June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
24.1371.1 - 24.1371.16
What’s Next After Mechanics of Materials?In most engineering programs, students complete a common core of mechanics courses – statics,dynamics, fluid mechanics, and mechanics of materials. The content of mechanics of materialscourses is relatively consistent, including the study of stresses, strains, and deflections ofcomponents subjected to axial and shear forces and torsion and bending moments, combinedstresses, and failure criteria. Mechanical engineering students will have additional courses inkinematics and machine component design, and may have courses in the theory of elasticity,plates and shells, fatigue theory, structural vibrations, finite element analysis, and/or stability ofstructures. Some of these advanced courses are taught at the undergraduate level, and others atthe graduate level. Some programs have a course with a title such as “Intermediate Mechanics ofMaterials” or “Advanced Mechanics of Materials,” which include a variety of topics that expandon the concepts learned in the first mechanics of materials course. This is the course of interestfor this paper. At _____ University, a mechanical engineering concentration is offered as anoption on a general (BS Engineering) program. A course titled “Solid Mechanics” follows themechanics of materials course, and is intended to cover topics that are important to engineersworking in mechanical design, but cannot be adequately covered in either the first mechanics ofmaterials course or in the machine design course.Several texts exist with the title “Advanced Mechanics of Materials” or “Advanced Strength ofMaterials,” including J. P. Den Hartog’s classic 1952 work. In the introduction to that text, theauthor explains his goal to bridge the gap between elementary mechanics of materials texts andthe advanced works of Stephen Timoshenko. The table of contents for Den Hartog’s bookinclude chapters on torsion, beams on elastic foundations, buckling, energy methods, membranestresses in shells, bending stresses in plates, and 2-D elasticity. The treatment of these topics isrigorous; the text was intended for two semesters of class work, one at the undergraduate leveland one at the graduate level.Of course, in 1952 students did not have access to the power of personal computers and finiteelement analysis (FEA) software. A question that has been discussed continuously since theintroduction of these tools is: how much of the rigorous theory is required for a practicingengineer, now that the calculations can be done by software? As we refine our solid mechanicscourse at ____ University, we are attempting to balance an appropriate amount of theory whilecovering topics that we believe are important to a working mechanical engineer, includingfatigue, plates and shells, vibrations, FEA theory, and non-linear analysis. Where appropriate,we are integrating the use of FEA and programming (MATLAB) into the solution of problems,with comparisons to solutions from handbooks such as Roark and Young’s Formulas for Stressand Strain.In the paper, we will present a study of a sample existing Mechanical Engineering programs,exploring what topics are covered in specialized courses or as part of an advanced mechanics ofmaterials class. We will discuss the content that we have placed in our solid mechanics course,and revisions planned based on the study of other programs. Although assessment data of thecourse itself is limited to student surveys, we will show how assignments have been used toassess program outcomes.
Howard, W. E., & Griffin, O. H., & Ragai, I. (2014, June), What’s Next After Mechanics of Materials? Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. https://peer.asee.org/23304
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