June 14, 2014
June 14, 2014
June 14, 2014
Curriculum and Lab Development
20.39.1 - 20.39.9
Use of a Virtual Multifunctional X-Ray Diffractometer for Teaching Science and Engineering CoursesContemporary research equipment is not only extremely complex and very expensive, it istypically fully computerized. Most procedures such as calibration, data collection, data handlingand interpretation are performed automatically. While this provides enormous benefits forresearchers, it also creates a number of substantial educational drawbacks and limitations. Thestudent laboratory task is often reduced to installing a sample and pushing the Start button. Allsteps between this and getting the final results on the computer are executed without studentparticipation.Virtual equipment is capable of overcoming these problems and providing the student with anopportunity to practice concepts, tasks, and equipment operations in a manner that can’t beachieved on actual equipment. Simulation-based virtual equipment does not utilize expansivecapital equipment during the learning process, it does not require providing and observingrigorous safety precautions, and it does not cost anything to maintenance and repair.The paper will present examples and discuss the use of the virtual X-Ray diffractometer (v-Diffractometer) for teaching several different courses at five universities including the Universityof Maryland, University of South Florida, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Yaroslavl StateUniversity (Russia), and Moscow State Technical University of Radio-Engineering, Electronics,and Automation (Russia).The v-Diffractometer does not reproduce any vendor specific instruments, but it realisticallyimitates all major parts and devices of a fully functional XRD powder diffractometer. This virtual equipment has been used to help undergraduate students enrolled in physics,chemistry, materials science and pharmacy classes learn fundamental principles underlying theanalytical x-ray diffraction methods and become familiar with the design and operation of the X-ray equipment in visual and interactive ways. An interactive online lesson, as well as prerecordedvideo lectures, animations, quizzes and other learning resources, can be called up within virtualexperiments to provide “just-in-time” learning opportunities that address the educational needs ofthe student. Students employed the v-Diffractometer to perform such online assignments asIndexing Diffraction Data, Crystal Lattice Type and Size Determination, and some others.The virtual diffractometer has also been used for preparing undergraduate and graduate studentsto perform the research studies. In this context, the paper will illustrate the application of thevirtual diffractometer by such examples as: X-Ray diffraction study of phase transitions inferroelectric ceramics and nanoscale thin films, qualitative phase analysis of two-phase and three-phase compounds and nanostructured materials, study of phase composition of human kidneystones using powder diffraction data standards.
Cherner, Y. E., & Kukla, M. M., & Hobbs, L. W., & Vasilev, S. V., & Fedorov, I., & Sigov, A. S. (2014, June), Use of a Virtual Multifunctional X-Ray Diffractometer for Teaching Science and Engineering Courses Paper presented at 2014 ASEE International Forum, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--17202
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