materials, the course Fundamentals of Mechanical Design often focuses on the topics of design methodology, stress analysis, failure theories, and material selections. The course in machine design introduces the theories and application of machine elements such as gears, bearing, springs, fasteners.
Real-world design requires designers to have a broad knowledge base and skill set. A designer has to be able to visualize the spatial relationship of components, to use computer-aided design (CAD) tools to communicate design concepts, to specify dimensions and tolerances, and to identify appropriate processes for part manufacturing. In addition, mechanical designers are often expected to conduct stress analysis and selection materials, to estimate costs, to manage multiple projects, and to work effectively on a team. In the academic world, a cluster of knowledge is grouped into courses for efficient learning of these subjects . It is clear that the task of mechanical design can only be accomplished with the knowledge and skill acquired from various courses. Thus, a capstone design course is commonly in place for students to acquire integrating experience. Efforts have been made to develop different approaches to the capstone course, and the format and the implementation of the course vary from institution to institution [2-8]. While the capstone course can better prepare students to enter the work force, the effort seems too little too late. Other than the prerequisites specified for relevant courses, a holistic
ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2007 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015