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Course-Related Undergraduate Projects for Dynamics

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Project Based Learning In ET Program

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.345.1 - 23.345.12



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Paper Authors


B. S. Sridhara Middle Tennessee State University

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Dr. B. S. Sridhara is a professor in the Department of Engineering Technology at Middle Tennessee State University. He received his B.S.M.E. and M.S.M.E. degrees from Bangalore
University and Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India. He received his M.S.M.E. and Ph. D. degrees from Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, New Jersey, and Auburn University, Alabama. Dr. Sridhara has published several peer-reviewed articles in the areas of Acoustics, Vibration, finite element methods, and Engineering Education.

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Course-Related Undergraduate Projects for DynamicsAbstract:The Engineering Technology (ET) program at XXXX University has approximately 450students. Our Mechanical Engineering Technology (MET) concentration was started in2004 fall and currently it has 220 majors. The author teaches Dynamics every spring andall MET students are required to take this course. Dynamics is a lecture course and wecover kinematics and kinetics of particles and rigid bodies in this calculus-based course.We felt it is necessary to have some hands-on projects that will help the students betterunderstand the principles and applications. The author developed the Egg Drop projectin which the students work in teams, following the guidelines build two structures usingbalsa wood sticks, place an egg inside and drop the unit from a certain height so as toland on the target placed on the ground. They build two such units one with and the otherwithout a parachute. They are required to write a report that includes the constructionmethod, numerical calculations and graphical presentation of the unit’s height as afunction of time. They also compare the calculated time of fall with the measured valueand explain any discrepancy. The author derived the equation of motion and the height-time relationship for the case with a parachute as these are not readily available in ourDynamics textbook. The egg drop project of each team is judged based on thecompliance with the guidelines, condition of the egg/structure after landing, distancefrom target to the egg/structure, and aesthetics of the structure. This project was a greatsuccess and students had fun working together and competing with other teams.Regarding another such project the author briefly discussed in the class a hands-onactivity that would help students better understand the motion of a projectile in a two-dimensional space. Three students showed a great interest in the project and that veryweekend they purchased a paintball gun and conducted some experiments at a barn.Their paintball gun had the capability of giving the velocity of the paintball at the barrelexit which is the initial velocity of the projectile. They built a fixture to allow the tiltingof the gun so that they can measure the angle made by the initial velocity of theprojectile. They were able to compare the calculated range and height of the target withthe corresponding measured values and compute the accuracy of their device. They werealso able to make a video of their experiments. The trio made a presentation of theirexperiments in the class and in collaboration with the author they also participated at theXXXX’s annual undergraduate research symposium. Dynamics satisfies the ABETstudent learning outcome (b) and our MET specific criterion that our majors will have theessential tools to analyze systems in motion, and calculate the velocity, acceleration,inertial forces, torque, power, and mechanical efficiency as required to solvingengineering problems. The hands-on projects discussed in this abstracts complement thelearning process and meet these criteria.

Sridhara, B. S. (2013, June), Course-Related Undergraduate Projects for Dynamics Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19359

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