June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
Design in Engineering Education
12.390.1 - 12.390.12
Computer-Aided Instruction of Fundamental Mechanics Courses Using MATLAB Kyu-Jung Kim, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
Fundamental mechanics courses including statics, dynamics, strength of materials, and design of machine elements are typically taught for engineering students in lecture and discussion format using traditional techniques. These fundamental mechanics courses are mostly involved with many time-intensive engineering calculations and analysis procedures, eliciting tedium, complexity, and computational burden. A couple of MATLAB toolboxes have been developed over many years for these courses. They include Equilibrium Toolbox (EQT) for 2D & 3D vector and equilibrium analysis of particles, rigid bodies and structures, and Mechanical Design Toolbox (MDT) for stress analysis and design of various mechanical components. The toolboxes are written in MATLAB by taking advantage of its user-friendly interactive graphic user interface, multiple document interface and compilation capabilities into windows application programs for easy deployment with four rationales in mind − simplicity, computational efficiency, flexibility, and convenience. They are not just intended to replace hand calculations like some textbook specific programs but to learn various analysis procedures in step-by-step interactive tutorial fashion and to conduct large-scale design simulations for open- ended design problems. A couple of pilot studies were conducted with students at various levels to test the effectiveness of the toolboxes in teaching and learning the fundamental mechanics courses. It is suggested that use of such toolboxes in laboratory setting would be most effective. This paper will present experiences how the toolboxes have been developed and how they are efficiently used in teaching and learning the fundamental mechanics courses.
The fundamental mechanics course sequence including statics, dynamics, strength of materials, kinematics of machinery, and design of machine elements are hardcore classes in most mechanical engineering curriculum beginning at the sophomore year. These courses have been a bottleneck due to significant numbers of failures and repeats. For example, in our ME departmental survey at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona with 319 students who took the vector statics course from various majors during fall 2001 and winter 2002 quarters, it was found that over 44% of them did not have the passing grades, and that was a small increase from 40% taken from the survey during the academic year 2000-2001. The high repeat and failure rates significantly hamper the students to move up to their curricula, resulting in a high attrition rate of the students.
These fundamental mechanics courses are mostly involved with many time-intensive engineering calculations and analysis procedures, eliciting tedium, complexity, and computational burden. The most common pedagogy of the fundamental mechanics courses is a face-to-face classroom lecture and discussion format using traditional techniques such as blackboard, overhead transparencies, etc. Many students feel very complicated in learning these 1
Kim, K. (2007, June), Computer Aided Instruction Of Fundamental Mechanics Courses Using Matlab Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2632
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