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The Development Of A Project Based Introduction To Manufacturing Laboratory Involving A Stirling Engine

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.555.1 - 3.555.9

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Paper Authors

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Vipin Kumar

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Scott Grove

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Rajendra K. Bordia

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John E. Weller

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

Session 2563

The Development of a Project-Based Introduction to Manufacturing Laboratory Involving a Stirling Engine

John E. Weller (1), Vipin Kumar (1), Scott Grove(1), and Rajendra K, Bordia (2)

(1) University of Washington, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, Seattle, WA (2) University of Washington, Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering, Seattle, WA

Abstract Many current introduction to manufacturing courses contain a series of individual labs illustrating different processes: turning, milling, polymer processing, casting, etc. Although students leave these courses with an understanding of manufacturing processes and some limited experience analyzing them, they all too often dislike these laboratories since they discourage self-learning, and often appear contrived. In addition, many of these labs do not give students hands-on experience with a variety of the subtle manufacturing-related issues like tolerances, surface finish, quality, assemblability, and the trade- offs between accuracy and time, since these issues have essentially been designed out of the exercises.

A new project-based laboratory has been developed and tested where students manufacture a working Stirling engine. The engine contains approximately 30 parts that require the use of a wide range of processes. Although complex, the engine can be produced by teams with as few as eight students within a one quarter course. The project is a truly team-driven exercise, requiring both student participation and communication, and has received extremely enthusiastic response. This paper describes experience in developing a project-based manufacturing laboratory, and includes a description of the manufacturing processes employed, associated exercises, and expected outcomes.

Introduction At the University of Washington, we currently have one undergraduate course devoted to manufacturing processes, ME 304. This course is intended to be taken during the middle of the Junior year, and has minimal prerequisites: knowledge of stress-strain relations in engineering materials, and metallurgy of ferrous and nonferrous metals. The course is 3 quarter-credit hours, and consists of two one-hour lectures and a three hour laboratory each week. Lectures cover a wide range of topics, including: concurrent engineering concepts, machining, bulk deformation, joining processes, polymer processing, and casting. The course is designed to provide engineering students with the necessary knowledge to use materials effectively, and introduce them to processes and equipment that can bring their designs to reality. The course also presents the basic processes and fundamentals of manufacturing, and intends to provide a foundation for the practice of professional engineering.

Previously, the lab portion of the course consisted of eight individual laboratories, including a safety seminar. For each of these labs, a process was demonstrated, and specimens were generated for further analysis. For example, the lab instructor would pour fluidity spirals at different levels of superheat for the casting lab. Students would then measure the length of the fluidity spirals and generate a two page report describing their findings. Laboratories that had been used in the past included:

1. Heat Treating 2. Casting Processes 3. Sheet Metal Forming - Springback

Kumar, V., & Grove, S., & Bordia, R. K., & Weller, J. E. (1998, June), The Development Of A Project Based Introduction To Manufacturing Laboratory Involving A Stirling Engine Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington.

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