ASME Conference Presenter Attendance Policy and Archival Proceedings

2015;():V005T00A001. doi:10.1115/IMECE2015-NS5.

This online compilation of papers from the ASME 2015 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition (IMECE2015) represents the archival version of the Conference Proceedings. According to ASME’s conference presenter attendance policy, if a paper is not presented at the Conference, the paper will not be published in the official archival Proceedings, which are registered with the Library of Congress and are submitted for abstracting and indexing. The paper also will not be published in The ASME Digital Collection and may not be cited as a published paper.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Education and Globalization: Applied Mechanics, Dynamic Systems and Control Engineering

2015;():V005T05A001. doi:10.1115/IMECE2015-50091.

In our institution, we offer a one-quarter long finite element analysis (FEA) class for Mechanical Engineering curriculum. This course teaches computational methods to solve engineering problems using the state of art FEA software ANSYS. The coursework involves teaching fundamental mathematical theories to build the concept, analyzing simple structural problems using matrix algebra, and then solving a wide variety of engineering problems dealing with statics, dynamics, heat transfer and others. Students enrolled in this class solve varieties of problem by analytical approach, finite element approach using matrix algebra, using APDL (ANSYS Parametric Design Language) and ANSYS Workbench. As we are in quarter system, it is challenging to solve additional multidisciplinary complex engineering problems in regular class lectures. Therefore, students enrolled in this class are required to conduct a project solvable by student version of ANSYS within very short time. The project must have adequate engineering complexity conveying interesting knowledge or technical concepts to the entire class. Students have to prepare a brief written report, and share what they have learned with the entire class giving an oral presentation. While a course in FEA could be a common offering in many universities, the author of this paper presents the pedagogical approaches undertaken to successfully implement the course objectives to the undergraduate engineering students. The topics and techniques applied to teach different concepts of FEA to enhance students learning outcomes are addressed in this paper.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2015;():V005T05A002. doi:10.1115/IMECE2015-50377.

Studying engineering mechanics is mandatory for every engineering student at Leibniz Universität Hannover (LUH). The course is divided into four parts (statics, elastostatics, kinetics and kinematics, dynamics) and is taught over a period of two years at the very beginning of each study program. While students’ evaluations of our courses are good in general, we face a high failure rate in the exams, which are written once at the end of each course. In later stages of the engineering study programs, it seems hard to for us enthusing students for our research topics. Thus, finding M.Sc. or PhD students is more difficult for us than it should be. In a university funded, internal 12-month project we aim to optimize our Engineering Mechanics Tutorials, which provide a specific, relatively interactive form of teaching to the students. With internal and external consultancy by professional lecturers and didactics trainers, our project team has developed a course of actions and measures to raise the academic success of our students. In this publication we will discuss these actions as well as ways to measure and verify their success.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2015;():V005T05A003. doi:10.1115/IMECE2015-51141.

The Design, Build, Go Hub (DBG) is a universal power hub that not only encapsulates the various branches of robotic engineering, but also transforms a student’s creativity into a physical product. The hub serves as both control mechanism and the power delivery system for student designs. The universal design is easily implemented to provide automation to designs including quadcopters, wheeled platforms, and mechanized robotics. This hub gives students the opportunity to gain exposure to electrical, mechanical and systems engineering, as well as how the various disciplines can be integrated into a cohesive design. Powered by a Raspberry Pi 2 microcontroller with a motor controller interface, the DBG Hub can interface with a variety of sensors, motors, servos, cameras and various other electrical components.

The mechanical system also has a vast number of possibilities by utilizing rapid prototyping such as 3D printing, vacuum forming, and machining. The DBG Hub was designed to be capable of receiving a vast amount of rapid prototyped parts for nearly any type of mechanical function. The housing, which holds the electrical system, is also a product of rapid prototyping technology. The 3D printed design allows users to create attachments with corresponding electrical components that plug into the housing for a variety of projects. The combination of rapid prototyping with the microcontroller allows the hub to take full advantage of combining the mechanical design with the electrical components. This combination is used to create systems that can sense, think and react.

Sample projects created utilizing the DBG hub as the central control unit, such as the DBG quad-copter, or the DBG land vehicle, perfectly showcase these attributes in an introductory manner. These sample projects have been designed and software created as introductory tools for students interested in engineering. The effectiveness of the hub being able to interest students in engineering will be the subject of a future study. This study will show how simplifying the incorporation of multiple engineering disciplines into one easy to use tool is the simplest and most efficient way to become more knowledgeable of the engineering field. While this study has not yet been conducted, it can still be stated that the DBG Hub is an original and groundbreaking design that will excite, promote, and, most importantly, educate students in the field of engineering.

Topics: Design
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2015;():V005T05A004. doi:10.1115/IMECE2015-52499.

The University of Connecticut Department of Mechanical Engineering has developed an industry recognized Senior Design Capstone course. The course provides fourth-year students the opportunity for a “major design experience in which they apply the principles of engineering, basic sciences, and mathematics to model, analyze, design, and realize physical systems, components or processes, and it prepares students to work professionally” [1]. The course is taught by a class instructor and is supported by the faculty of the Mechanical Engineering department at UConn. In the 2013–2014 academic year there were over 40 projects in the course. This paper presents the issues and challenges that students faced when working on a project for Koffee Karousel’s coin-operated K-Cup vending machine. Work on the project began with the problem statement, and was followed by the generation of possible solutions (accepting the most promising ones) and finally, choosing the ideal solution. The subsequent steps involved preliminary and detailed design, structural analysis, creating a 3D CAD representation, generating drawings, and producing a prototype. The prototype was then tested to verify its capabilities. The example of switching from a coin-operated design, with its limited potential use, to an electronically operated solution is described in this paper. The objective of this senior design project was to implement a credit card reader onto the original Koffee Karousel design. To accomplish this goal, a redesign of the Koffee-Karousel’s coin mechanism was required. An electrical engineering team of four students worked independently on the credit card and display setup, while a mechanical team worked on a lever mechanism and gears activated by the validation of a credit card. The implementation of this new mechanism included designing a replacement face, a couple of brackets for electrical hardware, and several new parts, including an actuator and a mini-stepper motor. In addition, students designed the new cam that would interface with stepper motor. Some parts were accepted from the current design of the lever and ejector. The new design still allows the customer to choose which K-Cup flavor they want by hand by operating a rotating knob at the top of the carousel, but no longer requires the user to trigger the ejector mechanism manually. Students tested the new mechanism to ensure it was not only efficient, but also worked properly. The stresses on each individual part were calculated for the first design iteration to ensure the new design would not yield or fail over time due to fatigue.

The project and its challenges are described in this paper, as well as the students’ contributions to the design of the Karousel mechanisms, switching it from a purely mechanical to a mechatronik solution.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Education and Globalization: Curriculum Innovations, Pedagogy and Learning Methodologies

2015;():V005T05A005. doi:10.1115/IMECE2015-50031.

Engineering Education has always been focusing on the development of technical skills since decades. Technological advancement and digitalization have enabled the educators to implement various teaching pedagogies for the Digital Natives [1]. According to the World Bank report on the employability and skill set of newly graduated engineers in India, the core employability skills like self-discipline, reliability, self-motivation, team work, willingness to learn, flexibility, empathy, understanding and taking instructions for assignments with the weightage of 4.27 and communication skills with the weightage of 4.01 are prioritized much more than the professional skills with the average of 3.91 [2].

The three skills groups identified by The World Bank, partly underpinned by the tripartite conceptualization of learning as cognitive, psychomotor and affective domain of Bloom’s taxonomy are an important source of investigation for teaching learning pedagogy [3].

The engineers always play a critical role in the development of the society which demands from them critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration skills, decision making, communication skills, integrity, realizing human values, being compassionate and accountable etc. These skills enable them to work for the welfare of mankind. Much of the research has emphasized to have such types of skills among the engineers but increased demand and increased number of qualifying engineering graduates have led to poor quality of education and consequently skill shortage.

This paper presents a unique pedagogical framework focusing on the development of affective domain among the first year engineering students. The authors ascertain that the cognitive domain has been always emphasized in engineering education, more than the affective domain, albeit affective domain is substantial for engineers. The affective domain, arguably the most complex, [4] is about students’ values, attitude, emotions, appreciation etc. The authors have adopted a new hybrid learning concept offering a conducive, student-centered learning environment that motivates and enhances students’ engagement with their peers, friends, teachers and the institute. This paper discusses a new learning concept, specific to engineering education for the smooth transition of the students to real contributors and life-long learners by acquiring some indispensable 21st century skills.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2015;():V005T05A006. doi:10.1115/IMECE2015-50210.

National Board of Accreditation, India has become the signatories of the Washington Accord adopting outcome based education guidelines in order to impart the quality education in engineering institutes [14]. Outcome Based education (OBE) requires thorough assessment and evaluation of the students individually, with special focus on the overall development of the students. OBE is based more on student centric learning and less on the role of a faculty or the content part (taught) which requires modifications at grass root level in the University teaching learning scheme. It demands a transition of a lecturer into a facilitator. It also requires a paradigm shift in teaching learning process in engineering education (EE) system as OBE focuses more on development of all the three learning domains, contradictory to the traditional teaching learning process which focuses more on development of the cognitive domain and psychomotor domain only.

According to the World Bank Report, the modern volatile and complex world demands from the engineers the core employability skills like critical thinking, problem solving, creativity and innovation, collaboration skill, communication skill which must be developed and honed during the course tenure so that they could become competent global engineers [2] [3].

This paper brings forth the out of box thinking and implementation concept of the OBE for UG program, through activity based students’ engagement, specially designed activity to achieve Programme Educational Outcomes (PEOs), Programme Outcomes (POs) and Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs). It intends to solve the problem of large classes through the implementation of the FLIP classroom model. A six month activity based teaching learning model had been adopted for different streams, involving more than 1500 engineering students. The outcome/s achieved by each activity had been termed as Activity Outcomes (AOs). This paper discusses the problems encountered during the implementation of OBE frame work for large class [4] in context with Indian environment and also strives to provide some methods to implement activity based learning to achieve desirable outcomes.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2015;():V005T05A007. doi:10.1115/IMECE2015-50296.

Computer-aided design (CAD) tools are critical in the current fast-paced digital product commercialization environment. As firms move towards a model based enterprise, it becomes more important for engineers to develop the skills necessary to efficiently and effectively model components in CAD. The status of CAD education and training has often been decried as focusing too much on declarative knowledge, namely how to do specific procedures in a specific software program. This is opposed to the strategic knowledge or expertise that is adaptable to other CAD programs. To better inform CAD education and modeling procedures, an understanding of how experts model and model in novel situations is presented. Specifically, and novel to this work, the adaptive nature of these practicing professional’s CAD expertise is examined and compared to that of relatively novice students. The methods comprise a combination of screen capture data, model attributes, and the results of interviews to assess adaptive expertise.

Practicing engineers are found to spend a smaller percentage of their modeling time engaged in actual modeling procedures (doing time). Significant differences related to model attributes include: practicing engineers being less likely to use pattern features, more likely to have incorrect feature terminations, and more likely to use more complex features (as measured by feature density). Results show practicing engineers as less likely to highlight strategies related to adaptive expertise prior to the modeling activity. Post interview results show practicing engineers with more manifestations of adaptive expertise. These results are in agreement with previous literature examining both general and CAD modeling expertise.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2015;():V005T05A008. doi:10.1115/IMECE2015-50343.

In engineering and technology education, increasing concerns about student retention have led educators to pursue possible explanations for students’ academic successes and failures. Educators need to maintain students’ learning interest and motivation and increase their self-efficacy and learning persistence. Self-Regulated Learning (SRL) is a specific form of learning. “Self-regulated” describes a process of taking control of and evaluating one’s own learning and behavior. SRL is guided by meta-cognition, strategic action, and motivation to learn. With SRL, students can evaluate their study and learning strategies. Self-regulated learners also hold incremental beliefs about intelligence and attribute their successes or failures to factors within their control. The application of self-regulation to learning is a complicated process involving not only the awareness and application of learning strategies but also extensive reflection and self-awareness. Training programs that promote SRL have been found to be beneficial for students’ learning. This paper describes the design and development of the SRL instructional strategies, their implementation, and the evaluation of their effectiveness. Students also learned about the brain and how it forms new connections every time they learn something new. The outcomes are provided and recommendations are discussed.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2015;():V005T05A009. doi:10.1115/IMECE2015-50432.

Beginning in 2009, Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) courses have been implemented at Georgia Tech. These VIP classes allow undergraduate students to receive academic credit for participating on teams that further faculty research efforts. The teams are multidisciplinary, vertically-integrated, and long-term. Participation on these teams has been shown to help students develop an understanding of project timelines, and effective project communication, while gaining other applicable real-world experience.

EcoCAR 3 is the latest in a series of Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions (AVTCs) sponsored by the Department of Energy since 1988. At Georgia Tech, the EcoCAR 3 team has been structured using the VIP program to improve the all-around experience of faculty members and the graduate and undergraduate students. Based on Georgia Tech’s previous experience in EcoCAR 1, the team leadership hoped to increase participation of undergraduate students, improve collaboration between students and faculty members, and raise retention levels. The team has shown improvements in each of these categories through implementation of the VIP program. Some of the primary challenges that the team experienced during the first year of competition are also presented here, along with plans for further improvement in future years of the competition.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2015;():V005T05A010. doi:10.1115/IMECE2015-50911.

The objective of this National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded undergraduate engineering training project is to introduce nanoscale science and engineering through an innovative use of a technical elective sophomore-level mechatronics course, followed by an Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)-mandated senior-level engineering capstone design project. A unique partnership between University of Arizona’s department of surgery, its neurosurgical division, and the College of Engineering presents a creative environment, where medical residents serve as mentors for undergraduate engineering students in developing product ideas enabled by nanotechnology. Examples include: a smart ventricular peritoneal (VP) shunt with flow-sensing; a bio-resorbable inflatable stent for drug delivery, and a hand-held non-invasive eye tonometer. Results from the first year of the student projects, as well as qualitative assessment of their experience, is presented. Several institutional challenges were also identified.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2015;():V005T05A011. doi:10.1115/IMECE2015-50985.

The EcoCAR 3 competition is the latest iteration of the Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions sponsored by General Motors (GM) and the Department of Energy (DOE). The competition involves 16 universities from the US and Canada and requires the teams to design, develop, and implement a hybrid Chevrolet Camaro from the platform of GM’s choosing. The Colorado State University (CSU) team is a unique participant in this competition because it implements the program as a subset of the Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering senior capstone courses. The advantages of this arrangement are that EcoCAR 3 can leverage course deliverables to achieve EcoCAR 3 objectives, and that students can receive credit for their efforts in support of the EcoCAR 3 program. The challenges with this approach center around having two sets of deliverables (competition and academic) on overlapping timelines with shared resources. These challenges must be resolved through project management activities to successfully meet all of the deadlines and requirements of each program.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2015;():V005T05A012. doi:10.1115/IMECE2015-51007.

It is well recognized that manufacturing is making a comeback to the US, from the outsourcing that took place between 1980–2010. The need for advanced manufacturing careers is also well documented by many manufacturing organizations, substantiated by the report entitled “A National Strategic Plan for Advanced Manufacturing” which was released by the Executive Office of the President National Science and Technology Council’s in February 2012. The Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME) points out that at the height of the recession, 32% of manufacturers reported that they had jobs unfilled because they could not find people with requisite skills. It is also well documented that liberal arts (BA) graduates suffer from mal-employment problems; they are either underemployed or unemployed. To solve this problem, this paper describes an innovative solution of transforming BA graduates to take on advanced manufacturing positions to meet the skilled workforce needs and fill these positions. This paper briefly describes the program, but focuses mainly on one aspect of it: industry partnerships. We describe the importance of industry partners to the proposed solution. We also discuss industry needs.

Topics: Manufacturing
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2015;():V005T05A013. doi:10.1115/IMECE2015-51438.

Engineering is a profession that suffers from rapid obsolescence because of constantly new market needs. Therefore, the engineering education curriculum must be adapted to accommodate change and to prepare as well as possible new engineers. To achieve this, Project-Based Learning (PBL) as an active learning methodology, assumes greater importance.

PBL has been implemented for a decade (since 2004/05) in the first semester of the first and fourth year of the Master Degree in Industrial Engineering and Management (IEM) at University of Minho, Portugal, by a team of IEM teachers. This paper describes this last decade of teaching, learning and researching in a PBL environment in this degree. PBL engages students in their own learning. In IEM program, PBL also engaged teachers in improving their teaching methods by questioning continuously these. Throughout ten years, the coordination team of IEM program faced many challenges and brought significant contributions to discussion, researching on how PBL process in IEM could be improved and studying different PBL models for different students’ needs. By following this path, this paper disseminates the practices researched in PBL process of IEM program and the benefits founded by applying this learning methodology through an analysis of the results of this research published in international conferences, journals and books (more than 70 publications). In light of the results achieved, as well as feedback from researchers and students, the authors believe that PBL is one of the best practices for student learning and teacher engagement.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2015;():V005T05A014. doi:10.1115/IMECE2015-52276.

An effective strategy to promote deep understanding in engineering thermodynamics is to increase the use of conceptual questions during lectures coupled with prompt assessment of student responses. A key is to collect responses from all students and provide prompt feedback explaining the correct response. It has been found that conceptual questions are more effective than numerical. Good questions explore if a quantity will increase, decrease or remain unchanged in response to a change in the system. In previous semesters, an instructor would pose conceptual questions during lecture and discuss with those students who participated with the instructor. Using an electronic collection system for student responses, all student responses can be collected and assesses. Results show that (1) it is rare that the entire class is correct even for the simplest of questions, (2) a nearly identical question can be repeated in a subsequent lecture and there will continue to be a incorrect responses, and (3) repeating questions throughout the semester is effective at addressing common conceptual misunderstandings and improving long-term student learning in engineering thermodynamics.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Education and Globalization: Engineering Accreditation/Assessment and Problem Solving in Engineering Education

2015;():V005T05A015. doi:10.1115/IMECE2015-50056.

In this paper a methodology to identify gaps in course learning outcomes using Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam administered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) is presented. The methodology is applied to selected courses in General Engineering, Mechanical Engineering (international university), and Civil Engineering (US University). It has been concluded that the methodology succeeded to identify gaps in course learning outcomes of these courses and corrective actions to topics covered is consequently proposed. The proposed methodology is adequate for programs already developed and is recommended as a continuous improvement and review method for engineering curriculum.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2015;():V005T05A016. doi:10.1115/IMECE2015-50776.

The Design of Machine Elements course is one of the most difficult and complicated courses in the Mechanical Engineering program. It requires inventive concept generation, the knowledge of geometrical design, and basic knowledge of stress and deformation analyses. On those three elements, the machine elements design philosophy is established and further developed. The course material has to be chosen carefully since the time constrains will allow to cover design of only few essential machine elements. The material is covered by lectures, textbook readings, homework problems, and design projects. In addition to the textbook content the course contains five special elements: Idea Generation, Safety Considerations, Design of the Day (DoD), a Designer’s Liability study, and three projects including Final Project – Shaft Design. In the Idea Generation project, students generate an idea of machine or mechanical device. The Safety Consideration project is done by inspection and documentation of unsafe elements on campus. The Shaft Design Project had students design a shaft system under given constrains. In DoD students present existing advanced machines chosen using different sources or their own industrial internship experience. The Liability assignment addresses the designer’s legal responsibility in case of a defective product that caused an injury or accident. The material taught in the course is larger than conventional machine element design course. The elements added that are beyond the structural analysis bring better understanding of engineering problems during the Senior Design course and later during engineering practice. They allow the students to connect the theory with the real world of engineering challenges. This gives students more satisfaction during the learning process and cognitive benefits during engineering practice. The unconventional inventive design approach of the teaching team (course instructor and GTA) to problem solving is based on many years of instructor’s experience in teaching of engineering problem solving and design. The learning pattern in which students work in teams, both in problem solving and in design exercises, also helps to conduct the course. Thanks to all these elements the learning experience of the course is unique and engaging despite the high level of difficulty associated with it.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2015;():V005T05A017. doi:10.1115/IMECE2015-52676.

The Manufacturing Automation course in a standard engineering education prepares students for the most contemporary production and technology challenges. This paper describes Rapid Prototyping and Modeling done as subtractive and additive manufacturing operations in the scope of the UConn Engineering program, as well as its integration into the Manufacturing Automation course. It is a companion paper with IMECE 2014-38355 [1] that reports how students of Manufacturing Automation are exposed to rapid prototyping. This is done in the UConn School of Engineering Machine Shop, Mechanical Engineering Machine Shop and Laboratory of the desk top modelers. Some experience students gain also in MEM Prototyping Laboratory and during class trips to Pratt & Whitney/ UConn Additive Manufacturing Research Laboratory and to CNC Software Inc Experimental Testing Shop. One of the objectives of the course is to introduce students to the processes of advanced Subtractive and Additive Manufacturing (SM and AM). The CAD/CAM cutting software such as CAMM-3 Micromodeler, G-code and Mastercam were used successfully in those operations. The elements of CAD/CAM software were integrated in the model cutting exercises. Full automation of integrated design and manufacturing data exchange was attempted but was found still not possible to accomplish. However the use of automation software in a sequence, tin tandem with data export and import, marks a significant step forward towards integrated manufacturing automation. The research to accomplish the next level of automation will be continued and the results will be applied to reinforce the teaching and practice of Manufacturing Automation. Significant role in helping students to understand the methods of subtractive and additive manufacturing has cooperation with two Connecticut companies that achieved outstanding results in modeling and prototyping. These are Pratt & Whitney in East Hartford and CNC Software Inc in Tolland, Connecticut. The class visits to their facilities and experience with their equipment played a significant role in understanding of the subtractive and additive machining processes. Efforts to introduce students to the concepts of subtractive and additive machining process are described. Conclusions about the teaching methods of product machining concepts and lessons learned are pointed out.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2015;():V005T05A018. doi:10.1115/IMECE2015-53406.

In large engineering departments, multiple sections of an engineering course are typically offered during a single semester to accommodate student enrollment demands. At times, multiple sections of a single course are taught by the same instructor, but very often, they are taught by different instructors. Having different instructors teaching various sections of the same course provides opportunities for students to select the instructor of their choice. But it also may create unfairness in grades received by all students taking the same course. Since the grading scale can vary significantly among the instructors, the grade distribution in various sections of the same course can also vary significantly. Some students, who pass a course with one instructor, might not be able to pass the same course if the course is taken with another instructor. One way to resolve this problem is for the instructors to coordinate their efforts in the way they are teaching the course and evaluating student knowledge. In fall 2014, and spring 2015 two instructors who were teaching two sections of a senior level engineering course collaborated in providing a uniform coverage of course topics and coordinated their efforts in assessing knowledge of all students enrolled in both sections. They worked together to put similar emphasize on the topics covered in the course. The weight of each exam, homework assignments, and projects counted towards the final exam were agreed upon at the start of the semester. Exam questions were developed and graded by both instructors. The benefits of coordination in teaching and evaluating the student knowledge uniformly are discussed. Lesson learned in this experiment are also included.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Education and Globalization: Engineering Research Innovation and Computation

2015;():V005T05A019. doi:10.1115/IMECE2015-50466.

Novel, functional, and aesthetic products are thought to have a high likelihood of success in the marketplace. While making sound design decisions is a critical ability of good designers, evaluating product concepts for their future successes in the marketplace is a challenging task. In design classes, only about half of product concepts selected by student design teams may be retained and prototyped into final products, i.e., about half of student design teams find that their initial product concepts are difficult to make workable and change to different concepts by the time they create prototypes for testing. This paper investigates if electrophysiological concomitants in product concept evaluation may potentially be used to improve students’ and designers’ product concept evaluation processes. The preliminary data in this pilot study indicate that distinct decision-making processes may occur during evaluations of product concepts on novelty, functionality, and aesthetics, evidenced by brain activation differences among students.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2015;():V005T05A020. doi:10.1115/IMECE2015-51243.

Project based learning (PBL) is a dynamic classroom approach in which students actively explore solving real world problems and gaining knowledge and skills through developing real products. In this paper, we introduce a student project that focuses on the integration of mechanical and electrical components in the development of a speech controlled service robot. The technical details of this project are presented, including the major components, system integration, and the software that enables the functions of the robot. A robot with such functions can be used in many applications such as military operations, speech controlled appliances, etc. Student assessment has shown that this project helps students learn valuable knowledge of product development that are usually only acquired through real world working experiences.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2015;():V005T05A021. doi:10.1115/IMECE2015-51557.

Many educational institutions employ surveys in order to identify what majors to offer or what competencies to emphasize in their curricula. Different from a survey, we present an analysis of the labor market needs based on data collected from job ads available in the Internet. Tools of natural language processing (NLP) and statistical techniques have been employed to handle the job ads. For Peru, Chile and Colombia, a detailed panorama of the market demand has been depicted: mechanical engineering appears among the top most demanded engineering majors and maintenance is its most frequent technical requirement; management (project, quality and operations) related requirements also rank high, together with a working knowledge of English. By using diverse visualization techniques we can also show the “social network” of a major, where friendship is defined by the amount of job ads shared by any two majors.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2015;():V005T05A022. doi:10.1115/IMECE2015-51838.

Environmentally Sustainable Design is in accordance with the concept of sustainability to design objects and built environment achieving a balance that causes no overall net environmental burden. At a time when global warming is proceeding at a rate, unprecedented in the past 1,300 years, we not only need to switch to greener energy sources and reduce consumption on the whole, but also make provision for the victims of future calamities that are inevitable due to irreversible environmental damage. This paper talks about creating an ecological balance in natural and manmade ecosystems. The need for Environmentally Sustainable Energy as well as the concept and its principles has been explained. A case study was taken up on the LILYPAD Project by architect Vincent Callebaut to showcase an excellent example of an environmentally sustainable design concept for future climatic refugees. The prototype is termed as an “auto sufficient amphibious city” and takes up the challenges launched by the OECD namely climate, biodiversity, water and health. The research also states how we can incorporate the idea of living symbiotically with nature in the construction of future homes with the implementation of one such concept i.e. Passivhaus standards. This paper aims to create awareness about environmental responsibility and how the use of environmentally sustainable design can help us realize this practically. All structures must be constructed with the aim of making them as energy efficient as possible by implementing the Passivhaus Principles and many such standards that can reduce our energy consumption and emission.

Topics: Green design
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Education and Globalization: Fluid Mechanics, Heat Transfer, Experiments and Energy Systems

2015;():V005T05A023. doi:10.1115/IMECE2015-50017.

In pipelines, non-Newtonian fluids are generally pumped under turbulent flow conditions where frictional pressure losses are required for hydraulic design. The friction factor is a crucial parameter in calculating frictional pressure losses. However, determination of the friction factor is a decisive challenge, especially for turbulent flow of non-Newtonian fluids. This is mainly due to the large number of friction factor equations and the precision of each.

The main objective of the present paper is to evaluate the published friction factor correlations for non-Newtonian fluids over a wide range of friction factor data to select the most accurate one. An analytical comparative study adopting the recently introduced Akaike information criterion (AIC) and the traditional coefficient of determination (R2) is conducted. Data reported by several researchers are used individually and collectively.

The results show that each model exhibits accuracy when examined with a specific data set while El-Emam et al. model proves its superiority to other models when examining the data mutually. In addition to its simple and explicit form, it covers a wide range of flow behavior indices and generalized Reynolds numbers.

It is also shown that the traditional belief that a higher R2 corresponds to better models may be misleading. AIC overcomes the shortcomings of R2 as it employs the parsimonious principle to trade between the complexity of the model and its accuracy not only to find the best approximating model but also to develop statistical inference based on the data. Although it has not yet been used in oil and gas industry, the authors present the AIC to initiate an innovative strategy that has been demonstrated in other disciplines to help alleviate several challenges faced by professionals in the oil and gas industry. Finally, a detailed discussion and models’ ranking according to AIC and R2 is presented showing the numerous advantages of AIC.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2015;():V005T05A024. doi:10.1115/IMECE2015-50098.

This paper reports on the development of a conceptual design, construction and instrumentation of an experimental facility that can be used to carry out experimental research towards increasing energy efficiency in buildings. The overarching idea is to construct a system that emulates the scaled dimensions and materials of a typical building structure. The sub-scale testbed consists of a two-floor building configuration with dimensions of 1.2 m × 0.92 m × 1.1 m. The building structure is made out of wood, and covered with drywall and fiberglass insulation. Fixed walls are selected for the first floor whereas movable walls are incorporated into the second floor to study the effects of different room configurations. Four staircase openings enable airflow between the two floors. The second floor has a tiled-style ceiling and removable walls that allow for connectivity of sensors and actuators. A set of heating and cooling sub-systems, consisting of light bulbs and thermoelectric coolers connected to fans, are used for each room in the building. Both the set of light bulbs as well as the cooling system are powered through a relay box, and connected to a computer via LabVIEW which also interfaces the different sensing and actuating devices. The capabilities of the experimental facility are tested by implementing time-dependent heating- and cooling-processes and an on-off control strategy on a two-room prototype. Preliminary results demonstrate that the experimental testbed offers a reliable and versatile experimental system for research purposes.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2015;():V005T05A025. doi:10.1115/IMECE2015-50450.

A detailed experimental freezing study, designed for undergraduate students, has been carried out to evaluate the heat transfer performance of a solid/liquid phase-change thermal energy storage system. The test vessel system, experimental procedure and results, and analytical solutions are discussed. The phase-change material (PCM) is contained in a vertically oriented test cylinder that is cooled at its outside boundary, resulting in radially inward freezing. Detailed quantitative time-dependent volumetric temperature distributions and freeze-front motion and shape data were experimentally obtained. To fully understand the behavior of the eicosane, four freezing tests were performed with different temperature set points as low as 10°C.

In the analysis, results of a test in which molten eicosane, initially at 50°C, was solidified and brought to a final temperature of 10°C are presented. In the freezing case study, a mathematical model based on a one-dimensional analysis, which considered heat conduction as the only mode of heat transfer was developed. The phase-change medium, 99% pure eicosane (C20H42) was chosen as the PCM. Eicosane is desirable because its fusion temperature is just slightly higher than ambient temperature (36.5°C), which is convenient for phase-change experimentation. Low-temperature heating can be used to melt the PCM and ambient-temperature cooling can be used to re-freeze it.

To evaluate the inward radius of fusion, several analytical and experimental approaches were considered. These approaches were (1) experimental method; (2) conduction model; (3) integral method; and (4) cumulative heat transfer method. Comparison of these methods reveals excellent agreement. In most cases, the heat transfer estimated from the freezing-front analysis was slightly higher than the heat transfer evaluated from the time-series data. The largest discrepancy occurs at fifty minutes into the experiment (10.7%).

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2015;():V005T05A026. doi:10.1115/IMECE2015-52000.

The supply of water purified for drinking and residential use is insufficient in many underdeveloped regions. Certain methods enable improved supply to rural villages, such as use of basic solar stills. However, urban environments are not suitable for such basic solar stills for several reasons, including a lack of space readily available for multiple solar stills, inadequate infrastructure, and harsh environment due to both people and environmental conditions. The aim of this project was to develop a solar still system that would be suitable for urban residences, which would purify water to provide a clean and drinkable supply. The two major components of the design were the still and the lens, which work together to purify water by tracking the sun and concentrating the sun rays. The primary goal was to contain a functional solar still in a smaller volume. The rate of evaporation was tested for prototyped modules of the design.

Topics: Solar stills , Cities
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2015;():V005T05A027. doi:10.1115/IMECE2015-52179.

Applied computer solutions for conductive heat transfer are a critical component in any modern undergraduate heat transfer course. This need has been addressed in many ways through various textbook exercises and software packages. The present work involves a catalog of analytical solutions organized with a numbering system that describes the boundary conditions and initial conditions for each problem. The solutions are pre-programmed and accessible via a free web site called the Exact Analytical Conduction Toolbox, or EXACT. Students can access these solutions for use in homework and project work. In this paper examples of several types of student exercises are given, including a re-creation of the Heisler charts and a two dimensional steady-state example. Additionally, an account is given of classroom use of these tools in a graduate heat transfer course, outlining the education advantages of the EXACT web page. The concept of intrinsic verification is also discussed, focusing on the applicability of this concept to enhancing insight among undergraduate students. General support is also expressed for the need of analytical solutions to heat transfer and diffusion problems in an undergraduate setting.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2015;():V005T05A028. doi:10.1115/IMECE2015-52264.

The primary objective of a thermodynamic/heat transfer course is to provide the fundamental knowledge necessary to understand the behavior of thermal systems. A thermodynamic/heat transfer course provides a detailed calculus-based analysis of energy, entropy, exergy, conduction, convection, and radiation using these concepts to calculate the behavior and efficiencies of different processes and cycles. Proper conceptual and theoretical understanding of thermodynamics/heat transfer is very important to solve real life problems. In order to understand and properly use the concepts, it is necessary that there be effective labs and in-class demonstrations, as well as realistic problems to serve this purpose. Most thermodynamic/heat transfer courses have some labs and some courses use in-class demonstrations that attempt to apply what is being learned in the class room. How effective these labs and demonstrations are in helping the students understanding of the thermodynamic/heat transfer principles is questionable. To facilitate theoretical learning, instructors need to also solve a variety of interesting problems in thermodynamics/heat transfer, besides solving the conventional problems from the text book. Solving these realistic problems helps students to also enhance their conceptual understanding, and, motivate students to continue their learning. This paper describes an example of an interesting heat transfer problem that compares an analytical solution with that of an FEA solution to help engage the students in learning how to apply both approaches to a realistic problem. Furthermore, this paper discusses a series of labs that are currently used at Eastern Washington University (EWU) to help students apply what they are learning in a thermodynamic/heat transfer course. The labs at EWU are compared to a survey conducted at 25 universities to find other possible labs and in-class demonstrations. From this study, the best labs and in-class demonstrations will be discussed, explored, and implementation recommendations will be given.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2015;():V005T05A029. doi:10.1115/IMECE2015-52554.

In collaboration with a local industry, Rexnord Technologies, mechanical engineering undergraduate students at the Milwaukee School of Engineering have undertaken a series of senior design projects to solve practical problems in thermal engineering. A team of four students are working on Gearbox oil immersion heater control. This team is developing a control scheme to preheat the oil prior to gear movement and that which will ensure that the heater turns off at the correct time so as to maintain the oil temperature in V-series gearboxes. Another team of four students is tackling Gearbox forced convection heat dissipation-modeling and optimization. The beneficial effects of university-industry alliance and the development of well-rounded engineers are discussed along with the solutions for the specific projects. Assessment results highlighting the impact of senior design in the overall undergraduate curriculum are also be presented in this paper. The senior exit surveys also provide the premium value on senior design experience and industry involvement. The goal of this paper is to give the audience a taste of the senior design opportunities undergraduates have at the Milwaukee School of Engineering highlighting the Rexnord Technologies-sponsored projects and the role of industry collaboration.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2015;():V005T05A030. doi:10.1115/IMECE2015-52979.

The temperature, the relative humidity (RH) and the light are variables that influence and affect considerably the development of plants and mites. The study of the different stimulus’s effect on plants and animals is possible under controlled conditions when the variables of interest are regulated. With this project we aim to obtain a suitable temperature and RH controller, property of the Grupo de Investigaciones Agroindustriales (GRAIN). Formerly, the chamber belonged to this research group and it was used as meat ripening facility, but it was necessary to ensure the proper environment for plants and mites for further research. In order to fulfill this new objective, a better control must be designed. As a final product we obtained a graphic interface in both the PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) and the computer. In this way, the user can set certain conditions of temperature and RH inside the chamber, with and without the requirement of a computer to accomplish the control of these variables.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Education and Globalization: Societal and Ethical Dimensions of Engineering

2015;():V005T05A031. doi:10.1115/IMECE2015-50721.

In this paper, we take a close look at the participation of women in Mechanical Engineering, through an analysis of scientific publications in the field. Using a large dataset of over 100,000 publications from the ASME digital library, the paper creates a picture of the gender preferences associated with areas in the field of Mechanical Engineering. We find that while the average percentage of women in the field is generally low (15.6%), there are significant differences between the percentages of women in different categories, with areas such as biomechanical engineering, energy management, renewable energy, and nanotechnology attracting a larger than average proportion of women. Additionally, we also analyze the change in the number of authors in different areas over 20 years of research in the field, and observe a significant growth in recent years for both genders in the areas of biomechanical engineering, nanotechnology, and computational engineering.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2015;():V005T05A032. doi:10.1115/IMECE2015-53055.

To better understand how improved understanding of uncertainty and probability concepts in an engineering systems context would affect undergraduate engineering students’ perceptions of professional responsibility and ethics as well as personal agency (one’s ability to affect the outcome of events), an assessment of these principles was conducted during a related course.

A course entitled Engineering Risk Analysis was offered and conducted with a mix of undergraduate Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Petroleum Engineering, Environmental Systems Engineering, and Architectural Engineering students. This course presented and trained students in the use of system analysis techniques from the disciplines of Reliability Engineering, Policy Analysis, and Economics for understanding how uncertain circumstances interact with technological systems to produce failures and disasters.

As engineering systems become increasingly complex and command greater quantities of energy, the risk of failures even when very rare, become much more severe. While there have been previous initiatives to increase engineering students’ understanding of statistics, probability, and risk, usually in response to previous disasters, this preliminary study is the first to begin to examine how this kind of knowledge affects engineering student’s perceptions of ethics, responsibility, and their concept of how their own individual decisions affect the potential for the failure of complex systems and the consequences of such failures.

Students completed 5 regular survey-based assessments to judge their qualitative and quantitative skills, personal perceptions of the causes of engineering failures, and the professional and ethical responsibilities of engineers. Analysis of the response variance and a linear regression model demonstrated some significant effects after controlling for education, age, and professional work experience.

Results indicate that questions related to probabilistic understanding of risk demonstrated the most significant change during the course. Indicators of agreement with strong professional ethics and greater professional responsibility as well as personal agency did not significantly change during the course. More importantly, while personal choices on risk did not appear to reflect one’s view of how engineers actually do or should treat questions of risk professionally, the amount of previous technical work experience showed a small positive association with increased agreement on statements of ethical responsibility towards workers and the public. These findings suggest that future research is needed to assess the types of instruction and personal experience that can best encourage the combination of strong ethical responsibility and personal agency that could empower engineering students to act when they have the opportunity to reduce risk to workers, the public, or the environment.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2015;():V005T05A033. doi:10.1115/IMECE2015-53262.

An engineering Summer Bridge (Engineering Summer Readiness Workshop after 2015) program has been implemented at the University of Texas at Brownsville (UTB) since summer 2012. After three years of program data accumulation, we can now track those participants from their freshman up to junior year (for those still active in UTB engineering) and further extend our study on the effect of the designed engineering summer program on a) the semester the participants take Calculus I; b) the semester the participants pass Calculus I; c) the first- and second-year engineering active rate; and d) the success rate in the selected engineering major courses of all the participants. We compared all the above mentioned data to the average data of the engineering majors at the same academic stage/level.

The engineering summer bridge program was originally designed to prepare the fresh high school graduates intellectually on their math and for an early readiness for their coming engineering study. More than 90% of the targeted students are Hispanic in south Texas, and English is the second language for 86% of them. As one of the components of the University of Texas System, UTB is a minority-serving institution catering mostly to the underrepresented Hispanic population of the Lower Rio Grande Valley region. It has one of the highest concentrations of Hispanic students (both in number and percentage) compared to other universities in the nation [Table 1]. Among the overall student enrollment at the university in fall 2013, 91% are Hispanic.

Most of the targeted students are academically below the top 10% in their high school graduating classes due to the pre-selection of the top 10% students by the Texas flagship universities. First-generation college-goers experience a variety of challenges as they enter and move through higher education. The Engineering Summer Bridge provides students with specific types of resources and support to ensure that they move into and through engineering study smoothly and to shorten the time for their engineering study. The 4–5 week summer bridge program at UTB intensively enhances math preparation in pre-calculus and college algebra, and also actively engages the students with the modern engineering design concepts and tools. Specific goals of the bridge programs include introducing math expectations of engineering program in the areas of College Algebra, Pre-calculus, and help students eliminate the math gap by passing the COMPASS Test as well as the Pre-calculus Test in the summer to get ready for Calculus I in the coming fall semester. The long-term goals of the ESB program aim to improve the first- and second-year retention rate and four-year graduation rate of UTB engineering majors.

Study on the previous three year’s data suggests that, compared to the overall average of the students enrolling into the UTB engineering program at the same period, summer bridge program participants have statistically started and finished their Calculus I (thus becoming engineering math ready) earlier. Participants also demonstrated higher engineering interesting which was proved by the participation rate in introductory engineering projects in the first two years of their engineering study. Besides, 88% of surveyed students reported that the program was helpful and convenient, and 100% of surveyed students reported that they would recommend the summer bridge program to a friend or a fellow student. Comparison of the first- to second-year active engineering student rate also suggests the validness of the summer bridge program.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2015;():V005T05A034. doi:10.1115/IMECE2015-53555.

In the ideal world, everything can be modeled and manufactured precisely. Unfortunately, in the real world, it is impossible to make artifacts with exact dimensions and exact material properties. Current engineering education focuses on teaching engineering science with precise analytical relationships among input and output variables and various properties of materials. Variations of product performances due to manufacturing variations and unpredictable use environments, however, have not been sufficiently incorporated into engineering education. An Engineering Uncertainty Repository is currently being developed with an intention to enhance students’ uncertainty literacy and to assist instructors to incorporate uncertainty into their engineering courses. This paper presents (1) the ongoing development of the Engineering Uncertainty Repository, which includes a dedicated website and teaching materials, and (2) a plan to evaluate the effectiveness of the Engineering Uncertainty Repository.

Topics: Uncertainty
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Education and Globalization: Teaching Laboratories, Machine Shop Experience, and Technology-Aided Lecturing

2015;():V005T05A035. doi:10.1115/IMECE2015-51401.

A 30-minute of simple understanding video course was proposed, which included of normal movie comparison between expert and non-expert, corresponding body model motion simulation movie, transfer care process division and different mechanics of movement analysis results. Through video display in training course, nursing care staff could easily compare and catch the motion detail differences with expert and deeply imprinted in mind. In a word, the target of this paper was to give the feedback to elder nursing care occupational site by video training course development, help to improve and optimize beginner and non-expert’s care skill in a shorter cycle period.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2015;():V005T05A036. doi:10.1115/IMECE2015-51501.

Virtual laboratories are one popular form of implementation of virtual reality. They are now widely used at various levels of education. Game-based virtual laboratories created using game engines take advantage of the resources of these game engines. While providing convenience to developers of virtual laboratories, game engines also exhibit the following shortcomings: (1) They are not realistic enough. (2) They require long design and modification periods. (3) They lack customizability and flexibility. (4) They are endowed with limited artificial intelligence. These shortcomings render game-based virtual laboratories (and other virtual laboratories) inferior to traditional laboratories.

This paper proposes a smart method for developing game-based virtual laboratories that overcomes these shortcomings. In this method, 3D reconstruction and pattern recognition techniques are adopted. 3D reconstruction techniques are used to create a virtual environment, which includes virtual models of real objects and a virtual space. These techniques can render this virtual environment fairly realistic, can reduce the time and effort of creating the virtual environment and can increase the flexibility in the creation of the virtual environment. Furthermore, pattern recognition techniques are used to endow game-based virtual laboratories with general artificial intelligence. The scanned objects can be recognized, and certain attributes of real objects can be added automatically to their virtual models. In addition, the emphasis of the experiments can be adjusted according to the users’ abilities in order to get better training results. As a prototype, an undergraduate student laboratory was developed and implemented. Finally, additional improvements in the approach for creating game-based virtual laboratories are discussed.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2015;():V005T05A037. doi:10.1115/IMECE2015-51696.

Most of the engineering courses focus more on theory and very little on hands-on, project-based learning in the classroom. Integration of real-world engineering problems and applications in lower division engineering courses will produce engineering students, who will be technically sound and be able to execute and manage real-world projects, when they will do senior design projects in their final year of engineering study. To overcome the engineering design challenges we have developed iHOP (Ingenieŕia Hands on Project) and integrate it with our lower division engineering courses. iHOP has been developed to emphasis the design component at the University of Texas at Brownsville (UTB) Engineering Physics curriculum and the project is now an integral part of Introduction to Engineering class. The iHOP project is one that is challenging, fun, requires teamwork, associated with the engineering material being studied, low cost, and doable in a limited amount of time. The experience from iHOP project motivates our freshman students to choose a better senior design project in senior year of their college career.

The objectives of the iHOP projects are — to have students develop teamwork skills, and to teach students basic engineering design concepts in a complementary format to the traditional lecture. Various techniques related to team selection, encouraging teamwork, incorporation of engineering topics, keeping costs down, project results presentations, and gathering feedback from students will also be presented in this paper. Integrating iHOP Project with Introduction to Engineering class helped us to improve our retention effort in the engineering department.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2015;():V005T05A038. doi:10.1115/IMECE2015-53789.

Engineering teaching laboratory experiments often suffer from being too deterministic. While this can allow students to predictably observe and measure various engineering phenomena, the students may doubt the real world application or significance of the experiment. On the other hand, engineering research experiments can often be tedious and repetitive. Research assistants, both graduate and undergraduate, can grow bored while collecting data, leading to mistakes and reduced quality of the data. This paper will present preliminary results from using a laboratory section of a senior mechanical engineering elective course, “Introduction to Microtechnology,”, to conduct a series of experiments for a research problem in the instructor’s research laboratory.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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