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Undergraduate Laboratory Experience For Ceramics

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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

5.678.1 - 5.678.8



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Paper Authors

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William G. Fahrenholtz

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Mohamed N Rahaman

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

Session 3464

Undergraduate Laboratory Experience for Ceramics Mohamed N. Rahaman, William G. Fahrenholtz Department of Ceramic Engineering University of Missouri-Rolla


An appreciation for experimental work and the development of laboratory skills are essential parts of undergraduate materials education. To develop effective laboratory courses in materials, the unique characteristics and properties of ceramics must be considered. Normally, ceramics cannot be produced by the methods commonly used for metals and polymers because ceramics are more refractory and brittle than other materials. Ceramics are commonly fabricated by compacting and sintering particulate starting materials. At the University of Missouri-Rolla (UMR), ceramics education is concentrated in the Department of Ceramic Engineering. UMR has an integrated, four-semester laboratory sequence at the sophomore and junior levels designed to provide the specialized training needed for the production of ceramics. The laboratory exercises emphasize a hands-on approach for the students and topics include the use of equipment, selection of raw materials, choice of processing and characterization methods, and statistical design of experiments. The coordination of experiments with topics in other lecture courses is an important part of the undergraduate program. The sophomore and junior classes also provide the necessary foundation for the senior level laboratory courses, a two-semester capstone Senior Design course and a property measurement laboratory.

I. Introduction

Over the last twenty years, Ceramic Engineering education has been transformed by the emergence of multi-disciplinary materials departments. At several universities, this has resulted in the merging of previously separate departments specializing in metals or ceramics into a single unit that often includes programs in polymers and electronic materials. The new department may be known as Materials Science and Engineering, Materials Engineering, or simply Materials. Examples of merging large, well-established departments include the Ohio State University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. More recently, Ceramic Engineering departments at Rutgers University, Alfred University and Clemson University have incorporated a materials component into their ceramics programs. Currently, UMR is the only university where ceramics education and research are housed in a specialized Department of Ceramic Engineering. The predominant situation is, therefore, for ceramics to be taught as part of an undergraduate materials curriculum.

Because the application of engineering principles to problems in materials involves a significant amount of experimental work, it is important that undergraduate students develop an appreciation for laboratory practice. Furthermore, it is important that students learn and refine

Fahrenholtz, W. G., & Rahaman, M. N. (2000, June), Undergraduate Laboratory Experience For Ceramics Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8788

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