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Design Optimization Problem in a Materials Engineering Course

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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

Design Potpourri

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.401.1 - 25.401.11



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Paper Authors


Fredrick A. Nitterright Pennsylvania State University, Erie

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Fred Nitterright is a lecturer in engineering at Penn State, Erie, the Behrend College. He received a A.A.S. in mechanical drafting and design in 1989 from Westmoreland County Community College, a B.S. in mechanical engineering technology in 1991 from Penn State, Erie, the Behrend College, and a M.S. in manufacturing systems engineering from the University of Pittsburgh in 1998. Nitterright is a member of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). Nitterright began his career as a machinist at Elliott Support Services in Donora, Penn., in 1986. He was employed as a computer-aided draftsman at Powerex, Inc., a project engineering at Stanko Products, a Process Engineer at Ami-Doduco, Inc., and a Project Engineer and Team Leader at Classic Industries, Inc., in Latrobe, Penn. Nitterright’s employment at Behrend commenced in 1999.

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Robert Michael Pennsylvania State University, Behrend

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Robert J. Michael, P.E. and Senior Lecturer for the School of Engineering at Penn State, Behrend, obtained his B.S. degree from Akron University, where he graduated summa cum laude, and his M.S. degree from Case Western University. Michael is currently working towards his doctorate in mechanical and aerospace engineering at Case Western Reserve. He joined the faculty at Penn State, Behrend, in the fall of 1999 as a lecturer in the Mechanical Engineering Technology Department. Prior to his employment at Penn State, Behrend, Michael spent several years in industry, where he worked as an Industrial Product Designer and Aerospace Product Designer for LORD Corporation and General Manager for National Tool and Equipment. Courses taught include finite element analysis, material science, statics, strength of materials, materials lab, machine design, product design, production design, plastic design and FE analysis, and engineering graphics. Research interests include design and optimization of elastomer components, elastomeric fatigue properties, hyperelastic modeling of elastomers, failure analysis of elastomeric components, seismic analysis of storage racks, experimental testing, and characterization of materials and general machine design. As an Engineering Consultant, he provided consulting services to local industry. Services include elastomeric product design and analysis, machine design, finite element analysis, solid modeling, vibration analysis, and diagnostic testing. Michael holds several patents and has several patents pending primarily in the area of noise and vibration isolation products. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

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Design Optimization Problem in a Materials Engineering CourseMany applications require engineers to design parts that have been optimized. This paper willdiscuss a design project that is given to Mechanical Engineering Technology senior students inan upper-level Materials Engineering course.The uniqueness of the project is that it not only requires the student to optimize the geometry of apart but also determine an optimal material such that a design index is maximized (the designobjective). A high design index requires stiffness and strength to be maximized at minimalweight so both material selection and geometry play important roles.A typical design approach taught to the students prior to enrolling in the course might have beento assume a material (steel) then use strength of material concepts to determine geometry to meeta strength or stiffness requirement with little regard to weight or cost. The purpose of thisdesign project is not only to utilize the above methods for determining ideal geometry but alsoutilize Cambridge Engineering Selector (CES) software to determine the optimal material.In addition to discussing a specific example used in the design project, this paper will discuss thegrading rubric, examples of work performed by students, student feedback and how this projectcould be used in other courses to enhance the student’s education.

Nitterright, F. A., & Michael, R. (2012, June), Design Optimization Problem in a Materials Engineering Course Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21159

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