June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
13.543.1 - 13.543.15
Enhancing Engineering Educational Outcomes through Integration of New Vision for Civil Infrastructures with Nanotechnology into Undergraduate Curriculum and Its Implementation Results
Nanotechnology enables the creation and utilization of materials and devices with novel functions through the control of matter at the nanoscale level. It can be expected that the nanotechnology has the potential to revolutionize the design and construction of civil infrastructures. Nevertheless, the excitement and promise of nanotechnology for conceiving innovative systems can provide a new opportunity for educational institutions to stimulate interest and broaden the vision of diverse students in engineering and research, foster active learning and life-long learning, and inspire innovation and creativity. The objective of this paper is to share strategies for utilizing nanotechnology as a vehicle to strengthen engineering curriculum and enhance undergraduate engineering educational outcomes. The paper presents instructional strategies and new course modules for integrating nanotechnology education into a mainstream civil engineering undergraduate curriculum. The outcomes from the first year implementation are revealed, and their implications and future improvement are discussed.
Nanotechnology enables the development of miniature sensors and smart materials with higher performance and multi-function (e.g. self-healing, sensing and actuating). The nation’s best thinkers on nanotechnology and transportation gathered at a recent workshop and envisioned the advances that could be made possible through nanotechnology in the future1: cracked bridges and pavement repair on their own, guardrails re-align automatically after impact, bridges adjust their shapes to control movement caused by winds, coatings make metal structures self clean to avoid corrosion, and make road sign never need to be washed, rearranging and combining alloy particles could make bridge steel many times more durable and stronger, miniature sensors could be embedded into highways or coat an entire bridge for monitoring the processes of deterioration, and allowing to fix them long before they are apparent to human inspectors.
Researches are now carried out towards the use of nanotechnology in design, construction, monitoring, and control of civil infrastructures2-6, meanwhile a fewer of nanotechnology or its analogy is already being used in construction. For example, the addition of nanoscale silica fume has been recognized as a big improvement in durability of concrete structures exposed to de-icing salts and sea water, which chemicals could penetrate concrete’s porous structure and cause deterioration to the structure. Even though the current cost of nanotechnology-enabled materials and devices may hinder their widespread application for civil infrastructures, their price will be expected to drop and the benefits from their application could justify the additional cost in the near future. It can be expected that the nanotechnology has potential to revolutionize the design and construction of civil infrastructures. To ensure future workforces to possess the skills and knowledge that can make them adaptable to the dynamic changes in transcendent technology, there is an imperative need to introduce specific nanotechnology application into civil engineering curriculum in a timely and suitable manner7.
Zheng, W., & Shih, H., & Lozano, K., & Kiefer, K., & Ma, X. (2008, June), Enhancing Engineering Educational Outcomes Through Integration Of New Vision For Civil Infrastructures With Nanotechnology Into Undergraduate Curriculum And Its Implementation Results Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--4350
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