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Training to Understand, Diagnose, Adapt, and Repair Electromechanical Systems

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Military and Veterans Constituent Committee Division Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

Military and Veterans

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Paper Authors


Srujal Patel Georgia Institute of Technology

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Mr. Srujal Patel serves as the research faculty at Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering (AE) at Georgia Institute of Technology. Mr. Patel earned his dual M.S. degrees in Aerospace Engineering and Applied Mathematics at Georgia Tech with specialization in Applied Numerical Analysis and Computational Fluid Dynamics/Aerodynamics. After joining as the research faculty, Mr. Patel worked as project manager for the Manufacturing Experimentation and Outreach (MENTOR) program - an initiative aimed at introducing new design tools and collaborative practices of making to high school students across the United States - sponsored by Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Mr. Patel has also served as Project Manager for DARPA's MENTOR2 program which involved developing project kits and curricula to train the U.S. armed forces to understand, troubleshoot, repair and adapt electromechanical systems. Mr. Patel also teaches courses in Systems Engineering, Aerodynamics and Digital Design & Manufacturing at School of AE at Georgia Tech. Currently, Mr. Patel is working as the Project Manager for Innovative Mars Exploration Education and Technology (IMEET) program - funded under NASA's CP4SMPVC+ grant – in which Georgia Tech is developing curriculum and project kits that will be used during the summer camps to be run at partnering Informal Education Institutes.

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Maria-Isabel Carnasciali University of New Haven Orcid 16x16

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Maria-Isabel Carnasciali is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the Tagliatela College of Engineering, University of New Haven, CT. She obtained her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Tech in 2008. She received her Bachelors of Engineering from MIT in 2000. Her research focuses on the nontraditional engineering student – understanding their motivations, identity development, and impact of prior engineering-related experiences. Her work dwells into learning in informal settings such as summer camps, military experiences, and extra-curricular activities. Other research interests involve validation of CFD models for aerospace applications as well as optimizing efficiency of thermal-fluid systems.

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All electromechanical systems have a limited scope and a fixed lifespan. It is inevitable that at some stage the operators will be required to either adapt a system to satisfy its new requirements or diagnose, troubleshoot and repair in case of faults/failures. Such tasks require that operators and technicians are, not only prepared to know how to successfully identify the requirements of a broad range of systems on hand, but also to have the ability to provide innovative solutions using limited replacements and/or fabrication resources available in low-technology austere environments; for example, for Army or Navy on-field missions, the long logistical supply chains challenge the ability to obtain spare parts in a timely manner and technicians are required to maintain and adapt systems in short time-frame, especially if the systems are mission critical.

In this paper, we will show how one can utilize a hands-on pedagogical approach to teach universal principles on which all moderate to highly complex electromechanical systems work. The curriculum, developed using exemplary project kits, provided students basic foundation and then introduced them to a systematic and all-encompassing process to diagnose, troubleshoot and adapt a broad range of electromechanical systems. A quadcopter was chosen as the exemplary project kit to teach the concepts. A non-linear learning platform was developed to enable students with various technical backgrounds to learn the information in as efficient manner as possible. After students were familiar with the system, a variety of failures were introduced in the system and students were required to diagnose and repair the quadcopter using a systematic process which enabled them to acquire the skills to utilize a broad set of tools and technologies, a subset of which could be available in real-life situations. The curriculum also enabled students to adapt such systems using pre-existing components of other systems, through manufacture of as-designed components or through the design and manufacture of new components using additive manufacturing technologies.

The paper includes an overview of the pedagogy used, curriculum developed, and implementation. The data presented are based on three workshops taught to military personnel. These workshops served as a case-study and provided valuable feedback on the pedagogical approach, the learning platform, and curriculum modules. The paper concludes with suggestions for modifications and future applications.

Patel, S., & Carnasciali, M. (2017, June), Training to Understand, Diagnose, Adapt, and Repair Electromechanical Systems Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--29039

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