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Manufacturing In An Introductory Materials Course

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Materials and Manufacturing Processes

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.836.1 - 8.836.4



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Paper Authors

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Sarah Leach

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

Manufacturing in an Introductory Materials Course

Sarah E. Leach Purdue University


The mechanical engineering technology curriculum includes formal courses in manufacturing processes, but manufacturing considerations should also be incorporated into courses intended to teach fundamental theoretical principles. Adding materials processing exposure in parallel with theory has a number of benefits for students. These benefits include: helping students to understand how fundamental principles relate to processes and controls, giving them an appreciation for the scale and pace of manufacturing environments, increasing their awareness of the number and type of goods produced in their geographic area, and maintaining their interest in a technical education and career. This paper presents examples of topics, demonstrations, and field trips used in an introductory materials course for freshman and sophomores. Materials processing information does not detract from the focus of the course, but rather enhances the ability of students to see connections between theory and implementation.


Materials courses emphasize understanding the relationship between the internal structure and resulting physical and mechanical properties of materials. This understanding has always been essential for appropriate selection and application of materials even when the primary engineering materials were ferrous alloys and wood. Today, the selection of available materials includes a wide range of metal alloys, polymers, ceramics, and composites. It becomes challenging to review all of the relevant material choices in a one-semester materials course. Standard laboratory exercises allow students to explore physical and mechanical properties like density, hardness, impact strength, and tensile strength. Additional classroom activities can introduce students to materials processing and the relationships between process control and material properties. The suggested topics and activities in this paper are intended to be additions or enhancements to a materials course covering basic information about atomic structure and the nature and structure of solid materials.

Manufacturing Process Topics

Steel and the iron-carbon equilibrium phase diagram are classic components of a materials course. Steel and cast iron are useful examples of metallurgical principles of alloying as well as heat treatment and history-dependent properties. These topics can be studied independently of understanding ore extraction and reduction or the history of steel production in the United States.

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Leach, S. (2003, June), Manufacturing In An Introductory Materials Course Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12132

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