Asee peer logo

Bringing Reality to the Classroom: Two “Hands On” Labs for Use with a Machine Design Course

Download Paper |


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

6.246.1 - 6.246.21

Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Vipin Kumar

author page

Margaret Wheeler

author page

Gregory Branch

Download Paper |


The criteria for choosing a material for a given design may involve not only mechanical properties, but also secondary properties such as surface finish, tolerances and geometry. Two laboratories were developed and implemented in the traditional course on design of mechanical elements. The choice of the content of these labs is based on the authors’ combined 35 year industrial experience. In industry they saw that new engineers often had not learned the fundamental considerations in choosing an appropriate material or shape in their designs. This paper provides all necessary details to recreate these labs and discusses two years of instructional experience obtained under NSF-ECSEL sponsorship. LAB 1- Choosing from Commonly Stocked Materials This lab addresses the different materials stocked in lengths, such as steel or aluminum bar, pipe, structural shapes, or rectangular tube. It provides a hands on view of the material obtained from four processes: Hot Rolling (HR), Cold Rolling or Cold Drawing a.k.a. Cold Finished (CF), Extrusion, and Roll Forming. The students learn how each process affects geometry, strength, stiffness, tolerances, finish, etc. The students will run their own concrete demonstration of the difference between stiffness and strength. LAB 2 – Torsional Properties of Shapes and Materials This lab focuses on the importance of material type and shape in torsion. For instance the students quantify how much stiffer a tube is in torsion than an “open” shape of similar dimensions. By manually twisting the shapes mounted in a jig and taking measurements, the students reinforce the analytical concepts previously learned. The students will “feel” the meaning of “torsional rigidity” by comparing the same shape in HR low carbon steel, CF low carbon steel, and aluminum.

Kumar, V., & Wheeler, M., & Branch, G. (2001, June), Bringing Reality to the Classroom: Two “Hands On” Labs for Use with a Machine Design Course Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2001 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015