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Hands On Learning In Engineering Mechanics Using Layered Beam Design

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Improving Mechanics of Materials Classes

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.623.1 - 8.623.6

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Paper Authors

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Byron Newberry

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

Session 2368

Hands-on Learning in Engineering Mechanics using Layered Beam Design

B. L. Newberry

Oklahoma Christian University

I. Introduction

A sophomore level Engineering Mechanics project is presented that uses design and construction to reinforce student learning of beam deflection and flexural shear strain. The project requires the student to design, to build, and to test a layered beam that minimizes cost yet provides specific in- plane and out-of-plane stiffness. Each student is presented with an inventory of available layers for their design. Only specific thickness, width, and material combinations are offered. The number of each “type” of layer is also limited to further constrain the design. The students are thus faced with a very real design problem to determine the optimum solution using only available components. After the teams have completed their designs, the beams are built and tested to verify performance. Inconsistencies between theory and reality are routinely found during testing that seed discussion and student learning. Details of the project and advice from two implementations are presented.

II. Project Assignment

The students are given a simple and direct problem statement: “Design a layered beam that satisfies customer specified flexural stiffness criteria and minimizes expense using a finite list of available component layers”. The beam may be either simply supported or cantilevered; each student team being assigned different requirements at random (Figure 1).


Force Force

Figure 1: Beam configurations, randomly assigned to each student designer.

The students are next provided a list of layers available for their design. The layers typically consist of 36 inch long strips of material cut to specified widths (1/2”, 3/4”, 1”, 1 1/4", 1 1/2")

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Newberry, B. (2003, June), Hands On Learning In Engineering Mechanics Using Layered Beam Design Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee.

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