New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
The obtaining of an undergraduate degree concludes a successful student university career. For many pursuing an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering, the process can be tedious and difficult. Much like an engineering design, an engineering education requires specific tools to see the problem from design to production. For many, the desired solution to producing the degree is supplemented only by an introductory design class, a few hands on laboratories that provide an introduction to a few key basic concepts, and a capstone course that requires the implementation of the acquired knowledge in a final design project intending to mimic the design process that would be expected in industry. However, undergraduate research can go beyond complimenting the university education. Participating in undergraduate research can supplement an engineering education to provide the tools necessary to be successful as an engineer in industry or lead into a fruitful graduate education.
Specifically, undergraduate research in fluid dynamics can allow for the engineering process to be viewed, performed and reevaluated on a continuing basis as the increasing level of course work allows for a greater amount of knowledge from which to innovate. An ideal case for engineering education to benefit from fluid dynamics research would begin with the participation in a “bridge” program that allows for incoming students to experience the research and design process behind current fluid dynamics problems that can be developed upon throughout an educational career. The “bridge” program would lead into continuing academic research and experimentation in a fluid dynamics area of interest. As the student’s knowledge base expands, the overall engineering process becomes well rounded and refined through practical experience in furthered engineering research. The techniques and ideas that develop through research can be employed in educational coursework within or outside the field of fluid dynamics.
To evaluate the benefits of research on an undergraduate education in mechanical engineering, the implementation of fluid dynamics research is explored for the case of a student who is involved in academic research from the beginning of the university career through the completion of a master’s thesis in an accelerated bachelor’s, master’s program. Specifically, the use of engineering software for design and simulations and the technical skills for fabrication and experimentation, and the practical benefits these have on education when hands on approaches are taken in the classroom will be explored. The educational aspects of fluids dynamics research can go beyond exploring minimally studied subject areas. The specific skills and techniques required to solve engineering problems that are being learned will consistently provide an educational edge in the classroom where innovative solutions to problems are expected.
Ultimately, the research and educational experiences can come together in producing an innovative and industry level capstone design project that could lay the foundation for a successful graduate thesis or dissertation if desired. Undergraduate research throughout an engineering education can provide a fuller look at engineering technologies that allows for innovation and well-rounded thinking that can produce the solutions to academic, scientific, and practical problems alike.
Gillispie, A. M., & Dorety, A., & Meier, A., & Armstrong, G. M., & Lemley, E. C. (2016, June), The Impact of Fluid Dynamics Research on Undergraduate Education Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26172
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