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The Chisel Test: A Simple, Scalable Learning Activity to Compare Cold Working, Hot Working, and Quench Hardening of Steels

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Practical Teaching in Manufacturing - 1

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1511.1 - 26.1511.12



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Paper Authors


Julia L. Morse Kansas State University, Salina

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Julia Morse is Associate Professor and Program Coordinator for Mechanical Engineering Technology at Kansas State University, K-State Salina. A Certified Manufacturing Engineer (CMfgE) and a Certified Enterprise Integrator (CEI), she teaches lecture and laboratory courses in the areas of computer-aided design, manufacturing and materials, and automation systems. Prof. Morse earned a B.S in Industrial Engineering from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and an M.S. in Manufacturing Systems Engineering from Auburn University, where she also worked with Auburn Industrial Extension Service. Her work in industry includes engineering experience in quality control, industrial engineering, and design and development functions for automotive parts manufacturers in North Carolina and Germany.

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Mark Baugh Weber State University

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Mark R. Baugh is Associate Professor in Manufacturing Engineering Technology at Weber State University, Ogden, Utah, where he serves as a regional center director for WeldEd and a coordinator of the Miller Electric Regional Training Center. He serves as a national educator trainer for NSF-sponsored WeldEd Workshop "Module 1 - Welding Metallurgy." Recent scholarship focuses on the welding effects on mechanical properties of titanium. He earned an M.S. Industrial Technology, Welding Engineering Technology from Utah State University and a B.S. in Economics from the University of Utah. He formerly served as Associate Director of the Huntsman Environmental Research Center at Utah State University. In 2005 the regional American Welding Society recognized Prof. Baugh with an award for his role in bringing the welding-emphasis bachelor's program to Weber State University.

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Laboratory experiences with hot and cold working and heat treating typically handle and observe each type of process and its effects separately, carefully preparing specimens and testing and taking data using standard materials testing methods. Observation of results is relatively slow and driven by interpretation of test data. “The Chisel Test” provides a simple introductory comparison which actively engages students in the cold working, hot working, and quench hardening of carbon steel flat bar stock into simple tapered “chisels” and then testing the results by pounding the worked edges against each other. Effects of the process are observed immediately in the context which ultimately matters to an engineer: performance testing.

The active involvement, kinesthetic experience, and visual and auditory effects of hot-working steel create a high-sensory, engaging, memorable learning experience. Equipment is easily accessible and simple requirements allow the working of material to be performed by novices without a dedicated foundry area. Scalability of pre- and post-treatment testing makes variations on the activity applicable to a variety of depths and audiences. According to the needs of the course objectives, performance results can be compared alongside hardness testing data taken the same day, or even followed up with more extensive metallographic preparation and observation of grain structure. Inconsistencies in geometry and integrity of the worked surfaces provide opportunity for students to experience and work through the challenges of obtaining measurements, formulating analysis, and extrapolating conclusions in less-than-ideal conditions.

The activity has been applied as a demonstration activity by welding educators, and as a fuller laboratory exercise in engineering metallurgy or manufacturing process courses at multiple institutions. The effectiveness of the activity is assessed through observation of student participation during the activity, and from direct evaluation of student accomplishment of related learning objectives on exams and lab reports.

Morse, J. L., & Baugh, M. (2015, June), The Chisel Test: A Simple, Scalable Learning Activity to Compare Cold Working, Hot Working, and Quench Hardening of Steels Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24849

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