Improve teaching capacity of the Engineering Materials Laboratory by acquiring Micro Vickers/Knoop Hardness tester

Project Title: Improve teaching capacity of the Engineering Materials Laboratory by acquiring Micro Vickers/Knoop Hardness tester

Long Title (if desired): Improve teaching capacity of the Engineering Materials Laboratory by acquiring Micro Vickers/Knoop Hardness tester

Project Lead's Name: Dr. Muhammad Jahan

Project Lead's Email:

Project Lead's Phone: 513-529-0347

Project Lead's Division: CEC

Primary Department: Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering

Other Team Members and their emails:

  • Dr. Carter Hamilton,
  • Dr. Fazeel Khan,

List Departments Benefiting or Affected by this proposal:

  • Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Electrical engineering
  • Physics

Estimated Number of Under-Graduate students affected per year (should be number who will actually use solution, not just who is it available to): 120

Estimated Number of Graduate students affected per year (should be number who will actually use solution, not just who is it available to): 20

Describe the problem you are attempting to solve and your approach for solving that problem: This proposal will fill a gap created in the teaching capabilities of the Engineering Materials Laboratory, an Instructional Laboratory of the MME Department. Conducting testing for basic mechanical properties, like hardness, strength and toughness are very important for most of the industries. Therefore, providing students hands-on training on these testing procedures are important for their education as well as professional development. While students currently learn the hardness testing procedure using Rockwell hardness tester, learning additional procedures of Vickers and Knoop hardness testing will help them establishing the correlation between different hardness values of a single material. The current equipment doesn't have the capability of measuring hardness at micro scale or measuring hardness on small area or thin films. In addition, with the trends of miniaturization in the industries, learning how to conduct microhardness testing can be beneficial to the students. Therefore, the goal of this project is to fill up this gap in the teaching capabilities of the MME department.

Although the primary targeted use for the proposed Microhardness tester is in the laboratory class for Engineering Materials, the equipment could be used significantly in multiple research projects in the graduate studies. The Vickers microhardness testing is an integral technique used extensively for measuring the surface microhardness of thin films and coatings. It is also used for measuring the changes in surface microhardness after machining or any other thermal heat treatment processes.

How would you describe the innovation and/or the significance of your project: Materials Science and Engineering is the core learning class for Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering. All the students in the MME department (Mechanical Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering and Engineering Management majors) must take MME 223: Engineering Materials course as part of their degree requirement. If the proposed microhardness tester is installed, it is expected that every undergraduate student taking the MME 223 course will get an opportunity to use the equipment. Class size for MME 223 has averaged over 60 students per semester for the past six semesters, and the number is projected to grow with increases in enrollment in the MME department. In addition, students participating in capstone projects in MME 448/9 (Senior Capstone Design) and independent research projects utilize the Materials Lab equipment. The proposed microhardness tester will enhance the capacity for materials research for both undergraduate and graduate students. The aim of this proposal is to enhance the Engineering Materials Laboratory capabilities and add new set of instructions in the Engineering Materials Laboratory class. In summary the new equipment will: (a) benefit all the undergraduates in MME department through hands-on training on the equipment as a part of their MME 223 laboratory activities, (b) provide additional and needed resource to support future research projects within the department and college, and (c) better prepare our students to face their challenges in semiconductor, thin-film, and coating industries.

How will you assess the success of the project: The primary objective of the project is to make a significant contribution to enhance students’ hands-on experience in their Engineering Materials course. Three evaluations methods will be used to assess the efficacy of the project. First: the alumni surveys will constitute the most reliable body of information on the level of preparation instilled by laboratory activities. These surveys are conducted regularly by the department, and will be modified 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 laboratory experience, and from course evaluations. Additionally, faculty input on how the availability of the advanced quality equipment has enabled the inclusion of new assignments that entail design related critical thinking and quality data collection in their courses will be gathered. Finally, end of semester course evaluations provide feedback on the students’ laboratory experience, which is often identified by students as very positive towards an understanding of fundamental material concepts. Funding of this project stands to enhance the quality of this experience.

Total Amount Requested: $22,035

Is this a multi-year request: No

Please address how, if at all, this project impacts any of Miami's BCSAE, 2020, or divisional plans: Here we will be discussing how the propose project will impact BCSAE 2020 and CEC 2020 Divisional Plans:

BCSAE 2020:

Advance Knowledge: The proposed Microhardness tester will mainly be used in the Engineering Materials Lab, where students learn measuring hardness of materials using various types of hardness testing procedures. In addition, this will advanced knowledge of material properties of various metals, composites, and thin film coatings at the micro scale.

Prepare students: Engineering Materials is a compulsory course for all the students in Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering (about 700 students). Therefore, all the students in the MME department will get an opportunity to receive hands-on training on the proposed equipment. In addition, undergraduates and graduate students from other engineering department and physics department of CAS will get a chance to use this for their research.

Advance Miami’s reputation for excellence and innovation: Beside enhancing the teaching capacity, the proposed new microhardness tester will impact research projects focusing on machining, tribology, surface coating, and thin films. The availability of this new equipment would promote Miami's reputation through journal publications and innovations through possible patents from innovative research.

Develop/enhance partnerships: The equipment could be available to AFRL during summer course that they are taking at the department and develop new partnership by offering usage of the machine to local industries.

Demonstrate a long-term sustainability plan: The proposed equipment would allow the faculty and multiple discipline to propose research on the new areas that they were unable to propose due to lack of this equipment or capability to measure hardness at micro scale. This will aid in chance of getting funding from government and private sectors.

CEC 2020 Plan:

LEARNING AND DISCOVERY: This project will engage students, create new knowledge, advance CEC's research profile by publications and grants, and overall advance CEC's excellence on project based learning or providing hands-on training to the students.

INCLUSIVE CULTURE AND GLOBAL ENGAGEMENT: The new equipment will be available to visiting students as well as students from different cultures and backgrounds at Miami Universities. The minority students from the MME department will also receive training on this new equipment through the MME 223 course.

EFFECTIVE PARTNERSHIPS AND OUTREACH: The equipment will promote partnership among various departments at Miami University through submission of proposals and carrying out research on the multidisciplinary projects. Beside 700 students from MME department, the equipment can be used by the ECE department for circuits design research and research on chips, and the CPB department for research on biopolymers, scaffolds, tissues, and paper physics. This project will also help creating partnership and relations among local manufacturing and aerospace industries as well as Air Force Research Lab in Dayton.

This project will definitely impact the CEC 2020 divisional plan, as the students of CEC will be the prime users of the equipment.