Design project design for an elementary strength of materials course

Cliff Lissenden, Nicholas Salamon, Andrew Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Our goal is to enable deeper learning by undergraduate engineering students via experience with an open-ended design project. In addition to knowledge, comprehension, and application, engineering design requires students to analyze and synthesize. Furthermore, students must practice divergent thinking to explore the entire design space, which is an immensely important skill for developing creative and effective solutions. Learning design via a team-based design project promotes cognitive skills, social skills, management skills, and positive personal traits. Design and development of an open ended design project is discussed. The team-based project progresses over approximately ten weeks in an elementary strength of materials course. This provides a significant design experience for engineering students that helps bridge the gap between the first-year engineering design course and the capstone design project that engineering students typically do in their senior year. The project requires student teams to: work together, apply standards, create a conceptual design, select appropriate materials, identify applied loading scenarios, perform the design analysis, check design calculations from another team, create design drawings, estimate the cost, and write a design report. In order to accomplish all this in a course like strength of materials, which is laden with analysis, the project must be well organized and accompanied with web-based tools. This paper discusses design of the design project, course content that is beyond the traditional strength of materials course coverage, and development of web-based tools that make this possible. The web-based tools provide guidance on: the design process with interactive examples, analysis and simulation, materials properties and selection, administering team projects (for instructors), working team projects (for students), as well as environmental, economical, social, and ethical issues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - 2008
Event2008 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - Pittsburg, PA, United States
Duration: Jun 22 2008Jun 24 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering


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