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Incorporating a LEGO® fourbar mechanism project in undergraduate dynamics

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4 Author(s)
W. O. Jolley ; Worcester Polytech. Inst., MA, USA ; J. J. Rencis ; E. C. Cobb ; R. R. Hagglund

This work seeks to integrate the theoretical development of a sophomore level course in engineering dynamics by incorporating a LEGO® fourbar mechanism project. The fourbar mechanism is constructed using the LEGO® TECHNIC Pneumatics Pack. Teams of two or three students learn how to model a physical dynamic system and apply the concepts introduced throughout the dynamics course to develop the kinematic and kinetic relationships for the linkage. The mathematical model is analyzed using a software package such as Mathcad®, TKSolver® or Matlab®. Once the mathematical model has been evaluated, students are asked to interpret and verify their results by working with the actual linkage. Using a hands-on project to teach dynamics allows students to build associations between analytical calculations, and what is being observed during the operation of the device. A LEGO® mechanism further develops an understanding of why assumptions are made, and when they are valid. This experience enables students to deal with problems that are more complex than classical textbook problems, thereby adding a new dimension to a traditional analytical course.

Published in:

Frontiers in Education, 2002. FIE 2002. 32nd Annual  (Volume:3 )

Date of Conference:

6-9 Nov. 2002