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Design of a Transparent Hydraulic/Pneumatic Excavator Arm for Teaching and Outreach Activities

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

MET and Mechatronics

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

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Paper Authors

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Keith S. Pate University of Southern Indiana

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Joseph David Marx

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Abdallah A. Chehade


Farid Breidi University of Southern Indiana

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Farid Breidi is an Assistant Professor in Engineering at the University of Southern Indiana. He received his B.E. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the American University of Beirut in 2010, his M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2012, and his Ph.D. in the area of fluid power, dynamic systems and controls from Purdue University in 2016.

His research interests include digital fluid power systems, modeling and simulation of dynamic systems, and component design.

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The purpose of this work is to design and build a miniature excavator arm which can be used as a technological tool for educational purposes. Many of the miniature excavator arms used in education today operate using electronic systems and are made of steel, 3-D printed parts and other opaque materials. This unique design could either be controlled by using hydraulics or pneumatics and is made of Lexan, a transparent material, allowing students to observe all of the systems components as the excavator is being operated. The design features a portable, table top, arm that can be cut out from a piece of 3/8” Lexan and a piece of 1/4” aluminum. The hydraulic arm only requires a few tools to assemble and a standard 120VAC/15A electrical outlet to operate. Joysticks are used to manually operate the movement of the excavator arm. These joysticks actuate mechanical valves that transfer the chosen fluid (tap water or air) to actuators, which extend and retract, controlling the motion of the arms. The arm mimics a full-sized excavator and can educate the operator on modern hydraulic and pneumatic technologies and how they are being used in industry. This technological tool will be used in fluid power and data acquisition courses to enhance and support the learning experience at universities and introduce students in high school and undergraduate programs to engineering and fluid power technology using an interesting hands-on demonstrator. Furthermore, the tool provides a great environment for data analytics and real-time decision making. The portability of the kit allows it to be used in workshops, recruiting events, state and county fairs, social gatherings, and conferences. Such a tool will help draw attention to STEM fields and university engineering programs.

Pate, K. S., & Marx, J. D., & Chehade, A. A., & Breidi, F. (2018, June), Design of a Transparent Hydraulic/Pneumatic Excavator Arm for Teaching and Outreach Activities Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30266

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