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Testing Several Composite Materials In A Material Science Course Under The Engineering Technology Curriculum

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Curriculum in Mechanical Engineering Technology: Part I

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.1201.1 - 15.1201.22



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Paper Authors


N.M. Hossain Eastern Washington University

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Dr. Hossain is an assistant professor in the Department of Engineering and Design at Eastern Washington University, Cheney. His research interests involve the computational and experimental analysis of lightweight space structures and composite materials. Dr. Hossain received M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Materials Engineering and Science from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, Rapid City, South Dakota.

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Jason Durfee Eastern Washington University

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Professor DURFEE received his BS and MS degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Brigham Young University. He holds a Professional Engineer certification. Prior to teaching at Eastern Washington University he was a military pilot, an engineering instructor at West Point and an airline pilot. His interests include aerospace, aviation, professional ethics and piano technology.

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

Testing Several Composite Materials in a Material Science Course under the Engineering Technology Curriculum


The primary objective of a material science course is to provide the fundamental knowledge necessary to understand important concepts in engineering materials, and how these concepts relate to engineering design. In our institution, this course involves different laboratory performances to obtain various material properties and to reinforce students’ understanding to grasp the course objectives. As we are on a quarter system, this course becomes very aggressive and challenging to complete the intended course syllabus in a satisfactory manner within the limited time. It leaves very little time for students and instructor to incorporate thorough study any additional items such as composite materials. Therefore, the authors propose to provide basic concepts on composite materials through successive laboratory performances besides the regular classroom lectures. The learning process starts with a basic understanding of composite constituents such as matrix and fiber, their types, properties and the manufacturing processes. After acquiring the necessary theoretical knowledge, students perform a series of experiments dealing with several composite materials.

First, students are introduced to different unidirectional laminates prepared with variable ply thickness. They are asked to sketch the expected force vs. deformation and stress vs. strain diagrams of each laminate before conducting the real experiment. This experiment demonstrates the concept of strength which is geometry or size independent for metals. For composites, this statement could also be true ignoring the heterogeneous effect on a small enough scale. Composite laminates are also prepared with different fiber orientations. Students are asked to draw the expected experimental response when the composites are loaded along the longitudinal and transverse direction of fibers. This experiment demonstrates the concept of anisotropy, an inherently related phenomenon with any composite material. Then students perform the tensile testing of several multi-ply laminates prepared with carbon, glass and kevlar fibers. This experiment exhibits several concepts such as laminate strength that depends on the number of plies, fiber orientation and the types of fiber. The proposed learning methodology studies students’ achievements of numerous concepts on composite materials. The purpose of this paper is to explain the details of this laboratory project as well as discussing the educational outcomes obtained in our material science curriculum.


One of the challenges in modern education is to minimize the gap between the academic knowledge and to comprehend that knowledge for subsequent applications, analysis and design. Students often view education as an effort to memorize as many important facts as possible. On the other hand, we educators want those students to implement their knowledge with proper understanding to solve realistic engineering problems. It is a fact that we cannot apply our knowledge to solve any engineering problem if we do not understand properly, or if we have a lack of concepts. This phenomenon has already been identified by Benjamin Bloom in his cognitive Taxonomy1 during 1950. He identified six levels in education that most educators

Hossain, N., & Durfee, J. (2010, June), Testing Several Composite Materials In A Material Science Course Under The Engineering Technology Curriculum Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--15721

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