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Broadening The Scope Of A Materials Science Course By Experimentally Testing The Effects Of Electricity On A Metallic Test Specimen’s Material Properties

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Lab Experiments in Materials Science

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.270.1 - 9.270.10



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Paper Authors

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John Roth

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Fredrick Nitterright Penn State Erie, The Behrend College

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Robert Weissbach Pennsylvania State University-Erie Orcid 16x16

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

Session Number: 3264

Broadening the Scope of a Material Science Course by Experimentally Testing the Effects of Electricity on Metallic Test Specimen’s Material Properties John T. Roth, Fredrick A. Nitterright, and Robert S. Weissbach The Pennsylvania State University - Erie, the Behrend College

Abstract In many engineering situations, load-bearing members are exposed, either intentionally or unintentionally, to electrical currents. This topic, the effect of electricity on the mechanical properties of a material, has not been investigated. Furthermore, laboratory set-up and procedures designed to investigate these effects have not been designed and published for incorporation into typical material science courses. Therefore, in order to begin to identify these effects and to broaden the scope of the traditional laboratory experiments associated with standard materials science courses, a test apparatus was developed that allows hardness measurements to be collected from metallic specimens while varying the levels of current that are passed through the specimen.

The fixtures and the material specimens that were used for the testing were carefully designed and developed so that they could accept the electrical current. Also, the safety and effectiveness of the fixtures were two primary considerations. The electrical current had to be isolated from both the person conducting the tests and from the Rockwell hardness testing machine.

The tests were conducted by supplying an electrical current to the metallic test specimens. At that time, a hardness reading was taken and recorded. Hardness readings were taken at various levels of electrical current. Since the electrical current raised the temperature of the specimens, the laboratory was designed such that students can study the effect of temperature on the hardness of a material and isolate the effect of the electricity from the effects due to temperature changes. Worksheets were developed to aid in the recording of the data collected. Information such as calibration, hardness readings, electrical current, and specimen temperature was recorded.

In this paper, the fixture and specimen designs were provided, along with the laboratory objectives, set-up, procedure, analysis and results.

Introduction The goal, of the laboratory experiments that are incorporated into a material science course, is to expose students to the various techniques by which material properties are obtained and to help the students understand the various factors that may influence these properties.

“Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education"

Roth, J., & Nitterright, F., & Weissbach, R. (2004, June), Broadening The Scope Of A Materials Science Course By Experimentally Testing The Effects Of Electricity On A Metallic Test Specimen’s Material Properties Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13344

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