June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
Design in Engineering Education
26.184.1 - 26.184.20
An Examination of ME449 Redesign and Prototype Fabrication: A New Senior/Grad Design and Fabrication Course at the University of Wisconsin –MadisonIt was determined through feedback from students of the undergraduate Mechanical Engineeringprogram and their potential employers that a more extensive design and fabrication experiencewas desired. To address these issues a new dual-level course, ME449 Redesign and PrototypeFabrication, was developed in the department of Mechanical Engineering.Students in the class receive a basic design for a Gamma-Type, Stirling Engine in the form of abill of materials, a complete set of detail drawings, and machining protocols for all fabricatedcomponents. Each student fabricates and assembles the basic design of the Stirling Engine. It isthen tested to establish benchmark values of speed at a measured temperature difference as wellas build quality and aesthetics.Course lecture and discussion covers the principals of both product design and product re-designalong with discussions of the thermal and mechanical processes occurring within the engine.Students perform a critical examination of the functions of the basic design Stirling Engine forthe purpose of identifying design changes which would provide improvements in performance.Proposed design changes are justified by defining metrics for evaluation and demonstratinganalytically a performance improvement. Students are required to fabricate the redesignedcomponents, and show a performance improvement against their benchmark values,documenting their efforts in a formal report and presentation.Despite spending in excess of 50 hours outside of class on their Stirling Engines the attendingstudents are very fond of this course. It has also been very well received by members of thedepartment’s Industrial Advisory Board and company interviewers. Students have found thatbringing their Stirling Engine to an interview is particularly impactful. Demonstrations toMechanical Engineering alumni by the students, showcasing their efforts and discussing thematerial learned, has proven to be an aid in departmental fundraising.
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