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The Incorporation of Materials Selection into the Design Sequence in a Mechanical Engineering Curriculum

Prof John Berry | Mississippi State University

The Incorporation of Materials Selection into the Design Sequence in a Mechanical Engineering Curriculum

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In 1994 the faculty of the Mechanical Engineering Department at Mississippi State University (MSU) took a far-reaching step - they decided to fully integrate ?materials' into their design sequence. After declaring that materials selection was inescapably part of this stream, they further decided that ME faculty would teach a new course (junior year, third year US) entitled ?Materials in Manufacturing and Design'. Prior to that time, a classical materials science and engineering course had been taught by colleagues from Chemical Engineering (Materials Scientists) using the Van Vlack text ?Introduction to Materials Science'. The first step was to hire an experienced metallurgist who had worked in industry and had taught in a Mechanical Engineering school (Georgia Tech) for roughly a dozen years. The hope was to develop, within the course as quickly as possible, the principles of those factors controlling the stiffness and strength in engineering materials. At the same time, it was hoped that some aspects of the shaping of materials, (especially of metals and alloys) could be incorporated into this new course (There would be follow-on senior (US fourth year) elective courses in materials processing, as well as mechanical behavior of materials to further strengthen the student's knowledge of the place of processing and materials selection in the design sequence.) This, of course, was prior to our having access to the EduPack Software. It thus presented a major problem with our selection of a text (The Kalpakjian ?all-in-one- approach' versus the more conventional Smith/Askeland/Callister route). It also proved to be an enormous task. So much so, that a second new course, ?Modeling and Manufacturing' was instituted at sophomore (US second year) level. This course introduced basic manufacturing processes to students as well as the principles of solid modeling using a CAD package (Solid Works). It involved the students taking apart, measuring and ?modeling' the components of a mechanical system (for example, a small IC engine) as well as considering how these components were made. The above move then permitted us to bring the EduPack software into the above Junior level (US third year) course, now entitled ?Materials in Mechanical Design', as well as allowing us to develop a second level senior elective devoted to materials selection. In the entirety of our design sequence, the EduPack Software has proved invaluable. We have also drawn on other data sources to supplement this such as Engineering Village, Steel University, Globalspec, Steelworks, together with numerous trade publications. The paper describes how all this was accomplished and also how the materials selection software was then incorporated into the required senior level course ?Mechanical Systems Design'.