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Theoretical And Experimental Aspects In Engineering Design Experience

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.661.1 - 5.661.8



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Ashraf M. Ghaly

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

Session 2793

Theoretical and Experimental Aspects in Engineering Design Experience

Ashraf M. Ghaly Union College, Schenectady, New York


Engineering design is a required component in many engineering courses. The design experience gained in such courses can be significantly enhanced through the use of student projects. Several projects have been introduced in some of the civil engineering courses offered at Union College. The competition-like format used in these projects resulted in a healthy strive on the part of the students to achieve the best possible results. The way the projects were structured required complete command of the theoretical principles before a design could be made. The implementation of the design required comprehensive research into various types of construction materials. In each of the assigned projects, students were given a handout detailing the goal of the project, methodology, procedure, and grading criteria. Students were given complete freedom to use the theoretical approach which they believed would yield the desired results. They were also allowed to experiment with different materials and different construction techniques. Students who wished to perform some testing on preliminary designs before finalizing their projects were encouraged to do so. This approach made it possible for students to refine and improve their initial designs and gave them appreciation of the effect of individual design parameters on the final product. They also enjoyed the experimental aspect of material testing and project construction and "destruction" when loaded to failure. The projects were very well received as indicated by student comments in course evaluation. The feedback commended the practical aspect of the projects, their relevance to real-world problems, the opportunity to make links between theory and practice, and the contribution the projects made in enhancing engineering judgment and appreciation. The projects are continuously reviewed to incorporate new advances in design procedures.

I. Introduction

ABET Criteria 2000, Criterion 3 (Program Outcomes and Assessment) outlines the desired attributes for graduating students of engineering programs. It states that engineering programs must demonstrate that their graduates have certain attributes. These specific attributes are numbered "a" through "k" and they cover many facets in engineering education. Attributes a, b, c, and e which are shown below place special emphasis on engineering design and the ability to formulate a solution to an engineering problem.

a) An ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering b) An ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data c) An ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs

Ghaly, A. M. (2000, June), Theoretical And Experimental Aspects In Engineering Design Experience Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8770

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