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Extracting Engineering Principles From a Hovercraft Design Project for Engineering Sophomores

[+] Author Affiliations
Cameron W. Coates

Armstrong Atlantic State University

Paper No. IMECE2005-82052, pp. 381-386; 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


The design of a hovercraft involves complex principles derived from fluid mechanics, mechanics of materials, thermodynamics and mechanical design. This work seeks to extract the fundamental principles from these subjects and implement them in the design and construction of a hovercraft. The challenge is to maintain a level-appropriate engineering standard while enabling sophomores from different engineering majors understand and effectively apply these standards. In order to do this, we have to decide what parameters to ignore and what engineering approximations should be made. By examination of the underlying engineering assumptions, it is shown that this aspect engages the engineering students interest as they find opportunities to implement what they are currently learning or have recently learnt. Actual construction of the hovercraft allows the basic theories to be tested and improves understanding of their effectiveness by quantifying underlying engineering assumptions. Assessment methods indicate that this project provides excellent preparation for future design innovation.

Copyright © 2005 by ASME
Topics: Design



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