June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
Electrical and Computer
15.509.1 - 15.509.12
Enhancing Electromagnetics Instruction Using MATLAB and MATHCAD
MATLAB and MATHCAD can be very useful tools for use in electromagnetics courses. They can be used as demonstration tools to clarify important concepts, or for numerical analysis of problems that are difficult or impossible to solve analytically. MATLAB can serve as the students’ home laboratory, helping to develop their practical understanding of electromagnetics. MATHCAD, with its symbolic algebra system, is useful for analyzing complicated mathematical expressions and is ideal for subjects that deal with mathematical representations of real or complex functions. Examples show how these tools are used in undergraduate course from three universities.
Electromagnetics in electrical engineering is generally taught as a one or a two semester sequence in the junior year. Also, some computer engineering students will take one semester of electromagnetics to get a better understanding of transmission lines and smart antennas. The trend has been to decrease coverage from the more traditional two semester sequence to a single semester course to make room for other topics. However, a de-emphasis is unfortunate since the subject is fundamental to the understanding of wireless communications, radar systems (such as new airport systems), GPS operation, transportation systems (anti-collision radar, maglev), RFID systems, medical imaging systems (MRI), and bioelectromagnetics.
The universities involved in this paper have different approaches to covering Electromagnetics. One University presently has a two semester sequence of electromagnetics and presently uses the T-Lines first approach. The second university had a three (3) hour junior level course but increased it to four (4) starting in Fall of 2008. The extra credit may be just enough to cover more materials on transmission lines and some additional applications using software packages. The third university also requires a four (4) credit core electromagnetics course that begins with electrostatics and progresses through EM wave propagation and ends with transmission lines. Students can also take senior level classes in antennas, microwave engineering, high speed systems and optical systems.
Electromagnetics can be challenging for students for several reasons. First, fields are vector quantities and students must visualize directions in space. This can be complicated by the necessity of studying different coordinate systems (Cartesian, cylindrical and spherical). Also, students are required to perform integration and differentiation, skills they have somewhat developed but have rarely applied. This paper will describe ways in which MATLAB and MATHCAD are employed in undergraduate electromagnetics courses at three universities.
Wentworth, S., & Mousavinezhad, S. H., & Mina, M., & PAN, W. (2010, June), Enhancing Electromagnetics Instruction Using Matlab And Mathcad Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. https://peer.asee.org/16146
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