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Individual Project Based Approach To Develop Research Aptitude In Manufacturing Engineering Students

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Pedagogical Issues in Manufacturing Education

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

12.882.1 - 12.882.11



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Paper Authors


Jitendra Tate Texas State University-San Marcos

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Dr. Jitendra S. Tate is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering and Technology at Texas State University-San Marcos. He teaches courses in Materials Engineering, Plastics and Composites Manufacturing, Engineering Design Graphics, and Computer Aided Engineering. His research interests include low cost manufacturing of composites, mechanical characterization of composites under static and dynamic loading, fatigue life prediction modeling, finite element analysis, CADD, and statistical analysis. He is a member of several professional societies including ASME, SAMPE, AIAA, and ASEE.

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Vedraman Sriraman Texas State University-San Marcos

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Dr.Vedaraman Sriraman is a Professor and Interim Chair, in the Department of Engineering and Technology at Texas State University-San Marcos. He teaches courses in areas such as design, processes, manufacturing systems and applied statistics. His research interests include: engineering education, automated manufacturing systems, and sustainable manufacturing. He has successfully implemented many grants from agencies such as the NSF and SME-EF. He is a member of SME, NAIT and ASEE.

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

Individual Project-based Approach to Develop Research Aptitude in Manufacturing Engineering Students


This paper chronicles experiences with individual research-paper projects in teaching a senior level course on Polymer Properties and Processing to manufacturing engineering majors. Polymer Properties and Processing is one of five elective courses in the area of processes. Students complete courses on ‘Materials Engineering’ and ‘Materials Selection and Processes’ prior to taking this course. The course exposes students to current trends in plastics and composites industry as a means to prepare them for graduate study. Accordingly, in this course rather than assigning team based projects, research paper topics were assigned on an individual basis. Thirty percent weight was given to this research activity.

Students were systematically prepared for taking up the research paper activity. Demonstrations were organized in the research laboratories in the Chemistry department pertaining to basic polymer characterization techniques. These techniques include GPC, TGA, and DMA. Three industrial visits were organized to expose students to injection molding, extrusion, and carbon- composite manufacturing processes. Students also viewed videos prepared by the ‘Society of Manufacturing Engineers’ in the areas of processing.

The instructor suggested a few important research topics. These topics included polymer nanocomposites; bio-based polymers and composites; and polymers in NVH applications. Students were also encouraged to bring their own topic ideas. Students were expected to refer handbooks, magazines, research articles, and web sources. They were encouraged to visit industry and research labs within and outside university. A minimum of 15 core technical references were expected from different sources. Students prepared a 10-12 page research paper and delivered a 10 minute presentation in front of the entire class. Two external evaluators with broad industrial experience were invited to assess the performance. Course evaluations revealed very promising results and provided concrete feedback. In fact, out of ten students, three have decided to pursue careers in composite materials. This paper details the pedagogy and the research paper activity.


Manufacturing engineering is a relatively new and small program in the department (Refer Table 1). Our “hands-on”, curriculum includes laboratory experiences in physics, chemistry, computer- aided design, manufacturing processes, RP, quality assurance, electronics, robotics, microelectronics manufacturing, simulation and computer integrated manufacturing. The manufacturing engineering program is scheduled to undergo ABET accreditation in Fall 2007. Companies such as Toyota, Northrup-Grumann, Boeing, National Instruments, etc. as manufacturing or process engineers have hired our graduates. We are in the process of collecting data pertaining to number of students enrolled for graduate studies, but this number is very small. Though our curriculum emphasizes “hands-on” and team based learning, it does little formally

Tate, J., & Sriraman, V. (2007, June), Individual Project Based Approach To Develop Research Aptitude In Manufacturing Engineering Students Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1610

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