Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
The number of advanced engineering electives at smaller programs is often limited. When a group of [school name] mechanical engineering juniors took our curriculum-standard Materials Science course in 2016, there was sufficient interest among several students to consider offering an advanced topics course. Rather than create an advanced course for limited enrollment, faculty and students developed an independent study focused on designing/building fabrication equipment and testing the material properties of specimens produced by these machines. Four students designed and built a 3D printer and a thermoforming machine. These machines were used to create tensile test specimens to analyze (1) material degradation due to aqueous environment exposure, (2) effect of raster and print orientation, (3) strengthening by epoxy impregnation, and (4) strength as a function of orientation in thermoformed materials. The independent study spanned two semesters for six total credits. The first semester focused on designing and building the machines, and the second semester was dedicated to fabricating and testing material specimens. Experimental results reveal several interesting conclusions among the four focus areas. The overall experience of pursuing the independent study over developing an advanced course was quite positive. It was important to have interested and dedicated students on this project, which was ultimately fairly time-consuming. It was also essential to extend the work across two semesters to successfully complete all phases of the project: design, build, create specimens, test, and analyze data.
Ericson, T. M., & Kuchnicki, S. N. (2018, June), Undergraduate Research in a Materials Independent Study at a Small College: From Building Modern Fabrication Equipment to Experimental Testing Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--31168
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