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Laboratory Measurement Activities in a First-Year Engineering Technology Class

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

Experimentation and Laboratory-Oriented Studies Division Technical Session 6

Tagged Division

Experimentation and Laboratory-Oriented Studies

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Paper Authors


Joseph P. Fuehne P.E. Purdue Polytechnic Institute

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Joe Fuehne received a B.S. degree in aeronautical/astronautical engineering in 1983 from the University of Illinois and M.S. (1988) and Ph.D. (1990) degrees in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M University. In between undergraduate and graduate school, he worked for two years in the flight test department at McDonnell Aircraft Company in various locations, including the Naval Air Test Center at Patuxent River in Maryland and the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force base in California. During graduate school, Dr. Fuehne focused his efforts on finite element analysis of laminated composite materials. After graduate school, Dr. Fuehne spent seven years in Houston, Texas, working for the Cooper Cameron Corporation doing finite element analysis on oil field equipment. From 1998 to 2002, Dr. Fuehne performed similar work on automobile exhaust systems for ArvinMeritor Inc. in Columbus, Ind. In January of 2002, he accepted a position as an assistant professor of mechanical engineering technology for Purdue University at their satellite campus in Columbus, Ind. Since then, Dr. Fuehne has taught 15 different classes in the MET department and authored papers on real-world applications in thermodynamics, assessment practices targeted at ABET accreditation, K-12 outreach programs , and measurement science and training.

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The institution is one of ten statewide extensions of the primary state university and is located about an hour south of Indianapolis in an economic region dominated by manufacturing. Just less than 40% of the workforce in this 10 county region is directly employed by the manufacturing industry. The primary employer in the region is diesel-engine manufacturer Cummins, Inc. but there are many others including Toyota, Honda, Faurecia, NTN Driveshaft, Valeo, and Aisin. Most of the manufacturing industry is related to automobile production. The organization is unique among higher education institutions due to a partnership with diesel-engine manufacturer Cummins Inc. that has led to an environmentally-controlled metrology lab located within the university facility. The lab contains a calibrated coordinate measuring machine, calibrated tensile tester, a surface finish instrument, a roundness tester and a plethora of donated hand tools including calipers, micrometers, height gauges, bore gauges, PI tapes, sine blocks, and several sets of gauge blocks. The challenge has been to integrate measurement activities into a curriculum and an academic program that has not historically emphasized measurement. One effort is to utilize a first-semester “gateway” class to introduce measurement concepts as a way to foster further measurement emphasis throughout the curriculum. The institution is using modernized teaching methods that are “research-proven, state-of-the-art teaching methods that are different, fun, challenging and more effective.” This gateway class attempts to integrate nearly all facets of the measurement lab into the learn-by-doing activities to provide a fun, unparalleled experience for the first-time students. Activities described in the paper include micrometer calibration using gauge blocks, a study of springs using a height gauge and mass standards, pressure and force measurements of footballs, load-displacement characteristics of various bandages, and calculation of volume and surface area of various objects using calipers, micrometers, and rulers. In all cases, students are required to summarize data by developing graphs and tables using spreadsheet software. This proposal includes a “BYOE” element and involves demonstrating the use of Vernier calipers with several 3D printed artifacts to enhance the presentation.

Fuehne, J. P. (2019, June), Laboratory Measurement Activities in a First-Year Engineering Technology Class Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33042

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