Mechanical Test Frame for MME Materials Lab

Project Title: Mechanical Test Frame for MME Materials Lab

Project Lead’s Name: Carter Hamilton


Phone: (513) 529-0722

Please Choose the Primary Affiliation: CEC

Are There Other Project Team Members?: Yes

Other Project Team Member: Zhijiang Ye

Other Team Member Email Address:

Brief description of project: This project entails the acquisition of a new mechanical test frame to supplement the resources available in the Engineering Materials Lab of the Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering (MME). The MME Materials Lab currently has only one mechanical test frame that faculty research, undergraduate projects and undergraduate laboratory activities share. Since the needs and demands of undergraduate work are often distinct from those of faculty scholarship, the MME Materials Lab will dedicate the new test frame to servicing undergraduate projects, capstone activities and laboratory exercises, thus removing any conflict between competing needs. This proposal seeks to augment the Materials Lab equipment and enhance the quality of student academic and research opportunities, and preparation for professional activity.

Does this project focus on graduate student education or graduate student life?: No

Describe the problem you are attempting to solve and your approach for solving that problem.: The Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering Materials Lab has only a single mechanical test frame that faculty research, undergraduate projects and undergraduate laboratory activities share. Mechanical testing is critical to the undergraduate engineering curriculum so that students understand the correlation between processing, properties and structure and, as appropriate, the selection of appropriate materials for structural design. Undergraduate projects, capstone activities and laboratory exercises, therefore, require students to perform numerous mechanical tests on multiple materials to compare their mechanical properties and behavior. As such, the undergraduate demand on the Materials Lab only mechanical test frame is quite heavy. The MME Materials Lab seeks to acquire a new test frame and to dedicate that frame to undergraduate projects, capstone activities and laboratory exercises, thus removing any conflict between competing needs.

The criteria state that technology fee projects should benefit students in innovative and/or significant ways. How would you describe the innovation and/or significance of your project?: Laboratory assignments within MME 223 (Engineering Materials) require students to study metallic materials through mechanical testing, generating stress-strain curves and calculating such properties as yield strength, ultimate tensile strength and elastic modulus. Such activities and results allow students to appreciate and quantify the correlation between processing, properties and structure. Students, therefore, perform numerous mechanical tests to achieve the laboratory objectives. This course is required not only for all majors offered by the MME department (Mechanical Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering and Engineering Management), but also for all majors offered by the Chemical and Paper Engineering (CPE) department (Chemical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering). Therefore, the mechanical testing equipment sees 100% utilization by all MME and CPE students. Class size for MME 223 has averaged nearly 100 students per semester for the past four semesters, and the number will only grow as CEC plans to increase enrollment over the next four years. In addition, students participating in capstone projects in MME 448/9 (Senior Capstone Design) and independent research projects utilize the Materials Lab equipment. Clearly, the mechanical test frame is critical equipment within the MME department that experiences broad utilization by students at all levels of their respective programs.

At the same time, mechanical testing is a critical engineering skill, technique, and procedure that elucidates relationships between microstructure, processing and properties. The knowledge of mechanical testing and the ability to perform a mechanical test is not just an academic pursuit; rather it is a widely used technique in research, industry and failure analysis. Giving the students expertise in this area is, therefore, important to their education and professional development. Installing the new mechanical test frame will:

  1. benefit a large number of students in the MME and CPE departments,
  2. enhance of the quality of the courses with laboratory components drawing upon resources of the MME Materials Lab (MME 223 in particular),
  3. allow the development of at least one new lab experiment linking MME 223 with MME 231 (Manufacturing Processes), thereby, establishing more continuity among courses in the curriculum, and
  4. ensure the continued availability of state of the art equipment for courses seeking to augment or infuse exercises in experimental testing and data collection (MME 448/9, Independent Study, and student research projects).

The new equipment requires low maintenance and operating costs. The long service life of the equipment following installation (at least 20 years) guarantees this infusion of capital will have a sustained impact. No additional funds are available for this project.

How will you assess the project?: The primary objective of the project is to make a significant contribution to enhancing the technological exposure students receive in their engineering laboratory sessions. Two evaluations methods can assess the realization of this goal. Alumni surveys will constitute the most reliable body of information on the level of preparation instilled by lab activities, performed partly in the Materials Lab. The MME department regularly conducts these surveys and will modify them to elicit information specific to this project. The second measure of efficacy will be data collected through the senior exit interviews, which specifically inquire about the quality of the lab experience, and from course evaluations. Additionally, faculty will offer input on how the availability of the additional mechanical test equipment has enabled the inclusion of new assignments and projects in their courses. It is pertinent to add that students often identify (in the end of semester course evaluations) the laboratory experience in MME 223 as contributing very positively towards an understanding of fundamental material concepts. Funding of this project stands to enhance the quality of this experience.

Have you applied for and/or received Tech Fee awards in past years?: Yes

If funded, what results did you achieve?:

FY12 - CMM Upgrade: Significant upgrade of coordinate measuring machine capabilities and user interface. Students use the equipment in multiple courses and capstone projects and are able to engage in reverse engineering techniques that were unavailable before.

FY13 - Metallographic Sample Preparation: The new equipment has permitted students to spend more time on the microscope studying the metallic microstructures and understanding the relationships between these microstructures and metallic properties, rather than preparing samples. The new equipment has been extensively utilized in MME 223 and by capstone and undergraduate research projects.

Did you submit a final report?: Yes

What happens to the project in year two and beyond? Will there be any ongoing costs such as software or hardware maintenance, supplies, staffing, etc.? How will these be funded?: The mechanical test frame has a life of at least 20 years. However, as demonstrated by the existing equipment in the laboratory, the Materials Lab may utilize the new test frame well beyond its intended service life. The MME laboratory upkeep budget covers general operating expenses associated with periodic maintenance of the equipment and consumable supplies. It is pertinent to add that the total maintenance and consumables cost for the current test frame has been under $500 over the past three years, verifying abundantly the robustness of the physical equipment. Dr. Khan, Director of the Materials Lab, Dr. Hamilton, Director of the Quality Lab, and Karl Reiff, Lab Coordinator and Technician Equipment perform repair/maintenance.

Budget: Hardware

Hardware Title(s) & Vendor(s): MTS Exceed E44.304 Test System

Hardware Costs: $31,583.20

What is the total budget amount requested?: $31,583.20


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