The materials and processing issues in mechanical engineering design has been explored through reverse engineering projects. Product dissection has become a popular way to teach engineering concepts and design principles related to engineered products. The material and process selection involved in consumer products chosen by students for dissection and analysis (reverse engineering) constitute the basis of this study. These reverse engineering projects have been used as the lab component of the sophomore engineering course “Introduction of the Mechanical Engineering Practice.” About 160 students in the class were broken down in groups of four and each group chose a specific product to be dissected and analyzed in detail. A number of lecture classes was devoted to material and manufacturing process selection in mechanical design where the Ashby charts were introduced. The students used the common design criterion of minimizing cost or weight. Depending on how the structural components in their products are loaded (namely tension, compression, bending or shear), they came up with the materials using the Ashby charts and rank them in terms of their performance. The students were made aware of the fact that a material and the process for making it must be chosen in concert. This paper summarizes the overall experience of the mechanical engineering sophomore students on material and process selection for a wide range of consumer products chosen by them.
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