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A Student Developed Teaching Demo Of An Automatic Transmission

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.104.1 - 6.104.13



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Paper Authors

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Scott Dennis

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Jeff Ball

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Martin Bowe

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Daniel Jensen

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

MultiMedia Session 2793

A Student-Developed Teaching Demo of an Automatic Transmission Scott Dennis, Martin Bowe, Jeff Ball, and Dan Jensen Department of Engineering Mechanics US Air Force Academy, CO


The core curriculum at the United States Air Force Academy emphasizes the engineering disciplines. The capstone of the core curriculum is a unique engineering design course, Engr 410—Engineering Systems Design, all cadets take regardless of academic major. In this course, sections of approximately 16-18 senior cadets are randomly grouped resulting in a diverse mix of academic majors, abilities, etc. Each section responds, as a class, to a faculty prepared statement-of-work (SOW). The SOW specifies requirements for a system the cadets must design and build without mention of how to meet those requirements. Each section generally has its own project, i.e., there is not a course-wide SOW. Cadets in one particular section of Engr 410 were tasked to develop a teaching aid on the operation of an automatic transmission for a popular senior-level engineering course, MechEngr 490--Automotive Systems Analysis. The faculty provided the section of Engr 410 two fully assembled 42LE transmissions donated by Daimler Chrysler. The transmission is of course a major subsystem of the automobile and is a part of the MechEngr 490 syllabus. However, the instructors in the course were not satisfied with the depth of coverage of the automatic transmission in the past due to a lack of suitable teaching tools. That is, automotive textbooks, as complete as they are, and static displays together with lecture cannot easily or clearly describe the operation of the automatic transmission. The design of the Engr 410 teaching demo evolved through several iterations as the cadets learned the operation of the transmission themselves. Armed with their own recent learning experiences, they devised a three-part teaching demo: a static cutaway of one entire transmission, a working demo of the gear sets using hardware from the second donated transmission, and a computer simulation that animates the motion of the two planetary sets for each of the five transmission gears, reverse through fourth. This paper describes the demo designed and built by cadets of Engr 410 and discusses how it was implemented into the automotive systems course.


The United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) offers an elective senior-level automotive systems course that approximately 100 cadets take each academic year. This course examines all major automotive subsystems from the engine and drive train to the suspension, steering, braking, and tires via an engineering approach. Despite the apparent comprehensive treatment of the entire automotive system, only a single one-hour class period was devoted to the automatic transmission (AT). We believe a more complete coverage of the AT beyond a cursory description of its major components and their functions is appropriate for an automotive engineering course.

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition © 2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Dennis, S., & Ball, J., & Bowe, M., & Jensen, D. (2001, June), A Student Developed Teaching Demo Of An Automatic Transmission Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9812

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