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Using Matlab To Solve Engineering Problems For Undergraduates

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Innovations in Mechanical Engineering Education

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.1396.1 - 11.1396.10



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Paper Authors


Qingli Dai Michigan Technological University

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Qingli Dai received her PhD degree from mechanical engineering and applied mechanics of university of Rhode Island in 2004. She worked as a visiting assistant professor in Mechanical engineering of Texas A& M University-Kingsville in 2005. Recently, she moved to Michigan Technological University and work as a research assistant professor in mechanical engineering and applied mechanics. Dr. Qingli Dai is a member of American Association of Mechanical Engineering.

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Zhanping You Michigan Technological University

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

Using MATLAB to Solve Engineering Problems for Undergraduates


The purpose of this paper is to present the experience to teach sophomore and senior students on the application of MATLAB in numerical analysis of engineering problems. MATLAB is a professional engineering and scientific software package developed and marketed by MathWorks, Inc. Many engineering schools now require and /or use MATLAB as one of their primary computing tools. The author taught MATLAB in course MEEN 1320 (Computer Based Graphics/Design II) in Texas A&M University –Kingsville in Fall 2005. The main objective of the course MEEN 1320 is to help sophomore students to solve basic engineering numerical problems and generate charts and graphs using MATLAB. This course is designed to give students opportunities for hands-on practice through the lab work and project studies. The author also instructed senior students to use MATLAB for experimental data analysis in course MEEN 4131 (Mechanical Engineering Laboratory). In this paper, these successful teaching experiences are summarized and some additional suggestion is also addressed.


MATLAB has been largely used in many engineering schools, because it provides a friendly interactive system that incorporates numeric computation, symbolic computation, and scientific visualization [1-2, 4-10]. Authors taught a sophomore course to help the students apply the MALAB tool for engineering problem solving in mechanical design and analysis [3]. Also in a senior course: mechanical engineering laboratory, the students employed this software for experimental data analysis. First, this paper organizes the useful teaching experience, and shows how the classes are designed to improve the student problem-solving ability by using MATLAB. Several student’s semester projects and analysis results are presented in the second part. For a senior course, the students applied MATLAB tool for experiment data analysis. The examples and benefits by using MATLAB for data analysis are concluded in the third part. Finally, the summaries of teaching experience and suggestions are also given in the conclusions.


1. MATLAB tool for an undergraduate course to solve engineering problem

MATLAB is a very powerful tool for engineering problem solving. It has interactive computation and visualization interface. Therefore it is comparatively easy for undergraduates to study. MATLAB is introduced in a sophomore course: Computer-aided design and analysis in department of mechanical and industrial engineering at Texas A&M University-Kingsville (TAMUK) in fall 2005. The purpose of this course to help student know computation and visualization capabilities of MATLAB, understand numerical methodology for popular engineering problem solving, and learn the problem-solving process through the example studies, practical lab work, and semester projects. After finishing this course, students should be able to independently use MATLAB to solve engineering problems encountered in their future study and work.

Dai, Q., & You, Z. (2006, June), Using Matlab To Solve Engineering Problems For Undergraduates Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--973

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