AE-DAC Description

AE-DAC Description - Aerospace Engineering Design Across...

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Aerospace Engineering – Design Across the Curriculum C. D. Hall, N. Hovakimyan, W. H. Mason, and M. Patil Project Description Undergraduate Aerospace Engineering (AE) curricula are continually evolving, frequently in response to perceived changes in the industry’s needs. However, most AE curricula continue to reflect the well-established paradigm of first establishing a foundation of engineering science skills, and only then introducing the professional skills required of practicing aerospace engineers. This finishing typically takes place in the senior year capstone design course, where students work in teams to design aerospace vehicles. This course covers many of the most important skills our graduates require, such as communications, multidisciplinary interactions, critical thinking, and teamwork. Many universities, including Virginia Tech, now incorporate many of these topics into the freshman year through a common first-year curriculum. However, the sophomore and junior years remain focused on the engineering science elements of the curriculum and most students are not involved in any project-oriented education during these two years. The goal of this program is to prepare a detailed plan to distribute the introduction of these project-oriented concepts throughout the curriculum by incorporating team design projects in every year of the undergraduate curriculum. The plan will include a specific assessment plan intended to determine the effectiveness of the implementation. The Current AE Curriculum At present the AE curriculum is a 136-credit four-year program including a common engineering freshman program administered by the Department of Engineering Education. Students declare their AE major in the Spring semester of the freshman year, and begin the AE curriculum in the Fall semester of the sophomore year. The specific courses in the curriculum are shown in Fig. 1, excluding the elective courses. In the figure, each vertical column denotes one semester, beginning with Fall semester of the sophomore year. The horizontal groupings are organized as follows: the top group includes general courses, culminating in the senior capstone design course; the second group includes all the engineering science courses in the fluids area; the third group includes the courses in the structures area; and the fourth group includes the courses in the dynamics and control area. This figure illustrates the courses taken by AE students intending to complete an aircraft capstone design project; a slightly different track is followed by students intending to complete a spacecraft capstone design project. Reference describes the aircraft design program in detail, and Ref. describes the spacecraft design program. During the freshman year, students complete at least one significant team project each
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AE-DAC Description - Aerospace Engineering Design Across...

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