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Integrating Aerospace Research Materials into a Project-based First-year Engineering Design Course

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Aircraft Design Education

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

25.793.1 - 25.793.18



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Paper Authors


Jacques C. Richard Texas A&M University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Richard got his Ph. D. at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1989 & a B. S. at Boston University, 1984. He was at NASA Glenn, 1989-1995, taught at Northwestern for Fall 1995, worked at Argonne National Lab, 1996-1997, Chicago State, 1997-2002. Dr. Richard is a Sr. Lecturer & Research Associate in Aerospace Engineering @ Texas A&M since 1/03. His research is focused on computational plasma modeling using spectral and lattice Boltzmann methods such as in plasma turbulence ( and plasma jets
( His research has also included fluid physics using Lattice-Boltzmann (; electric propulsion (; spectral element, etc.
(see, Weighted Essentially Non-Oscillatory (, etc.
Past research includes modeling single and multi-species plasma flows through ion thruster optics and the discharge cathode assembly; computer simulations of blood flow interacting with blood vessels; modeling ocean-air interaction; reacting flow systems; modeling jet engine turbomachinery going unstable at NASA for 6 years (received NASA Performance Cash awards). Dr. Richard is involved in many outreach activities: e.g., tutoring, mentoring, directing related grants (for example, a grant for an NSF REU site, see Dr, Richard is active in professional societies (American Physical Society (APS), American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), etc.). Dr. Richard has authored or co-authored about 22 technical articles (17 of which are refereed publications). For more info see

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Kristi J. Shryock Texas A&M University

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Kristi J. Shryock is the Assistant Department Head for Undergraduate Programs and Outreach in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&M University. She is also a Senior Lecturer in the department. She received her Ph.D. in interdisciplinary engineering with a research focus on engineering education. She works to improve the undergraduate engineering experience through evaluating preparation in mathematics and physics, incorporating experiential education in the classroom, and introducing multidisciplinary design.

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Dimitris C. Lagoudas P.E. Texas A&M University

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Dimitris C. Lagoudas received his B.S. from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece in 1982 and his Ph.D. from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Penn., in 1986. Lagoudas arrived at Texas A&M in 1992 and currently serves as the Department Head and the inaugural recipient of the John and Bea Slattery Chair in aerospace engineering. As Director for the Texas Institute for Intelligent Materials and Structures (TiiMS), his research involves the design, characterization, and constitutive modeling of multifunctional material systems at various length scales and considering various functionalities, including mechanical, thermal, and electrical. His research team is recognized internationally, especially in the area of modeling and characterization of shape memory alloys and multifunctional composites. He has authored or co-authored about 350 scientific publications, including 167 in archival journals, several of which are now considered classic papers in the field. The theoretical models that his research group developed have been implemented into finite element analysis software and utilized by many industrial and governmental entities (Boeing, DoD, and NASA), as well as academic institutions worldwide.

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Integrating Aerospace Research Materials into a Project-Based First-Year Engineering Design CourseFaculty members at a large public university have made significant strides in using project-basedlearning in a first-year engineering course to promote understanding of mathematics and scienceand the practice of engineering. Project specifications developed and utilized for the last sevenyears ensure students use mathematics and science concepts in the engineering process of designand modeling to make performance predictions prior to the build and then use the build to obtainverified results.Seeking to excite freshman students about aerospace materials science applications in the first-year, faculty members and graduate students in the Aerospace Engineering department at theInstitution developed projects involving shape memory alloys (SMAs), which utilize the shapememory effect for shape and actuation control applications. By introducing projects usingSMAs, students learn about their applications, their relationship to the aerospace field, and thepotential for material science as a future research goal. This paper will expand on the workpublished in the proceedings of the 2011 ASEE Conference & Exposition. Through the use ofSMAs and standard Lego Mindstorm kits, the project involves students building andprogramming a Mars-rover type Lego robot to accomplish a mission. In keeping with theaerospace theme, a lightweight material is optimally preferred and central to actuating the robotarm in lieu of a motor-driven arm. By introducing projects using SMAs, students learn abouttheir applications, their relation to the aerospace field, and the potential for material science as afuture research goal. This paper will present specifications for the project developed involvingSMAs, provide details on the implementation and integration of aerospace materials withengineering design and visual programming, and summarize the results of the project.

Richard, J. C., & Shryock, K. J., & Lagoudas, D. C. (2012, June), Integrating Aerospace Research Materials into a Project-based First-year Engineering Design Course Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21550

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