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Development Of An Undergraduate Materials Laboratory In A Mechanical Engineering Department

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1996 Annual Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

June 23, 1996

Start Date

June 23, 1996

End Date

June 26, 1996



Page Count


Page Numbers

1.161.1 - 1.161.9



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Scott R. Short

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

Session 2526

Development of an Undergraduate Materials Laboratory in a Mechanical Engineering Department

Scott R. Short Northern Illinois University

Abstract In the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Northern Illinois University (NIU), in DeKalb, IL, undergraduate mechanical engineering students are required to take two courses focusing specifically on materials: MEE 330- Materials Science and MEE 331 - Manufacturing Processes. Previously, these courses consisted only of lectures. However, with the support of funding from the National Science Foundation’s Instrumentation and Laboratory Improvement Grant Program and the State of Illinois, a laboratory section has been added to the materials science course. Our students will now gain direct, hands-on, laboratory experience about the relationship between the processing, structure, properties, and performance of engineering materials. This paper discusses the requirements of the laboratory, the equipment procured, the overall laboratory layout, and the experiments to be performed.

Introduction A fundamental knowledge of materials science and engineering is critical to the success of industries that are important to the strength of the U.S. economy and U.S. defensel. American industry has noted, how- ever, that many entry-level engineers are not being adequately prepared by universities to deal with the many new materials and processes being developed. One possible way to remedy this situation is to ensure that engineering students obtain an ample amount of direct, hands-on, laboratory experience with engineering materials.2

In the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Northern Illinois University (IWU), in DeKalb, IL, students are required to take the typical statics, dynamics, and strength-of-materials course sequence followed by a two-course sequence, MEE 330 - Materials Science and MEE 331 - Manufacturing Processes. Since the inception of the College of Engineering at NIU (1986), none of these courses has offered a laboratory. This shortcoming will soon be overcome, however, with the addition of a materials laboratory to be offered as a corequisite with the materials science course. The laboratory has been made possible by funding in the amount of $58,273 provided by the National Science Foundation (Grant #: DUE 9451043) and matching finding provided by the State of Illinois. Moreover, in August 1995, our college moved into a new engineering building (see Figure 1) and a substantial amount of money has been made available to help develop the new materials laboratory. With establishment of the laboratory, our materials science course will increase from three (3) to four (4) credit hours due to the addition of the laboratory corequisite.

{hxii~ 1996 ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings ‘..plly’..’

Short, S. R. (1996, June), Development Of An Undergraduate Materials Laboratory In A Mechanical Engineering Department Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia. 10.18260/1-2--5988

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