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A Unique Undergraduate Laboratory Based Course In Engineering Failure

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.109.1 - 15.109.10



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Paper Authors

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David Lanning Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University


Wahyu Lestari Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

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Dr. Wahyu Lestari is an Associate Professor in the Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Department of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University at Prescott, Arizona

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Shirley Waterhouse Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

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Dr. Shirley Waterhouse is the Senior Director for
Academic Excellence and Innovation, Office of the Chief Academic Officer, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida.

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

A Unique Undergraduate Laboratory-Based Course In Engineering Failure


A unique laboratory-based course in engineering failure has been created for undergraduate aerospace and mechanical engineering students. This is a one semester, three-credit hour upper- level technical elective in the Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Department at Embry- Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona. The course is team-taught and the emphasis is on structural and materials failure mechanisms, highlighting the aerospace industry. The course is composed of learning modules including advanced fatigue and fracture, thermo- mechanical failure, fastener failure, wear, corrosion, impact, composite materials failure, statistical analysis of failures, non-destructive evaluation (NDE), and structural health monitoring. Typically, these topics are not presented in undergraduate engineering degree programs, especially in a laboratory-based format. A significant amount of new learning materials has been created and is being made publically available through course webpages. In addition, student learning assessments and project evaluation tools are being constructed, including a short concept inventory exam. Select portions of the laboratory component are being assembled into a module on engineering failure for the yearly Aerospace Engineering Summer Camp held at the Prescott campus of Embry-Riddle, exposing high school students to advanced laboratory equipment and a range of engineering concepts. Select details of the course content, new learning materials, and a summary of the assessment tools and mid-project evaluations are provided in this paper.


Recent and emergent developments in technology, together with changes in the social and professional context of engineering, generate continuing challenges for engineering practitioners and consequently for engineering education as well. Engineering education must be realigned to provide adequate knowledge for the students and prepare them to enter the engineering profession1. Considering the often weak linkage between engineering education and practice, effort needs to be placed in creating courses that better support anticipated future workplace requirements. In light of this issue, and considering students’ learning styles, hands-on interactive engineering courses should be developed that introduce undergraduate students to real-world problems that otherwise would be addressed in a lecture-based course with only cursory discussion. Moreover, such courses can initiate improved engineering problem-solving and encourage the examination of related science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.

With this mindset, the authors wrote a proposal to the National Science Foundation (NSF) Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement (CCLI) program to create a new and unique laboratory-based course in engineering failure mechanisms. The course syllabus is influenced by

Lanning, D., & Lestari, W., & Waterhouse, S. (2010, June), A Unique Undergraduate Laboratory Based Course In Engineering Failure Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16938

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