In proceedings 2007 ASEE IL/IN Regional Conf., Indianapolis (Mar 07). Also a poster presentation at 2007 ASEE Annual Conf., Emerging Trends, Honolulu (Jun 07).
Meteoritics and materials in an ME lab course
B. Hathaway, C. Edds, A. Bernal, N. Miller, H. McLean, R.A. Layton, D.S. Fisher and P.D. Ferro.

One of the objectives of the ME Senior Lab Course at Rose-Hulman (ME421) is to have students experience a test and refine cycle. During the first half of the ten-week quarter, ME421 students select an experimental project, perform an experimental procedure to obtain data, and present results to the team of instructors. The latter half of the course is spent performing refined experimental work based on instructor feedback.

One of the selected projects during the most recent offering of the course was based on the study of meteorites. A student team embarked on a project of experimentally heat treating meteorite samples, and correlating the grain growth results to similarly heat treated steel specimens. The theory that the students sought to demonstrate was based on a determination of the activation energy for grain growth in meteorites.

Using meteorites in a Mechanical Engineering curriculum is shown to be a cross-disciplinary experience. During the course of the quarter, students interacted with faculty from the Physics, Chemistry and Materials disciplines, as well as within their home Mechanical Engineering Department. Challenges involved determining which heat treatment time and temperature regime give measurable grain growth, and determining suitable polishing and etching procedures for the samples. Recommendations for future course offerings are given.

©2007 ASEE.

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Richard A. Layton
Last modified: 19 June 2007