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The Use Of Thermo Mechanical Simulation In The Laboratory Classroom Environment

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Unique Lab Experiments

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.1197.1 - 7.1197.7



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Paper Authors

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Daniel Walsh

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David Gibbs

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Session ____

The Use of Thermo-Mechanical Simulation in the Laboratory Classroom Environment

Daniel W. Walsh, Ph. D., and David Gibbs College of Engineering, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

Abstract It can be particularly difficult to provide students with meaningful laboratory exposures to kinetic and thermodynamic phenomena in solid-state materials in the context of a single quarter or semester course. This paper describes the development and use of a thermo-mechanical simulation device, and its use in a laboratory experience to improve undergraduate students understanding of complex thermodynamic and kinetic issues in a timely fashion. Laboratory procedure for the experiment is described in detail.

The laboratory allows students to observe, directly and synchronously, changes in the structure and mechanical properties of materials as a function of temperature, load and strain rate. Students are able to observe materials in the dynamic and non-equilibrium environments encountered in actual service and processing conditions, rather than in the equilibrium or otherwise artificial contexts discussed in the classroom or specially created in the laboratory. The paper discusses the exceptionally positive impact that this immediacy has an on student learning.

The laboratory discussed presents theory and application in a linked fashion. They are presented at a crucial stage in student development, kindling latent interest in some students and fanning smoldering interest in others. The course underpins deeper student exploration and provides an excellent segue to a number of other courses.

I. Introduction Laboratories are a particularly expensive form of education; they are also a particularly potent vehicle for student learning. As professors, we must continually strive to insure that the return students receive from these potent vehicles warrants their expense, and we must be able to demonstrate this benefit to any who question it. Applied researchers go to the laboratory to wrestle answers from an impassive world, their intent is to detect, to appraise, and, eventually, to improve. We should send our students to the instructional laboratory to accomplish these same things. These goals must be established in the learning objectives for the laboratory. Instructional laboratories are our opportunity to pander to many different learning styles. They are our opportunity to emphasize the “learn by doing” credo, opening another venue to the intellect. Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright Ó 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Walsh, D., & Gibbs, D. (2002, June), The Use Of Thermo Mechanical Simulation In The Laboratory Classroom Environment Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10511

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