SE 105 Structural Materials

Description of Course

This course focuses on the structural properties of engineering materials, such as cement and concrete, woods, aluminum alloys, steel, engineering plastics, and composite materials. Students gain a deeper understanding of stress, strain, stiffness, toughness, fatigue resistance, and creep.

SE 105 offers a hands-on lab experience to immerse students in the creation and testing of a variety of structural materials. They learn the important of material selection and making the best structural design choices to meet functional design criteria and cost requirements of projects. The course culminates in a Term Project where teams of students use their engineering knowledge of materials and measurement techniques to design and manufacture a project that meets set criteria and the best performance under testing.

SE 105 utilizes the tools and work-spaces within the Jacobs School of Engineering Envision Maker Studio.

Featured Hands-On Lab Experiences

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Producing & Testing Concrete Cylinders

Students experience first hand the components of concrete and the techniques of mixing and producing cylinders for testing. The objective of this lab exercise is to compare the characteristics of cement mortar based on type of cement and the relative ratio of water and solids to strength. Additionally, specimens will be tested at three and four week intervals to compare the growth of compressive strength over time as the concrete cures.

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Determining Material Properties with Tensile Testing

Students research material properties on a variety of given materials in order to accurately predict the ultimate tensile strengths and observe the material under tension loading to witness key visual behavior, such as yielding and necking. After collecting load and displacement data, students create stress and strain plots, in addition to calculating important engineering material properties.

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Composite Layup and Design

This design competition challenges students to create the lightest and strongest fiberglass hollow part that will undergo a compression test on the top plate. Students determine which directions to orient the composite fibers to obtain maximum capacity, in addition to experimenting with the quantity of layers and resin to create the best performing end product.

This is a new lab adapted from the SE 142 course and due to the Spring 2020 pandemic, it will be introduced to the class in Spring 2021.

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Finite Elemental Analysis Software Introduction

Students learn the basics of inputting material properties into design and analysis software for structural finite element analysis (FEA) through means of a virtual part design competition.

This course introduces FEA by using the Solidworks Simulation package. In later courses, students will learn FEA modeling and calculations in more depth using Abaqus.

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Using Electronics to Create a Deflectometer

A key aspect of structural testing is often using strain gauges to understand the microscopic behavior of a structure or material. In this lab, students learn the basics of a Wheatstone Bridge and how to convert strain to deflection by using a half-bridge deflectometer. Teams of students meticulously glue strain gauges to beams of various materials, solder the wires in the proper order, and connect the deflectometer to a data acquisition machine for testing.

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Term Project: Structural Design & Load Path

The course culminates in a Term Project competition where teams of students use their education with structural materials, load path, force transfer, and other engineering fundamentals to design a project with the best structural performance. The Term Project may change each year, but ultimately focuses on the same engineering principles. Projects include a bridge under 3-point bend tests, a modified Coke Can under compression tests, and parcel protecting valuable contents under a drop test.