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Comparison of various media in teaching engineering principles : design of a D.C. motor torque/speed curve display mechanism

By Peter T. (Peter Taeyun) Lee


Thesis (S.M.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, 1998.Improving product development education depends on finding effective media with which to teach. In my thesis, I focused on a comparison between the physical intimacy with a mechanical system and a computer simulation of the same system - specifically DC motors and their torque/speed characteristics. I built a fully mechanical dynamometer that draws the torque/speed curve of a DC motor as a student grabs the motor shaft. I also designed an interactive dynamic computer simulation of the same device using a modeling and animation software package. The design of the mechanical mechanism was a task that required engineering analysis, industrial design, human factors, and a focus on the education of students. There were a number of design challenges in this device that led me to build a fairly sophisticated mechanical mechanism that draws a torque/speed curve while being simple enough to understand. The design approach and analysis method was heavily stressed in creating this model. The computer simulation was modeled directly from the mechanical model. In order to compare the teaching effectiveness of the models, I ran experiments with students comparing the mechanical device, the computer simulation, and a control, a written textbook explanation of DC motor torque/speed characteristics. From the experiments, I found that the mechanical model was most effective in teaching students, followed by the computer simulations, and finally the control test. Students felt that the hand-on aspect of the mechanical model was the most important feature that distinguished it from the others. The results from this thesis can help to guide how media might be used more effectively in Peter T. Lee.S.M

Topics: Mechanical Engineering
Publisher: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Year: 1998
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Provided by: DSpace@MIT

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