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Design Manufacture Simulation and Experimentation of Several Tools to Assist in Teaching Strength of Materials and Statics Courses

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Simulations and Visualizations

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.395.1 - 25.395.14

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Paper Authors


Nicholas Mark Randall University of Southern Maine

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Nicholas Randall came to the University of Southern Maine in the spring of 2009. He is majoring in mechanical wngineering and is expecting at the time of his graduation to have a major in mechanical engineering and a minor in applied energy. He became interested in statics after taking a class with Dr. Ghorashi and observing the complexities of the material. He then teamed up with this professor and developed a way of teaching statics with more hands-on and simulation activities. Randall has always liked working on projects that require problem solving. The main problem solved in the current case was to find ways to make the subject of statics more easily and more deeply understood.

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Mehrdaad Ghorashi P.E. University of Southern Maine

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Mehrdaad Ghorashi is a registered Professional Engineer (P.Eng.) in Ontario. In 1995, after receiving his first Ph.D. (on dynamics of structures under moving loads), Ghorashi joined the mechanical engineering Department of Sharif University of Technology as an Assistant Professor. In 2004, Ghorashi moved to Canada where he worked in Carleton University as a Postdoctoral Fellow. He also taught a few courses at Carleton for which he received the Best Professor Award from the Carleton Student Engineering Society. In 2006, he decided to earn a second Ph.D. (this time on dynamics of nonlinear rotating composite beams with embedded actuators) and graduated in 2009. In Sept. 2009, Ghorashi joined the Department of Engineering in the University of Southern Maine.

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Design Manufacture and Experimentation of Several Tools to Assist in Teaching Strength of Materials and Statics Courses Nicholas Randall and Mehrdaad Ghorashi Department of Engineering University of Southern Maine Gorham, MEIn the bachelor degree program of mechanical engineering, strength of materials and statics areamong the most basic, fundamental and applied courses. Therefore, they should be fully learnedby students. The use of experiments in order to improve, deepen and facilitate learning thesesubjects cannot be overstated. In strength of materials the analysis of pure bending andtransverse loading are two important objectives. The similarities and the differences of theresponses of a structure to these types of loadings are to be understood thoroughly. Theseresponses are similar in terms of bending stress generation; but not in both loadings shearstresses are produced. Usually, these concepts have been taught in lectures using diagrams,formulations and by referring students to textbooks. This method can be improved by givingstudents the opportunity to gain hands on experience. Such an experience also provides a meansfor comparing theoretical and experimental predictions. In this research, to address thementioned need, two devices are designed, fabricated and tested. The main question to beanswered by using these devices is, “How the transverse loading problem compares with thepure bending case?” The devices consist of Plexiglas beams together with aluminum and woodframes. Brass weights are applied on the beams in order to produce transverse loading as well aspure bending moment. For pure bending a four-point bending set up is fabricated. Pasta is usedas a test specimen to identify in which of the two cases shear forces generate. These models willbe used in classrooms at University of Southern Maine (USM) to demonstrate and facilitate theunderstanding of a concept that is usually difficult for students to comprehend using traditionalteaching methods. Also, a test setup for analyzing the moment equilibrium of a hinged barsubjected to a tip force is designed and built. The tip force is applied and measured using aspring scale. There are three parameters that can be changed in the system. These are the barmass and angle as well as the angle of the applied loading. Students will use this device in thestatics course to explore the concept of the moment of a force as well as compare theoretical andexperimental predictions of the load needed for maintaining the equilibrium.

Randall, N. M., & Ghorashi, M. (2012, June), Design Manufacture Simulation and Experimentation of Several Tools to Assist in Teaching Strength of Materials and Statics Courses Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas.

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