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Undergraduate Design and Modification of a Tensile Testing Fixture for Biomaterials

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Active Learning and Demonstrations in Materials Education

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1385.1 - 25.1385.9



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Paper Authors


Barry Dupen Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne

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Barry Dupen is an Associate Professor of mechanical engineering technology at Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne (IPFW). He has nine years’ experience as a metallurgist, materials engineer, and materials laboratory manager in the automotive industry. His primary interests lie in materials engineering, mechanics, and engineering technology education. He is also an experienced contra dance caller.

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Undergraduate Design and Modification of a Tensile Testing Fixture for BiomaterialsIn the freshman materials class of a Mechanical Engineering Technology program, students runtensile tests on a 270 kN universal test machine using standard metal specimens having a cross-sectional area of 130 mm2. A Biology professor studying the development of crabs asked theMET program for help with measuring mechanical properties of crab shells. This material is anatural, porous composite. Very small test specimens with a cross-sectional area of 5 mm2 arecut from the crab shells because larger specimens have too much curvature. With expected loadsbelow 75 N, the 270,000 N universal testing machine was not suitable. Instead, a 250 N tabletoptensile tester was purchased. This tester pulls specimens 80 mm long, so it required modificationto test crab shell material. The MET students designed clamps to hold the crab shell securelywithout crushing it, at a predetermined gauge length. The students customized the software toproduce meaningful results. This project was good training for future engineers because it helpedstudents learn to work on an interdisciplinary problem for an external customer (the Biologyprofessor) where the inputs were not all known at the beginning.

Dupen, B. (2012, June), Undergraduate Design and Modification of a Tensile Testing Fixture for Biomaterials Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--22142

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