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Introduction Of Nanotechnology Into Fundamental Engineering Classes: How To Think Small In A Good Way!

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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

FPD8 -- Introductory Courses

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.983.1 - 12.983.8



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Paper Authors


Robert Pieri North Dakota State University

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Bob Pieri is Professor of Mechanical Engineering at NDSU in Fargo, ND. He has many conference publications on engineering education and design. His primary interest areas include: Engineering Education, CADD, Design, Fracture Mechanics, Materials Science and Alternative Energy Options. Prior to joining NDSU, he taught for 10 years at the US Air Force Academy.

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Ghodrat Karami North Dakota State University

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

Introduction of Nanotechnology into Fundamental Mechanics Classes: How to Think Small in a Good Way!


Calls for engineering curriculum review to increase effectiveness and relevance have been made by both industry and university communities over the past decade. When considering the fundamental engineering courses in Statics, Dynamics and Mechanics of Materials it is important that the traditions long associated with these courses do not stand in the way of improving their relevance by inclusion of technological advances. This paper will discuss an approach and propose some examples that can be utilized to introduce the latest arena of technological research, nanotechnology, into one of these foundation courses, Statics. Using constructivist theory, this paper will discuss ways to facilitate intellectual development of new college students as they reanalyze their world in ways that open connections to the submicroscopic world. This multiscale engineering approach will be set in the framework of a Statics course utilizing existing physical and intellectual resources and activities in innovative fashions to impact the thought process of undergraduate engineering students. This will be done in such a manner, through the application of creative modules, as to allow these students to easily move up or down the size continuum, tackling problems at the micro- or nano-scales as easily as “full-size” problems. The efforts will be facilitated by using the simulation capabilities of Computer Aided Design and Drafting (CADD) as well as the analysis capabilities of Finite Element Modeling (FEM).


In the midst of today's global technical challenges with respect to the environment, energy, healthcare and general quality of life, the pivotal role of engineering education to prepare the next generation of problem solvers goes with out question. However, as pointed out in recent publications, 1, 2 the topics, methods and audience of this enterprise requires ongoing assessment and revision to ensure relevance, efficacy and accessibility for local and global consumers. In keeping with this concept, the authors believe that the fundamental discipline of classical mechanics with respect to the current scientific interest in nanotechnologies, offers an opportunity for such assessment and revision. The focus of this paper, one of two proposed for the 2007 ASEE Annual Conference, will describe some beginning plans and actions for the inclusion of nanotechnology into a typical freshman year Statics course.

Pieri, R., & Karami, G. (2007, June), Introduction Of Nanotechnology Into Fundamental Engineering Classes: How To Think Small In A Good Way! Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2475

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