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Courseware For Problem Solving In Mechanics Of Materials

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Improving Mechanics of Materials Classes

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.335.1 - 7.335.5



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Paper Authors

author page

Paul Steif

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

Main Menu Session 2478

Courseware for Problem Solving in Mechanics of Materials

Paul S. Steif Carnegie Mellon University


Basic courses such as mechanics of materials focus on principles and methods which students can apply to a variety of new situations. This ability to transfer learning and knowledge is dependent on many factors, including the depth of the initial learning 1. Many factors affect the depth of initial learning, such as, learning for understanding rather than memorizing facts 2, time on task 3, and having deliberate practice with ample feedback 4. Moreover, it can be argued that students benefit from the experience of expertise in a few areas, even if at the expense of some breadth of exposure. Moreover, the experience of fluency and expertise in one area shows students they are capable of a high level of expertise, for which they can strive in future.

With this philosophy in mind, we have focused on six essential topics in the mechanics of materials. Within each of these topics, we have identified a limited class of problems, which are building blocks for solving many problems in mechanics generally, and for which we seek to develop in students a significant level of expertise.

The topics and the associated problem types are:

· Axial loading: A single rod of multiple cross-sections with axial forces applied to it

· Torsion: A single shaft of multiple cross-sections with twisting moments applied to it

· V and M diagrams: Simply supported or cantilevered beams with a combination of concentrated forces, concentrated moments, and uniformly distributed forces

· Beam deflections: Use of a small number (8) of compiled solutions to fundamental problems to solve a variety of problems necessitating superposition.

· Loads in 3-D: An L-shaped member is supported at one end with one or more loads are applied to the member. Internal loads and stresses at a cross-section are to found.

· Stress transformations: Given planar stresses on x-y axes, use transformation formula to find stress on any plane and find principal stress and maximum shear stress elements

Description of Courseware

Each courseware module consists of a series of problems preceded by and/or interspersed with concise reviews of relevant theory and simple animations. The problems progress in a very

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Steif, P. (2002, June), Courseware For Problem Solving In Mechanics Of Materials Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10941

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