Universitat de Girona (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN14 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Pages: 1628-1633
ISBN: 978-84-617-0557-3
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 6th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 7-9 July, 2014
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Engineering students must be able to solve daily problems related to their specialities. Often, real problems don’t have a single way of solving and they require a multidisciplinary view. In that way, modelling problems, workshops and leading become essential.

Nowadays, everything related to the sustainability and the environment causes a worry. Thus, engineering is constantly researching cleaner energy sources and manufacturing processes. Within these research fields, the materials science is clearly highlighted. This discipline is constantly investigating about recycling materials and formulating fully biodegradable materials. These new materials must represent an alternative to these ones that are less environmental respectful, being an example fuel-based materials.

This work presents a learning experience based on problems, which proposes to the Chemical and Mechanical Engineering students the possibility of replacing a high density polyethylene (HDPE) product by a fully biodegradable material, specifically thermoplastic starch reinforced by bagasse fibres.

From an original design manufactured by HDPE, the students must model a product through computer aided design (CAD) software. Once the product had been designed, they have to analyze its use in order to establish the loads and restrictions that the product will be submitted during its lifecycle. The professors will supply the necessary tools to the students in order to log in to the essay and approval standards, and if necessary, to correct the usage parameters.

Through 3D modelling, the original material and the edge conditions, the students will perform a finite element analysis (CAE), in order to know the solicitations and deformations submitted to the material.

In parallel, the composites will be formulated. These composites will be essayed and fully characterized from a mechanical point of view.
Once the characteristic curves of each composite had been obtained, the students will proceed to the CAE analysis and their aptitudes will be appraised in order to know if they can substitute the original material.

This project has allowed combining knowledge from both disciplines for solving a real problem. The students have shown a high satisfaction degree, highlighting the possibility of working with students from other disciplines.
Biodegradable composites, thermoplastic starch.