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Mechanics of Materials and Fracture for High School Students

Avellar, Louisa and Mac Donald, Kimberley Ann (2018) Mechanics of Materials and Fracture for High School Students. In: Fracture, Fatigue, Failure and Damage Evolution. Conference Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Mechanics Series. Vol.6. Springer , Cham, pp. 111-114. ISBN 978-3-319-95878-1.

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We developed a nine session after-school curriculum to introduce high school students to fracture mechanics through interactive and hands-on experimental exploration of mechanics of materials and structures. Each session begins with a discussion of the week’s core concept in the context of a real world example of its application or importance. The remaining time is devoted to small group hands-on activities that reinforce and further explore the concept. The program revolves around the use of a custom designed portable load frame to perform material testing of 3D printed materials and structures. Students are introduced to the load frame during the second session where they determine material properties using a cantilever beam experiment. In the following sessions students focus on individual concepts in the experiment such as the source of the cantilever beam equation or dimensional analysis to determine the units of their results. The final three sessions involve bringing together all the concepts from the previous sessions to try to design the stiffest beam within a constrained cross-sectional area. Students go through the engineering design process from defining the problem to designing and testing prototypes to choosing a final design, 3D printing it, and testing it. Throughout the tests, they collect load and displacement data to calculate the achieved beam stiffness. Additionally, all beams are tested to failure to observe fracture mechanisms and ultimate strength. The primary goals for this program are to reinforce students’ prior knowledge from their science classes, demonstrate potential applications of additive manufacturing, and inspire interest in mechanics of materials.

Item Type:Book Section
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URLURL TypeDescription ReadCube access
Mac Donald, Kimberley Ann0000-0003-4512-9740
Additional Information:© 2019 The Society for Experimental Mechanics, Inc. First Online: 19 September 2018. The authors wish to thank Neal Brodnik for his role in implementing this program, Mitch Aiken of the Caltech Center for Teaching Learning and Outreach (CTLO) for his support and assistance in arranging for this program to be taught at a local high school, and the teachers who allowed us to use their classrooms and promoted this program. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Grant No. DGE-1144469 and Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer our Future (DMREF) Award No. DMS-1535083. Parts were fabricated at the Caltech Library TechLab 3D Printing Facility, which was created and is sustained by funding from both the Caltech Moore-Hufstedler Fund and the Caltech Library.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NSF Graduate Research FellowshipDGE-1144469
Caltech Moore-Hufstedler FundUNSPECIFIED
Caltech LibraryUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Education; Outreach; Mechanics of materials; Fracture mechanics; 3D printing
Series Name:Conference Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Mechanics Series
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200827-134307741
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:105128
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:27 Aug 2020 21:14
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 18:39

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