RVCC Authentic Engineering Experience

Uniaxial Tensile Tester: A Real Product for a Real Customer
Authors: William Cullen, Alex Christian, Kyle LaPolice, Peter R Stupak

Poster number: 96

A team of three college engineering students participated in an innovative project-based learning course in which they were tasked to design, create, troubleshoot, and deliverer a uniaxial tensile testing machine to a real customer.  The “Customer”, the VP of Finance for the college, requested the machine as part of the capital equipment needed for a new Materials-Testing Laboratory.  The objective of the course was to expose students to industry methods and tools early in their academic programs.

The project began with introducing the team to the customer and hearing of the tensile testing machine requirements for the first time.  Following the meeting, the team conducted a brainstorming session to develop a list of possible technologies for consideration in the design process.  Realizing that they did not understand many of these technologies, the team divided the list and conducted independent research that was presented to the team at the next meeting.

Having decided on the technologies to use, the team divided the work into three parallel tracks: the machine’s frame, ball-screw mechanism, controller, software for testing material, load-cell for measuring tension/compression, and grips for holding the tested material.  Basic project-management methods were used to define project task responsibility and coordinate parts purchases.  Team leadership was rotated weekly so each team member experienced being leader multiple times throughout the project.

Encountering real and significant hands-on engineering challenges, including technical issues such as integrating the ball-screw controller and load-cell with the control software, and with practical project management issues, such as part delivery time, the team members experienced problems typical of real industry conditions.

The final result was a fully functioning tensile testing machine at a cost of under $6000, now located in the Materials Testing Lab for use by fellow students.

(Copied from engineering.buffalo.edu)

Additional publication raritanval.edu