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Combining Laboratory Innovation And A Design Experience Into Tools For Mechanics

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Innovative Hands-On Projects and Labs

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.303.1 - 8.303.8



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Paper Authors

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Jennifer Kadlowec

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

Session 1368

Combining Laboratory Innovation and a Design Experience into Tools for Mechanics

Jennifer Kadlowec, Frank Brown, Aditya Chaubal, Joe Plitz, Michael Resciniti, Paris von Lockette, Eric Constans, Beena Sukumaran, Douglas Cleary Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ 08028


Hands-on laboratories and the engineering design process are valuable experiences by which to enhance undergraduate engineering education. This paper discusses the integration of an NSF sponsored Course, Curriculum and Laboratory Innovation project, the multidisciplinary design experience and teaching tools for statics and solid mechanics courses. A team of faculty in the College of Engineering at Rowan University proposed development of hands-on and visualization tools for use in mechanics courses. This proposed project was then developed by a group of students in the Junior-Senior Engineering Clinic, an upper level, multidisciplinary design course. The student teams consisted of Mechanical, Civil and Electrical Engineering students. The developed tools consist of physical simply-supported and cantilever beams that are instrumented with load cells. The students can apply various loading conditions to the beams and for the simply-supported case, also move the location of the supports. A data acquisition card is used to import the measurements from the load cells and displacement transducers and a Labview graphical user interface allows the user to find reaction loads and plot deflections, shear and bending diagrams.


Statics and Solid Mechanics are typically taught at the sophomore level in lecture format. Several multimedia courseware initiatives in these subject areas have been developed that focus on theory, problem solving, or drill and practice.1,5,9,10 Hands-on or computer-aided simulations have also been used in engineering education.2,4,6,7,12 The authors have found that curriculum improvement is needed in the areas of problem formulation and integration of hands-on force input with computer visualization tools. In entry-level engineering courses, students often have difficulties determining the external and reaction forces and moments that must be included in free body diagrams and equations of equilibrium or solving for stresses and deformations.

Enhancement of these topics can be brought about through development of visualization and hands-on learning aids to supplement the theory taught in the classroom. Because Statics and Solid Mechanics form the foundation of a large portion of upper-level engineering courses, it is

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Kadlowec, J. (2003, June), Combining Laboratory Innovation And A Design Experience Into Tools For Mechanics Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12364

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