Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Smart Materials and Structures is a senior level technical elective course for undergraduates, in which three types of smart materials were introduced, including piezoelectric materials, shape memory alloys, and magnetostrictive materials. In addition to the introduction of basic properties of these smart materials, an active vibration and motion control systems that utilize these materials were also included. The involved techniques to study these materials are pioneer in the field of materials science and engineering and most of them are still in the research stage. For most students, realizing these advanced materials and technology is the first time. Therefore, it is a challenge to for students to understand the course materials in depth. In order to overcome this challenge, experimental studies were introduced as part of the course through an active learning platform. Multiple labs designed to reinforce the fundamental concepts and principles of piezoelectric materials. Lead zirconate titanate (PZT) ceramics were used for the experiments, due to its strong piezoelectric effect and low cost. First two labs, including measurement of the hysteresis loop of polarization vs. electric field using a modified Sawyer-Tower circuit and determination of electro-mechanical behavior of PZT, intended to cover fundamental concepts that emphasize on piezoelectric properties. Third experiment was performed primarily focusing on the fabrication of a piezoelectric actuator to activate a cantilever beam, which provided an opportunity for students to apply their knowledge and skills learned in the class to solve a practical problem. In addition to the study of piezoelectric material, phase transformation of a shape memory alloy due to the change in temperature was also observed. The students were required to carry out these labs in a group of four to five members. The outcome of the experimental studies was evaluated by written reports, which includes learning objective, experimental methods, results, and discussions. These lab sessions enriched the course materials and provided students an active learning environment, where they could relate fundamental knowledge for problem solving while interacting with other students and an instructor. The students also gained hands-on experience in the process of preparation and operation of these labs. The impact of experimental studies on student learning outcomes was assessed based on the lab reports and anonymous questionnaires.
Zhao, P., & Liu, H., & Dhanasekaran Swaminathan, P. (2018, June), Integrating Experimental Studies into a Senior Level Course: Smart Materials and Structures Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30685
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