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Mechanics of Materials and the Engineering of Catapults

Course registration will be available for this course once it is scheduled.

Course Description

If you like the idea of applying physics concepts to hurtling objects through the air, then you're in for an exciting week. From forces to launch angle, kinematics to bending stress, and composites to prototyping, you'll get the chance to do some quality engineering backed up by college-level scientific concepts. Will you be part of the team to engineer the ultimate catapult of Summer 2015?

Engineering design consists of multiple interlocking parts, the most important of which is the synthesis of scientific concepts and opportunity for creation. This course aims to give students a hands-on opportunity to design, prototype, and build a catapult using fundamental interdisciplinary concepts taken from mechanical engineering, physics, and materials science and tools relevant to engineers, such as those in the Brown Design Workshop. By experiencing the engineering process from start to finish, students will receive a foundation in design that can be applied to further study and projects in engineering.

Students will begin the week with a quick engineering design using simple materials and will be introduced to the concepts of kinematics and Newton's laws of motion. Stress and strain, bending, and uniaxial testing will be discussed as materials science techniques for characterizing the mechanical properties of the different classes of materials and composites. Prototyping utilizing the Brown Design Workshop will allow for the construction of catapult frames to specified design criteria. The final day of class will involve a competition in different events related to predicted object launch distance, head-to-head competitions, and design quality.

By the end of the course, students will have introductory experience with fundamental concepts in mechanical engineering and materials science such as: Newton's laws, kinematics, stress-strain curves, mechanical testing techniques, and composite materials, and they will have hands-on design experience in the Brown Design Workshop. Most importantly, students will have designed catapults from initial prototype to final build via the engineering design process.

Prerequisites: None

*Please note: This course has a supplemental fee of $50