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Teaching About Materials Using Electronic Devices

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Materials Science for Nonmajors

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.1157.1 - 9.1157.5



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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

Session 3464

Teaching About Materials Using Electronic Devices

Sarah E. Leach Purdue University

Abstract Introductory materials courses must, of necessity, contain a great deal of theoretical and foundational information about the structure and properties of materials. Material categories are often studied separately, with comparisons being made between types. This paper describes a laboratory experience designed to bring together different types of materials, by studying complex manufactured devices. Many electronic packaging systems, including chip carriers and thick-film circuits, comprise many layers of various material types. The polymer, ceramic, and metallic materials used to construct and package electronic devices are chosen and combined carefully to take advantage of the distinctive physical and mechanical properties of each material category. During the lab session students dissect and examine devices and electronic packaging systems to understand more about the ways materials can be used together to create complex structures. The lab was designed for lower division students who are not materials science majors. Emphasis is placed on understanding the physical and mechanical properties involved in material selection, and on understanding how combinations of material types can be used to satisfy design requirements.

Background This laboratory exercise is presented near the end of the semester, after students have learned about material structure, the relationships between structures and both physical and mechanical properties, the concepts of stress and strain, and the general characteristics of different families or types of materials. Application examples utilized to this point in the semester are usually large, common objects, for example; automobiles, bicycles, airplanes, toasters, hammers, skis, or golf clubs. This laboratory exercise does not introduce entirely new materials or concepts, but serves to reinforce these concepts using very small functional structures and the new combinations of materials.

Description A brief lecture introduces the students to the history of electronic packaging, beginning with examples of macroscopic wiring like a lamp or a simple circuit on a breadboard. The technological transformation of electrical and electronic applications from soldered wires to printed circuit boards to devices carried on silicon chips is illustrated with physical samples, photographs, and packaging industry literature. Emphasis is placed on the idea that packaging applications have become smaller and smaller, while simultaneously having increased functionality and becoming less expensive.1,2 Students are introduced to a brief glossary of terms and acronyms, to give them an understanding of some of the nomenclature and typical configurations used in packaging applications. Listed below is an example of a glossary to be distributed to students.

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Leach, S. (2004, June), Teaching About Materials Using Electronic Devices Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13143

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