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Student Paper: The Current State of Pedagogy on Nondestructive Methods in Engineering Education

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

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July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Design Courses 1, Teaching Tools

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Justin Charles Major Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16

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Justin C. Major is a fifth-year Ph.D Candidate and National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow in the Purdue University Engineering Education Program. As an undergraduate student at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR), Justin completed Bachelor's degrees in both Mechanical Engineering and Secondary Mathematics Education with an informal emphasis in engineering education. Through his involvement in the UNR PRiDE Research Lab and engagement with the UNR and Northern Nevada STEM Education communities, he studied student motivation, active learning, and diversity; developed K-12 engineering education curriculum; and advocated for socioeconomically just access to STEM education. As a Ph.D. Candidate with the STRiDE Research Lab at Purdue University, Justin's dissertation research focuses on the study of Intersectionality Theory and the intersectionality of socioeconomic inequality in engineering education, use of critical quantitative methodology and narrative inquiry to understand the complex stories of engineering students from traditionally minoritized backgrounds, and the pursuit of a socioeconomically just engineering education.

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Tyler Tallman Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Tallman is an Assistant Professor in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue University. His research interests include multi-functional materials, structural health monitoring, nanocomposites, and inverse problems. He teaches undergraduate and graduate level courses in mechanics of materials, theory of elasticity, and nondestructive evaluation.

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The global importance of nondestructive methods (NDM) in the evaluation, testing, and inspection of aerospace materials and structures, though often underappreciated, cannot be understated. NDM are a critical background operation in many industries because the use of these methods allow for identification and correction of problems in the design, manufacturing, and even service, of products and structures (e.g. identifying and tracking fatigue crack growth), before potentially catastrophic failure can occur. This is especially important in potentially high-risk structures such as aircraft and civil infrastructure where failure can result in catastrophic loss-of-life and economic loss. Identification of such issues early-on therefore contributes to economic savings for manufacturers and consumers alike and contributes to the ethics of safety and reliability in engineering. Thus, furthering NDM is of paramount importance.

It is well known by material professionals that, to be able to conduct and interpret many NDM correctly, operators must receive proper, in-depth educational training on such subjects. Indeed, many NDM are very highly dependent on operator skill and training. However, little is known about the details surrounding NDM pedagogy and its current disciplinary state, including global perspectives on what steps NDM education must take to continue to secure broader economic and ethical interests in the future. In this paper, we address this gap in knowledge through a review of existent work on NDM engineering education. Specifically, by reviewing peer-reviewed conference and journal papers on the topic of NDM pedagogy, we seek to describe (1) what is known more generally about NDM education globally, (2) what are agreed upon positive outcomes of current NDM education, and (3) what issues NDM education must address in the future.

Briefly, we find through our review that while the physical format of NDM education has changed over time (i.e. from manuals to training seminars to the university space), thus improving the potential and interest of NDM, many of the issues that first inspired these changes have gone unsolved. Such issues include needs for increased theoretical understanding of NDM use, as well as needs for increased interest in NDM overall. These needs included additional intellectual and financial buy-in from various stakeholders in education and industry. In addition, movement to the university space highlights six new challenges that must be overcome. These challenges include needs for: (1) even more NDM to be taught across programs, (2) increased resources and expertise that promote methodological growth, (3) broadened institutional support from administration and faculty alike, (4) increased partnerships with industry, (5) a more consistent institutional and disciplinary understanding of the role of university engineering programs in NDM education (e.g. theoretical vs. practical knowledge), and (6) an incorporation of student cognition and affect in the learning sciences surrounding how students learn NDM.

The needs of NDM education are extensive. However, addressing such issues is essential for securing the future of NDM education in meeting various global needs. In this paper we not only describe these issues in detail, but also provide practical directions for stakeholders in the aerospace engineering education community.

Major, J. C., & Tallman, T. (2021, July), Student Paper: The Current State of Pedagogy on Nondestructive Methods in Engineering Education Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

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