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Teaching Applied Electromagnetics To Engineering Technology Students

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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

Innovative Curriculum in ET

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.1165.1 - 9.1165.10



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Jay Porter

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Session 3449

Teaching Applied Electromagnetics to Engineering Technology Students

J. R. Porter

Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843


In a world where computer bus speeds have increased beyond 1 GHz and wireless communications/connectivity are common place, electronics and telecommunication engineering technology (ET) graduates require an understanding of basic applied electromagnetic concepts. To address this issue, many ET programs now offer courses in radio frequency electronics, transmission lines, and other high frequency concepts. This paper discusses a new engineering technology course recently implemented at Texas A&M University that stresses fundamental principles and real world applications of applied electromagnetics. The course includes a weekly lab for reinforcing the classroom concepts. The course begins by expanding on concepts that students have learned in their basic circuits courses. By discussing the concept of “real” components and parasitic capacitances and inductances, students learn to look at even the most basic circuits in a new way, recognizing new sources of coupling, crosstalk, and loss. Transmission line concepts are then introduced followed by Maxwell’s equations. Students learn the concepts of the plane wave, wave reflection and transmission, boundary conditions, and penetration depth. These principles are then applied to waveguides, antennas, and free space wave propagation. The final subject of the course is an introduction to RF communication links. Basic communication system architectures are presented and the concepts of noise, signal-to- noise ratio, and link budgets are introduced. This paper will discuss the course curriculum and the laboratory in detail.


In today’s industry where many electronic systems operate at increasing frequencies, an understanding of fundamental electromagnetics is becoming not only a desired trait but also a requirement for the entry-level engineering technology (ET) graduate. Whereas twenty years ago, an understanding of high frequency effects was only required by a very specialized group of people, it is now a necessity in most ET positions. It is anticipated that in the near future, most system engineer positions will require a working knowledge of analog, digital and radio frequency (RF) concepts.1 For example, with the speed of modern computer networks, the

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

Porter, J. (2004, June), Teaching Applied Electromagnetics To Engineering Technology Students Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13496

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