TEACHING METHODOLOGY BASED ON THE USE OF COMMERCIAL SOFTWARE
Universidad de Jaén (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN10 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Conference name: 2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-7 July, 2010
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:In recent days, the use of commercial software is a quite valuable tool when studying different engineering problems. Graphical design packages together with finite element codes are both powerful tools when teaching engineering subjects. These are quite helpful for students to understand the basic concepts and fundamentals explained during ordinary lectures, reinforcing their level of understanding. Moreover, they provide for the lecturer a valuable way of quantifying level of understanding achieved.
Engineering topics such as structural integrity, durability or fatigue behaviour of mechanical components are vital in the background of a mechanical engineer. Nevertheless, sometimes these problems are quite complex from the mathematical point of view, and consequently, students can lose the physical prospective and the importance of the problem itself. In this sense, the use of graphical tools for design and calculation are quite interesting when teaching engineering subjects.
Nowadays, there are multiple commercial software packages that can be used for teaching purposes. Some of them are quite common in the aerospace or the automotive industry, offering an easy and fast way of solving different engineering problems. Nevertheless, to obtain the maximum performance when using these software packages a deep knowledge and understanding are required.
In the present work an interactive teaching methodology based on the use of commercial software is presented. The result is a graphical interface, in which starting data can be parameterized making it possible the analysis of different possible solutions. The methodology is applied to the study of fatigue behaviour of mechanical components by building a virtual test rig in which the student can evaluate how the influence of different aspects, such as the material, the surface finished or the specimen shape, can affect the fatigue life. The main objective is to offer to the student a practical view of an engineering problem without skipping the basics and fundamentals of fatigue behaviour of materials. In addition, the use of commercial software (extensively employed in the industry) it makes it also possible to encourage students since they learn to solve a real engineering problem as it is often done in industry.
With the proposed methodology the student can reproduce fatigue tests in just a few seconds and as many times as desired. Moreover, the student also has the possibility of comparing the results with those obtained from a real fatigue test since the virtual test rig was developed based on a real fatigue machine (figure I).
The proposed methodology has been successfully employed. Results show that students prefer teaching methods as the one proposed in the current communication, although they require a slightly higher effort and time dedication.
Keywords: Fatigue life, teaching methodology, software, virtual test.