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Board 46: A Project-based Learning Method to Teach Concepts of Viscoelasticity and its Applications to Seniors and Graduate Students in Biomedical, Civil, Chemical, and Mechanical Engineering

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Civil Engineering Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

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Paper Authors


Yusuf A Mehta Rowan University

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Dr. Mehta is a Professor at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Rowan University and Director of the Center for Research and Education in Advanced Transportation engineering Systems (CREATEs). Dr. Mehta has extensive experience in teaching constructon materials, pavement design, and transportaiton engineering. Dr. Mehta has published several technical and educational papers in leading professional organizations.

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Viscoelasticity is a new multidisciplinary course offered in the College of Engineering at ABC University. Since viscoelastic behavior is observed in a broad range of materials, the objective of the course is to provide an enhanced understanding of the linear and non-linear viscoelastic behavior such as polymers, biomaterials and construction materials. The course is taken by seniors, masters and doctoral students in biomedical, civil, chemical, and mechanical engineering. There were twenty students in the class. The course was divided in two parts, the first part of the course covered the concepts of linear viscoelasticity, rheological models, non-linear viscoelasticity, and time temperature superposition. In the second part of the course all students, in groups of two or three, were required to do a class project and discuss them in class, which required them to apply the concepts learnt from this course. The objectives of each of the projects was to: 1) Determine whether the material is linear viscoelastic, 2) Determine if time-temperature superposition is applicable, 3) Develop a rheological model, and 4) Explain impact of the above results in practical applications.

However, to achieve the above four objectives, the students collected laboratory data for their respective materials, in their field. For example, civil engineering students selected asphalt and biomedical student selected nanofibers. The scope and depth of testing was discussed with the instructor before finalizing the testing protocol. The students were strongly encouraged to discuss the scope of testing with their respective graduate adviser, if assigned, to determine if results from the project or concepts learnt from this class would be relevant in their own research.

Each group presented their progress to-date to the entire class for five to ten minutes each. They discussed their experimental set-up, challenges and successes of testing, and results collected to-date. Based on the feedback from the students and instructor, on several occasions, the testing protocol and analysis methodology was refined to achieve the overall objectives of the project. All the students learnt by open discussion of these projects. They clearly saw how viscoelastic concepts ca be utilized to a broad range of materials. The viscoelastic models involve complex mathematics, while they are crucial part of the course, the instructor wanted to clearly show the applications of these models and how using these models impact day-to-day life, may it be, construction materials or bio-materials. The instructor believes it achieved that objective through these class projects. In addition to the course evaluations, the instructor conducted an assessment of the impact of these projects on student learning of the complex concepts of viscoelasticity. The paper presents the course syllabus and all the assessment data.

Mehta, Y. A. (2018, June), Board 46: A Project-based Learning Method to Teach Concepts of Viscoelasticity and its Applications to Seniors and Graduate Students in Biomedical, Civil, Chemical, and Mechanical Engineering Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30038

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