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Practical Skill Development, Analysis And Testing Are Used To Teach The Topic Of Heat Treatment Of Aerospace Aluminum Alloys

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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

Teaching Topics in Aircraft Manufacturing

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Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1166.1 - 12.1166.8



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Paper Authors

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Sergey Dubikovsky Purdue University

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Ronald Sterkenburg Purdue University

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

Practical skill development, analysis and testing are used to teach the topic of heat treatment of aerospace aluminum alloys Abstract

Students learn best when they can see the results of their efforts. Students of the Aviation Technology Department at Purdue University enroll in AT308 Manufacturing Processes in their junior year. AT308 is the fourth materials course in a series of five courses offered in the Aeronautical Technology curriculum, and this course is organized as a separate business venture to provide students with an opportunity to learn about the aviation manufacturing industry. The theoretical knowledge in this course is reinforced with practical skill development, which is crucially important for future maintenance professionals in the aviation industry. In the course of study, students are treated like a manufacturing company employs them. They are working in teams and learning how to work together, but are responsible individually. They function as team leads on some job assignments and quality control inspectors on others. By the time students have finished all assignments, they have experienced the whole concept of today’s manufacturing and assembly process. Modern industry is a complex mechanism, and students who understand it well and understand how it works have a better chance to find their dream job. For students to be successful, they have to understand the basic concepts, and one of the most important concepts in aerospace manufacturing is heat treatment of aluminum alloys. Students manufacture so called “dog bones”, and one aspect of this task is to learn how to use sheet metal equipment and understand the stamping process. However, it is more important for the students to learn the basics of material science, such as load and stress. The aerospace industry needs people who understand the properties of aluminum alloys, and how heat treatment changes those properties. Students test the hardness of original samples and compare them with others after various types of heat treatment have been applied. The manufacturing and testing is supported by theoretical calculations, which are done before the testing. The test results of the samples are recorded by students and analyzed later. Any unusual results are discussed with the whole class.


Too often a lack of “real-life” experience lies between the new graduate and his or her dream job. How do we fix this problem? How do we expose undergraduate students to the modern business environment with its full spectrum of complicated components, while still retaining the necessary academic and theoretical background? How do we break this circle where students should acquire knowledge before they start working, but to find a job they have to have some experience? It certainly looks like a “Catch-22”.

If someone is dreaming about becoming an aviation maintenance professional, the Aviation Technology Department at Purdue University has an answer. It offers an Aircraft Manufacturing Processes course (AT 308), which is organized as an independent business venture and simulates a real world manufacturing experience for students. During this course students are assigned tasks and job positions they will encounter during their professional career. The students spent a considerable amount of time in the classroom learning theory about heat treatment, loads, strains, and structural joints. The theory is reinforced in the materials laboratory where they manufacture and test several hands-on projects using manual and CNC mills and lathes, and test equipment.

Dubikovsky, S., & Sterkenburg, R. (2007, June), Practical Skill Development, Analysis And Testing Are Used To Teach The Topic Of Heat Treatment Of Aerospace Aluminum Alloys Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1670

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