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Introducing Research Concepts To Senior Students In Design Of Experiments Laboratory

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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

Design of Lab Experiments I

Tagged Division

Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.976.1 - 12.976.8



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Paper Authors


Gukan Rajaram North Carolina A&T State University

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Gukan Rajaram is a Post-doctoral research scientist in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. He received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from North Carolina A&T State University. His research is in the area of electrode and electrolyte synthesis and characterization for solid oxide fuel cells. He also teaches senior level mechanical engineering laboratory and actively involved in K-12 outreach activities.

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Devdas Pai North Carolina A&T State University

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Devdas M. Pai is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at NC A&T State University and Associate Director of the Center for Advanced Materials and Smart Structures. He teaches manufacturing processes and tribology related courses. A registered Professional Engineer in North Carolina, he serves on the Mechanical PE Exam Committee of the National Council of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors and is active in several divisions of ASEE and ASME.

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

Introducing Research Concepts to Senior Students in a Design of Experiments Laboratory Course


The country’s increasing demand for engineering talent has led to introduction of several innovative programs into the K-12 outreach activities and also in the existing undergraduate curriculum. One such activity is integrating research into the undergraduate program [1-4]. Over the last several years, many undergraduate courses have been offered with a research component which has resulted in a variety of positive outcomes[1]. Research-oriented courses enable the students to get experienced with enhanced presentation skills, group experience and applying research concepts in a professional environment. In this paper, we discuss about the introduction of a research oriented laboratory experiment into a course that has traditionally used machine shop processes such as spot welding and machining to teach experimental design. Achievement of student proficiency in designing experiments and statistically analyzing the data is the principal objective of this senior mechanical engineering laboratory course. During the initial few classes, the students perform simple experiments to understand the concepts of random variables and their distribution. They correlate the results to designing experiments and their quality. Later, they perform experiments using a factorial design of experiments chart. Then, the output data from the experiments are analyzed. Based on the experiments, a term project is assigned that will allow the students to develop an experimental design chart by identifying the independent and dependent variables, collecting data by performing experiments and using statistical tools to analyze the results. We are examining a new experimental design arena - where students have the opportunity to design simple experiments that will be performed using the sophisticated infrastructure of an advanced materials research lab. Powder metallurgy and solid oxide fuel cells concepts are introduced to the students through this project. The principal motivation is to expose all students to the state of the art and stimulating more of them to favorably consider a research career.

Course Objective

This particular course is a senior level laboratory course, MEEN 502 – Mechanical Engineering Laboratory III, the third in a series of four laboratory courses. The course is about the application of statistical methods in the engineering field. The course enables the student to design the experiment, conduct the experiment, collect data, analyze and interpret the experimental results.


Yttria stabilized zirconia (YSZ) particles constitute the most popular starting material for fabricating electrodes for solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs). In an ongoing research project in our Center, we have been using YSZ particles of average size ~ 58 nm. During the first stage, the students work with the instructor to design an experiment to study he effect of processing parameters on the density (and hence porosity) of the compacted and sintered electrodes. Since the students did not have a prior knowledge about the compaction behavior of YSZ material, the

Rajaram, G., & Pai, D. (2007, June), Introducing Research Concepts To Senior Students In Design Of Experiments Laboratory Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2699

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