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Work in progress - applied process control systems design: hands-on laboratory experiences for multiple disciplines and academic levels

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1 Author(s)
Mountain, J.R. ; Dept. of Mech. Eng., Texas Univ., Tyler, TX, USA

Hands-on, design oriented experiences have been shown to increase the retention of undergraduate engineering students. Creatively engaging students throughout their engineering curriculum, and providing increased exposure to hands-on content with realistic connections to future careers is one method that may be used to increase graduation rates. While each discipline may find focused, relevant topics, relatively few demonstrate multidisciplinary appeal. Fewer still supply the variable levels of difficulty needed for cross curriculum integration. At the University of Texas at Tyler, under a grant from the National Science Foundation, process control systems design is being used to provide a common theme, hands-on experience at each academic level. Although applied to a mechanical engineering program, process controls is applicable to a variety of engineering disciplines including agricultural, chemical, electrical and petroleum engineering. This paper briefly describes the process control breadboard system, the proof of concept basis for the hands-on design activities. Integrated into the design process is computer-aided solid modeling for system visualization and a Web-based "product catalog" to assist with component selection. The curriculum integration plan and an outline for the future direction of the three-year project are presented.

Published in:

Frontiers in Education, 2004. FIE 2004. 34th Annual

Date of Conference:

20-23 Oct. 2004