June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
24.878.1 - 24.878.11
Machine Design Experiments Using Mechanical Springs to Foster Discover LearningFor the typical undergraduate engineering student the topic of mechanical springs is introducedand discussed in several courses. A first exposure may be in a physics course, where springs arepresented as idealized mechanical energy storage components. Springs store potential energy,complementing masses that store kinetic energy and dampers that are resistive and offer noenergy storage capability. In an electrical circuit course, springs are often presented as the analogof either capacitors or inductors, depending on which analogy is used. For mechanicalengineering students, springs are a core component studied in machine design courses, where thenomenclature and design equations are developed for various types of springs. There may be arudimentary exposure to real springs in a mechanical engineering laboratory; more often,students may see real springs passed around in class and as part of demonstrations.In this paper we describe new experiments that were designed to provide mechanical engineeringstudents with discovery learning experiences with springs. The suite of practical experimentspresents students with a range of challenges that require them to analyze, measure, design, andfabricate springs. Activities in the experiments include: (1) Identifying spring types (tension, compression, torsion) and appropriate applications (automotive door latches, bicycle suspensions, pens). (2) Disassembling and re-assembling a padlock (with design and manufacturing questions related to its springs, and measurement of the stiffness of the shackle compression spring). (3) Creating linear and nonlinear stiffnesses from series and parallel combinations of a set of springs (requiring stiffness measurements of the given springs and determining desired stiffnesses to achieve target natural frequencies). (4) Designing linear, hardening, and/or softening springs for different applications, fabricating the springs via rapid prototyping (3D printing), and testing their suitability.In addition to reporting the details of the experiments, we share experiences of students andteaching assistants in their use and effectiveness. We provide insights into how well studentsbecame familiar with types and nomenclature of springs and understood the applicability ofdifferent springs to actual real-world problems. The intent of the experiments is to effectivelyenhance mechanical engineering students' awareness of springs and expand their knowledge andconfidence in spring design.
Malak, P. W., & Nagurka, M. L. (2014, June), Machine Design Experiments Using Mechanical Springs to Foster Discovery Learning Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. https://peer.asee.org/22811
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