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Design Of A Fabrication Of Electrical Systems Course For A Multi Disciplinary Engineering Program

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Multidisciplinary Course Innovation I

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.366.1 - 13.366.10



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Paper Authors

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Darryl Morrell Arizona State University

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Robert Grondin Arizona State University

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

Design of a Fabrication of Electrical Systems Course for a Multi-Disciplinary Engineering Program

1 Introduction

This paper describes the design of a three credit-hour course, “Fabrication of Electrical Systems,” in the context of the Electrical Engineering Systems emphasis area in the multi-disciplinary engineering program offered in the Department of Engineering at the Polytechnic campus of Arizona State University.

The Electrical Engineering emphasis area envisions a setting such as automation, robotics, aviation, or automotive, where electrical technology plays important roles in system integration. In these settings, electrical technologies are combined with other technologies inside one overall system. We believe that an essential component of the electrical emphasis area in this setting is an understanding of how the electrical portions of mixed systems are designed and fabricated as well as how system level design issues affect and are affected by electrical system implementation.

To this end, we have designed and are implementing a three credit-hour course to help students develop an appreciation for how one chooses between various solution implementations in a real- world setting. The initial course offering is taking place in the Spring 2008 Semester. The course emphasizes issues such as design cycle time, fabrication and manufacturing costs, quality, reliability, product life cycle and various forms of testing. In addition, the course will develop fabrication technology expertise such as technology selection (e.g. software solutions vs. FPGA).

We believe that our course offers a unique combination of topics. Indeed, the authors are unaware of any other undergraduate courses within an engineering department with a similar breadth of coverage of issues relating to electrical systems implementation. Many courses and degree programs provide expertise in micro-systems fabrication (see, for example [1]). While these cover some of the topics proposed for this course, they typically focus on the fabrication and packaging of chip-level micro electro-mechanical systems and not on the broader issues associated with design and fabrication of electrical systems. These courses are also typically offered at a gradual level. Mechatronics courses also cover material that overlaps in part with our course (see, for example [2]); mechatronics courses typically stress integration of electrical and mechanical systems (through sensors and actuators) and control of systems using programmable devices (e.g. microcontrollers). The University of Limerick offers an electronics systems degree [3] that covers most of the topics in our course, but in much greater depth, devoting several courses to several of the individual topics.

2 Multi-Disciplinary Context

Our multi-disciplinary engineering program at ASU is built around core values of engaged learning, agility and a focus on the individual. The main spine of the program is eight semesters of project work conducted inside an engineering studio. The freshman and sophomore years of the program are multi-disciplinary, with all students sharing a common set of projects and courses. At the upper division, a student will individually select two focus areas: a primary engineering emphasis area and a secondary emphasis area, which may or may not be in engineering.

Morrell, D., & Grondin, R. (2008, June), Design Of A Fabrication Of Electrical Systems Course For A Multi Disciplinary Engineering Program Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3728

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