June 15, 1997
June 15, 1997
June 18, 1997
2.137.1 - 2.137.4
Design Using Spread Sheets
By Dr. Martin Pike Purdue University
Design is an important factor in Mechanical Engineering and Technology programs. The more realistic the design project, the better the learning experience is for the students. Often, design requires many iterative calculations and “what if” parametric studies. For these types of processes, spread sheets have been useful in eliminating the routine and repetitive calculations. This paper will explain the design projects given in four mechanics courses where spread sheets were used for the calculations. These courses were Statics, Dynamics, Applied Mechanisms Kinematics and Dynamics, and a combined Statics/Strengths/Dynamics course. For some of the design projects, the students created their own spread sheets to do the calculations; in other cases the instructor gave the spread sheet preprogrammed to the students. The author will relate his success in using spread sheets in design projects and the impact they had on the design project and the learning process. In addition, student opinion as to the benefits of using spread sheets will be discussed.
Design is an important factor in Mechanical Engineering and Technology. Industry needs engineers and technologists that have a design background in their formal education. At Purdue University at Kokomo, the Mechanical Engineering Technology program exposes students to design by incorporating design projects in many of the required courses. Good design projects often have many possible solutions and/or the design process is not a straightforward procedure of choosing the correct equations and crunching the numbers in a one pass solution. Instead the design process involves logical choices in concert with iterative calculations. With some design projects, the calculation aspects overwhelm the design process to the point of either discouraging the students because of the workload or taking the attention away from the design process and concentrating the work on the calculations. Spread sheets can be used to avoid both of these problems. Spread sheets are an excellent tool for complex, repetitive and iterative calculations. What follows are four examples of how spread sheets were used in mechanics courses to focus the attention on the design process and away from the calculational process.
Four Design Projects in Mechanics
Over the past, design projects have been assigned in four courses in mechanics. These courses were Statics, Dynamics, Applied Mechanisms Kinematics and Dynamics, and a combined Statics/Strengths/Dynamics course. For some of the design projects, the students created their own spread sheets to do the calculations; in other cases the instructor gave the spread sheet
Pike, D. M. (1997, June), Design Using Spread Sheets Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. https://peer.asee.org/6499
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