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The Use Of Computer Software To Enhance The Analysis Within A Mechanisms Course In Mechanical Engineering Technology

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Mechanical ET Curriculum

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.1334.1 - 11.1334.7



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Paper Authors

author page

Ronald Earley Miami University

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

The Use of Computer Software to Enhance the Analyses within a Mechanisms Course in Mechanical Engineering Technology


A primary objective of a mechanisms course within any mechanical engineering technology curriculum is to be practical and applied and less theoretical. Examples are presented that suggest how various computer programs may be integrated into the syllabus of a mechanisms course to facilitate the successful accomplishment of this objective. These examples illustrate how several readily available computer programs along with traditional hand computational methods may be used to enhance and enliven the subject of mechanisms analysis.

Traditional computational methods augmented with computer programs familiar to all engineering technology students, are used to compute kinematics and kinetics quantities. Strong emphasis is placed on the verification and accuracy checking potential of this computer integrated approach.


A typical course in mechanisms analysis frequently requires the use of traditional computational procedures that may place unnecessary limits on assigned projects. This paper suggests one possible alternative to the “snap-shot” approach to the analyses of mechanism configurations. Typically, students are more energized and motivated to learn and retain concepts when courses contain computer laboratory experiences. A new course in mechanisms analysis was designed by the author and included within the curriculum of a newly created baccalaureate program in mechanical engineering technology at Miami University. The program was officially approved in the spring of 2003 and course offerings were begun in the fall of the same year. Hence the data confirming and/or refuting the above premise is limited.

While many mechanisms courses currently being taught within the curriculums of mechanical engineering technology programs make use of computer enhanced project assignments, the author believes that this paper presents a more formalized outline to accomplish the objective of a more interesting and practical course. The course content was purposely designed to strongly emphasize the integration of several readily available computer programs with traditional hand computational methods. The course syllabus requires students, working in teams of two, to complete a course portfolio consisting of assigned mechanisms analysis projects that must clearly illustrate the use of traditional algebraic and trigonometric as well as computer based computational methods.

Pedagogical Structure

Mechanisms for Machine Design, ENT 314, is a three credit hour, required course, within the curriculum of the Mechanical Engineering Technology program at Miami University. The course is divided into the two traditional major topics, kinematics and kinetics. Time distribution for the two topics is approximately 70% kinematics and 30% kinetics with the kinetics portion

Earley, R. (2006, June), The Use Of Computer Software To Enhance The Analysis Within A Mechanisms Course In Mechanical Engineering Technology Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--176

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