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Failure Analysis for Engineering Technology Students

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Issues in ET Education I

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.599.1 - 24.599.14



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Paper Authors


Robert Joseph Michael PE Gannon University

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Robert J. Michael, Ph.D., P.E., Assistant Professor in the Mechanical Department at Gannon University, obtained his B.S.M.E. degree from Akron University where he graduated summa cum laude, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in mechanical and aerospace engineering from Case Western Reserve University. He joined the faculty at Gannon University in the Fall of 2013 as an assistant professor in the Mechanical Engineering department. Prior to his employment at Gannon, Dr. Michael spent several years in industry where he worked as an industrial product designer and aerospace product designer for LORD Corporation and as general manager for National Tool and Equipment.
• Courses taught include finite element analysis, material science, statics, strength of materials, materials lab, machine design, product design, production design, plastic design and FE analysis, manufacturing and engineering graphics.
• Research interests include design and optimization of elastomer components, elastomeric fatigue properties, hyperelastic modeling of elastomers, failure analysis of elastomeric components, seismic analysis of storage racks, experimental testing and characterization of materials and general machine design.
• Engineering Consultant provide consulting services to local industry. Services include: elastomeric product design and analysis, machine design, finite element analysis, solid modeling, vibration analysis and diagnostic testing.
Dr. Michael holds several patents and has several patents pending primarily in the area of noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) type isolation products. He has published extensively in this area as well. He is a licensed professional engineer in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

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Fredrick A. Nitterright Pennsylvania State University, Erie

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Mr. Fred Nitterright is a lecturer in Mechanical Engineering Technology at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College. He received the A. A. S. in Mechanical Drafting and Design in 1989 from Westmoreland County Community College, the B. S. in Mechanical Engineering Technology in 1991 from Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, and the M. S. in Manufacturing Systems Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh in 1998. Mr. Nitterright is a senior member of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers SME, and a member of the American Society for Engineering Education ASEE .

Fred Nitterright began his career as a machinist at Elliott Support Services in Donora, Pennsylvania in 1986. He was employed as a computer-aided draftsman at Powerex, Inc, a project engineering at Stanko Products, a process engineer at Ami-Doduco, Inc., and a project engineer and team leader at Classic Industries, Inc., in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Mr. Nitterright's employment at Behrend commenced in 1999.

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Robert Edwards Pennsylvania State University, Erie

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Failure Analysis for Engineering Technology StudentsMechanical engineers are often required to perform failure analysis on components that mighthave failed prematurely or unexpectedly. The process is complex and draws upon manydifferent technical areas of mechanical engineering and requires engineers to accurately solveproblems in those technical areas.This paper presents how a failure analysis project is incorporated into a senior-level,undergraduate, material science course and the benefits to the students to employ knowledgegained in other courses to complete the analysis. The project is given as part of a laboratoryexercise on failure analysis. Students are presented with a basic problem definition of a failureand then work in groups of 3 to determine root causes of the failure. A case study of an over 100year-old, 18 ton, steam-powered, steel-wheeled tractor that experienced a boiler explosion thatkilled several people and injured scores of others at a county fairground will be used as anexample.The project requires students to brainstorm, form a hypothesis, problem solve and then presentpossible explanations for why the event occurred. Student performance is assessed by theirappropriate use of strength of materials, heat transfer, thermodynamics, material science(corrosion), and dynamics since all these areas must be employed to solve the problem. Studentsare required to present their hypothesis and analysis to their fellow students in the form of an oralpresentation. As a result of the exercise, students come to appreciate how various elements ofengineering interact to impact the problem.

Michael, R. J., & Nitterright, F. A., & Edwards, R. (2014, June), Failure Analysis for Engineering Technology Students Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20490

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