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Incorporating a Graduate Research Activity in an Undergraduate Vibrations Course Design Project

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Research and Multidisciplinary Experiences

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.937.1 - 26.937.11



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Paper Authors


Richard F. Keltie North Carolina State University

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Dr. Richard F. Keltie, NC State University
Dr. Keltie is a Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at NC State University. His research activities include the vibro-acoustic response of submerged shells, structural acoustics, energy propagation in large structures, and the transient response of complex mechanical systems. In support of these activities he has taught and developed courses in machine dynamics, mechanical vibration analysis, acoustic radiation, wave vector analysis techniques, and structural energy flow. From 2003 through 2012 Dr. Keltie served in various associate dean roles (including academic affairs, and research and graduate programs) within the College of Engineering, and he returned to his faculty position in 2013.

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Incorporating a Graduate Research Activity in an Undergraduate Vibrations Course Design ProjectA standard component in our junior-level vibrations course is a design project. This project isgenerally an extended homework assignment where student teams are given a somewhatpartially-defined or open-ended problem to analyze, with the outcome of providing specificdesign recommendations appropriate to the nature of the problem assigned. Many times, thesedesign problems are chosen from those provided in some undergraduate textbooks. This paper,however, describes a current experiment in which the design problem given to the students isbased on a sponsored research project conducted by the faculty member and his graduatestudents. The research project involved the development of acoustic velocity sensors to replacepressure-measuring hydrophones in a submarine sonar system. As a starting point for the designproject, the undergraduates are given the results of an advanced analytical model that predicts theideal behavior of the velocity sensors operating in water. Based on these model results, thestudents were then given two tasks: 1) define the necessary characteristics of a sensor mountingsystem that would allow the sensor to function as desired; and 2) design a suspension system thatwould allow for the necessary mounting behavior, and provide the physical interface between thereplacement sensors and the existing sensor support system. The actual physical dimensions andweights of the various system components were given to the students as constraints in theirdesign development. The educational goal of this effort is to engage students in a challengingand timely project that combines vibration analysis along with creative design opportunities.In addition to the normal grading of the students’ reports, a specially designed assessment toolwill be implemented to gauge the students’ reaction to the use of this kind of design project.Specific topics of interest include: 1) is this kind of project perceived to be more relevant (real-world vs. ‘academic’); 2) to what extent does the research-based element affect the students’perceptions and opinions about the value of the project; and 3) does this kind of projectcontribute to the students’ desire to be engaged in undergraduate research. These assessmentresults will be included in the final paper.

Keltie, R. F. (2015, June), Incorporating a Graduate Research Activity in an Undergraduate Vibrations Course Design Project Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24274

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