LEARNING BASED ON ENGINEERING INTERDISCIPLINARY PROBLEMS: LASER ASSISTED MANUFACTURING AND STRESS ANALYSIS
A closer approach to actual engineering problems has been claimed as an effective tool to enhance global learning. While the new trends of student based learning promote student independent learning actions from early steps in the education path, the structure of engineering degrees frequently obstructs this strategy. The sub-discipline organisation is required to define the required specific competences of the engineer, but such knowledge packets can be excessively isolated. This circumstance is magnified the current management of the student grades, completely separated according the different subjects. Thus, the students hardly perceive the connections between the different learned disciplines and the pursued generalist point of view loses the effective applicability to actual problems. Moreover, the systemic and methodological competences are not sufficiently developed by the specific addressed topics. While this mission is supposed to be carried out by the Master Thesis, the student’s battle against broad problems is completely ignored until a very late stage in the engineering degree.
In this work, we propose a procedure that combines the benefits of problem based learning with collaborative learning, where cooperation is established between different disciplines along the degree. The particular case presented here interrelate stress analysis, advanced manufacture and laser technology. The practical work comprises of a multidisciplinary approach that raise theoretical concepts and practical implementation of processing by laser forming and stress analysis. Laser forming is an emergent manufacturing procedure that allows to produce complex shapes by bending. The technique is based on the generation of localized residual stresses by means of laser irradiation. The discussion about the practical implementation of stress analysis applied to laser forming manufacturing at the laboratory is addressed. Unload and load samples and different sizes of the thermal fields are analysed to emphasize the pre-load effect and to evaluate the presence of temperature gradient or buckling as governing mechanism. This practical approach allows the future engineers to gain an understanding about overall solution development.