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Computer aided design for introducing high school students to engineering

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1 Author(s)
Cottrell, D.S. ; Pennsylvania State Univ., Harrisburg, PA, USA

This paper describes the use of design software for outreach to high school students via participation in a computer-aided bridge design competition to stimulate interest in engineering and design, to provide an opportunity to perform a legitimate structural design based on realistic design specifications and constraints, and to demonstrate the utility of computers as problem-solving tools. A deliberate, outreach methodology guided users through the design for a truss-type bridge. The truss must span a specified length, conform to height restrictions and minimum water clearance, and carry its own weight plus a standard AASHTO truck loading. Within these bounds, the user can freely define the shape and configuration while minimizing cost. This paper presents the results of over 70 successful designs, demonstrating the iterative nature of the design, the wide range of creative solutions developed by participants, and the changing student perceptions of engineering as a future field of study.

Published in:

Frontiers in Education, 2002. FIE 2002. 32nd Annual  (Volume:1 )

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