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Combined Mechanical Engineering Materials Lecture and Mechanics of Materials Laboratory: Cross-Disciplinary Teaching

[+] Author Affiliations
Michael D. Nowak

University of Hartford

Paper No. IMECE2005-82008, pp. 137-142; 6 pages
  • ASME 2005 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Innovations in Engineering Education: Mechanical Engineering Education, Mechanical Engineering/Mechanical Engineering Technology Department Heads
  • Orlando, Florida, USA, November 5 – 11, 2005
  • Conference Sponsors: Mechanical Engineering Education
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4232-0 | eISBN: 0-7918-3769-6
  • Copyright © 2005 by ASME


We have developed a course combining a Mechanical Engineering Materials Laboratory with a Materials Science lecture for a small combined population of undergraduate Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering students. By judicious selection of topic order, we have been able to utilize one lecture and one laboratory for both Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering students (with limited splitting of groups). The primary reasons for combining the Mechanical and Biomedical students are to reduce faculty load and required resources in a small university. For schools with medium or small Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering programs, class sizes could be improved if they could include other populations. The heterogeneous populations also aid in teaching students that the same engineering techniques are useful in more than a single engineering realm. The laboratory sections begin with the issues common to designing and evaluating mechanical testing, followed by tensile, shear, and torsion evaluation of metals. To introduce composite materials, wood and cement are evaluated. While the Mechanical Engineering students are evaluating impact and strain gauges, the Biomedical Engineering students are performing tensile studies of soft tissues, and compression of long bones. The basic materials lectures (beginning at the atomic level) are in common with both Mechanical and Biomedical student populations, until specific topics such as human body materials are discussed. Three quarters of the term is thus taught on a joint basis, and three or four lectures are split. Basic metal, plastic and wood behavior is common to both groups.

Copyright © 2005 by ASME



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