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Materials All Around Us

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1996 Annual Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

June 23, 1996

Start Date

June 23, 1996

End Date

June 26, 1996



Page Count


Page Numbers

1.315.1 - 1.315.6

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Paper Authors

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James A. Jacobs

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

Session 1664 Materials All Around Us

James A. Jacobs School of Technology Norfolk State University

Key Words: Materials system, journal

Prerequisite Knowledge: Initially none, but as course progressives students must be able to connect properties to the main groups of materials to their applications. Suitable for pre-college - see References below for supplements.

Objectives: T o observe materials in our environment To determine the properties of materials that cause their uses in materials systems To develop a strong rationale for gaining a knowledge about engineering materials

Supplies: The variety of materials around us that we encounter daily

Students often look for a strong rationale for studying a subject. Among the advantages to teaching a basic course in materials science or engineering materials is the fact that materials are all around us. While many people, including technical people, don’t give much attention to materials, we can teach students to become materials observers. We should encourage them to look for proper and improper materials selection. They benefit from this knowledge as consumers, citizens, and in their careers.

Procedures: 1. Journal - Keep a journal with which regular entries about materials that include: a) applications in service, b) news reports, c) advertisements, d) candidates for usage. The journal should have entries entitled: date, observations and analysis. Sample entries are shown on the journal page below. For the sake of space, I used simplistic examples that illustrate the range of items that might be observed. Each item could involve very thorough analysis, but the goal is to make materials observers of students and let that motivate them to dig deeper into the subject.

The journal doesn’t require grading but serves as a focal point for discussion. Discuss these observations and analysis in class. Many analyses will be simplistic. As the course progresses, students should be able to make progressively more informed analysis as demonstrated on the sample below. Few of us possess the background to analyze all material conditions. It is difficult to simply look at an alloy or plastic and be able to make proper identification. This should not be a deterrent. Rather, it provides the opportunity for students to share their unique experiences and knowledge for which both professor and students learn. The journal idea connects with the “Writing Across the Curriculum” movement. This aims to encourage technical students to engage in free style writing in all courses. I encourage my


:{ } 1996 ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings ‘J311a’,:

Jacobs, J. A. (1996, June), Materials All Around Us Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia.

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