June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.151.1 - 12.151.15
A Versatile and Economical Apparatus for Experiments in Statics
A student’s understanding of engineering concepts can be furthered through the use of hands-on experiments and demonstrations. For many students, the concepts of vectors, particle equilibrium, and rigid body equilibrium can be difficult to comprehend. In order to improve comprehension in these areas, we developed a single apparatus that provides for the operation of at least five experiments relevant to the study of statics. These experiments are well-suited for either laboratory studies or, due to the device’s portability, for in-class demonstrations.
In this paper we present the complete design, including the bill of materials, assembly drawings, and assembly instructions for the apparatus. The apparatus is easily assembled from readily available parts and materials, especially sturdy, easily expandable, and very affordable (approximate cost of materials is $500).
In addition, we present the details of five experiments that can be performed utilizing the device. For each experiment, we provide the objective, procedure, and recommended data analysis. The five experiments are: 1) Particle Equilibrium: Tension Components in Cables of Independent Lengths; 2) Particle Equilibrium: Tension Components in Cables of Equal Lengths; 3) Particle Equilibrium: Equilibrium Position of a Pulley System; 4) Rigid Body Equilibrium: Tension in a Cable; and 5) Friction: Friction Force as a Function of Contact Angle. Each experiment can be compared to a theoretical analysis with good agreement, providing the student with a hands- on experience to advance the student’s understanding of these concepts.
Engineering is a hands-on practical profession and since the earliest days, laboratories have been an essential component of engineering education. However, over the span of modern engineering education, there has been a varied level of the importance placed upon laboratories.(1) Most recently, the recommendations of “Educating the Engineer of 2020” (2) as well as the new ABET criteria(3) have placed a renewed emphasis on laboratories and hands-on approaches. Many programs(4) now offer first-year engineering courses that attempt to make explicit connections between engineering, math and science. In many cases, these first-year courses offer a hands-on experience in the form of a project(5),(6),(7). While projects offer additional valuable experiences such as problems solving, teamwork, communications, and ethics, there is still a need for traditional laboratory experiences. Traditional laboratory experiences fulfill three roles as identified by Edward Ernst(8). First, the student learns how to be an experimenter. Second, the student learns new and developing subject matter. Finally, the student gains insight and understanding of the real world.
Perhaps the first universal opportunity for a student to experience an engineering laboratory in modern engineering curricula is in statics. This course is generally one of the first engineering topics covered outside of graphics and other first-year engineering experiences in many curriculums. However, a survey of 30 engineering programs indicates that there is rarely a lab associated with statics. This perhaps is not too surprising, as the number of credible labs
Williams, R., & Howard, W. (2007, June), A Versatile And Economical Apparatus For Experiments In Statics Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2139
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