June 15, 1997
June 15, 1997
June 18, 1997
2.246.1 - 2.246.5
Integrating Design Projects into an Introductory Course in Mechanics of Materials
David S. Cottrell, Stephen J. Ressler United States Military Academy
This paper describes the use of design projects in an introductory mechanics of materials course at the United States Military Academy. These projects serve to reinforce topics taught in the classroom and to introduce students to the engineering design process with their first hands-on design experience. Three representative examples of actual projects are presented. Students’ end-of-course assessments are used to validate the effectiveness of the projects.
In recent years, much has been written about the many potential benefits resulting from a freshman-level “Introduction to Engineering” or “Introduction to Design” course. Despite these benefits, however, many institutions have been unable to add such a course to their engineering curricula, for a variety of legitimate reasons. The United States Military Academy is one such institution. At USMA, all students take 31 common core courses, 16 of which are in the humanities. This substantial core curriculum leaves precious little room for the critical engineering topics necessary for maintaining viable, ABET-accredited engineering programs. In addition, our students do not select their academic major until their sophomore year and generally are not able to take any engineering courses until the second semester of that year. Thus a freshman “Introduction to Design” course is not a pragmatic option, and we must seek other vehicles for introducing our students to design at the earliest practical point in the curriculum.
This paper describes the use of design projects in an introductory mechanics of materials course at USMA. These projects serve not only to reinforce the topics taught in the classroom, but more importantly to introduce students to the engineering design process and to provide them with their first hands-on design experience.
The course is EM364A Mechanics of Materials, taken by all students majoring in civil and mechanical engineering, generally during the Fall semester of their junior year. For most of these students, EM364A is their second engineering course, but their first course with a design component. The course content is conventional, with coverage of internal forces, stress, strain, and deformations for various types of loading—axial, flexural, torsional, shear, and internal pressure. For each of these topics, however, the calculation of stresses and deformations is always taught within the context of their application to the analysis and design of actual structural components and systems.
Cottrell, D. S., & Ressler, S. J. (1997, June), Integrating Design Projects Into An Introductory Course In Mechanics Of Materials Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. https://peer.asee.org/6632
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