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Using Everyday Materials To Examine The Characteristic Mechanical Properties Of Metals, Polymers, And Ceramics

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Lab Experiments in Materials Science

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.1372.1 - 9.1372.8



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Paper Authors

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Amy Hsiao

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

Session 3264

Using Everyday Materials to Examine Characteristic Mechanical Properties of Metals, Polymers, and Ceramics

Amy C. Hsiao

Union College


This paper will describe an active laboratory exercise designed to introduce key mechanical properties of metals, polymers, and ceramics. The materials investigated are common and everyday in the sense that they can be found in the desk, classroom, or refrigerator of a student, i.e., in his or her life. The exercise is presented as a “real-world” project, in which the students are newly hired employees, asked to review their knowledge of mechanical properties in materials and report their recommendations in a memorandum to their project manager. This active laboratory exercise is part of a sophomore-level materials science course that is designed into the mechanical engineering curriculum at Union College. The course also partially fulfills a writing requirement that all Union students must fulfill before graduation. The emphasis on mechanical properties makes relevant the understanding of materials science to the processing and design issues in mechanical engineering.


The materials science course at Union College is taken by all mechanical engineering majors during their sophomore year. A chemistry prerequisite is required before taking this course. The course meets every week for three one-hour lectures and one two-hour laboratory session with the lecturing professor. The objectives of the course, as listed in the course syllabus, are outlined as being:

To provide a comprehensive introduction to materials science – the interrelation of structure, properties, processing, and performance of modern, engineering materials. To present the principles formulated in the science of materials that allow mechanical engineers to understand the nature and behavior of a wide variety of materials that we use everyday. To describe the information engineers need to anticipate the properties of materials not yet studied or developed. To give students gain hands-on experience and knowledge of several methods of materials characterization and processing through laboratory assignments, and build an intuitive appreciation for the phenomenon being discussed in lecture.

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Hsiao, A. (2004, June), Using Everyday Materials To Examine The Characteristic Mechanical Properties Of Metals, Polymers, And Ceramics Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13968

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