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Designed Beam Deflections Lab Project

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Capstone/ET Projects II - General

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

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Paper Authors


Wei Vian Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Wei Vian is a continuing lecturer in the program of Mechanical Engineering Technology at Purdue University Statewide Kokomo campus. She got her Ph.D from Purdue Polytechnic, Purdue University, West Lafayette. She got her bachelor and master degree both from Eastern Michigan University. Her recent research interests include grain refinement of aluminum alloys, metal casting design, and innovation in engineering technology education.

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Nancy L. Denton P.E. Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Nancy L. Denton is a professor in Purdue University's School of Engineering Technology, where she serves as associate head. She served on the Vibration Institute’s Board of Directors for nine years, and is an active member of the VI Academic and Certification Scheme Committees. She is a Fellow of ASEE and a member of ASME.

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Structural mechanics courses generally are challenging for engineering technology students. The comprehensive learning process requires retaining knowledge from prior mechanics, materials, and mathematic courses and connecting theoretical concepts to practical applications. The various methods for determining deflections of the beams, especially statically indeterminate beams, are always hard for students to understand and require substantial effort in and out of class. To improve learning efficacy, enhance content understanding, and increase structural learning interest, a laboratory group project focusing on beam deflections has been designed for strength of materials students. The project spans design, analysis, construction, and validation testing of two statically indeterminate bridges of size made of two material types—wood and metal. Students will design their bridges, develop a corresponding spreadsheet based on their design to calculate the expected deflections, construct the bridges, then test their bridges and spreadsheet calculations. A technical experimental project report presenting their design idea, sketches, data analysis, and results discussion is required for each group. Pre- and post-surveys focused on learning efficacy, topic understanding, laboratory experience, and team working will be completed by the students. This paper presents the results of both student surveys and the analysis of the related learning outcomes from examinations. Learning outcome achievement will be compared to those of previous students who did not complete the beam deflection project.

Vian, W., & Denton, N. L. (2020, June), Designed Beam Deflections Lab Project Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34401

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