“Materials that think” is a first-year engineering experience in which students create multi-functional materials by embedding polymers with sensing, actuation, and networked computation. All polymers are “off-the-shelf” materials from places like Sparkfun, JoAnn’s or McGuckin’s, focussing the class on engineering design principles that are valid across disciplines. After this class you will have a basic understanding of electronics, programming (via Arduino), design tools (Onshape), manufacturing (laser cutter, 3D printer), as well as the engineering design process.
The class consists of a lecture and two lab sessions per week. The lab sessions consist of hands-on instructions on electronics and manufacturing techniques as well as a series of team projects:
- Scavenger Hunt: Track down equipment, materials and other resources available at CU. Each team needs to track down a (overlapping) set of resources, and present their findings to the other teams.
- Duration: 1 week
- Deliverable: 12min presentation
- Material properties worksheet: What is the function of a selected “smart polymer”/sensor/actuator (see below) and what are its main properties? Create a datasheet the rest of the class can use by collecting information from the internet and your own experimentation.
- Duration: 2 weeks
- Deliverable: datasheet (public Google docs)
|Shrinky Dink (2014)||Thermochromic tiles (2014)|
- Reverse engineering project: How does stuff work? Disassemble, analyze, re-build and promote an object of your choice, preferably something that contains interesting smart polymers or parts that will make your material multi-functional. All videos will be combined into a “crowd-sourced” mini-documentary.
- Duration: 2 weeks
- Deliverable: 1min video per group
|How does a blood pressure monitoring device work?|
- Final project: Identify an everyday surface or material that can be made multi-functional by combining a smart polymer with sensing, actuation, and computation.
- Duration: 10 weeks
- Deliverable: Poster, 5min video, and live-demo at the Engineering Design Expo
|S14: Thermocase – a cellphone case that changes color||S14: Motus – a sole with built-in navigation||S14: Flappy board – a skateboard that can be rolled up and jammed||S14: Veni Vici – wireless transmissions using the Seebeck effect|
|S15: Snow stake – visualizing snow height||S15: Jacket that regulates its temperature via smart fabric||S15: Shoe that tightens itself up to a desired force|
|S15: Light-regulating facade||S15: A box that keeps its temperature||S15: A phone case that prevents your battery from dying in the cold|
|S17: A smart bike lock that requires power only when breached||S17: Smart glass that can block out the sun||S17: Fabric-integrated heart-rate monitoring|
|S17: Smart body armor||S17: Smart wood veneer|
We are meeting three times a week: Monday 3-3.50 (lecture), Wednesday and Friday 2-4 (lab) in ITTL.
Teaching Assistants/Office hours
Venus Gonder, office hours Tuesday 9:30-10:30 and 1:00-3:00, Thursday 9:30- 10:30 in the 3D printer lounge.
Course materials and Lecture Notes
- Course schedule
- Scavenger hunt
- Lecture 1: Introduction
- Lecture 2: Mystery Artifact
- Lecture 3: Data presentation
- Lecture 4: Reengineering Project
- Lecture 5: Project Proposal
- Lecture 6: Engineering Ethics
We are using the book “Introductory Engineering Design – a project-based approach” which is available online as well as from the ITLL main office.
- Scavenger hunt: 5%
- Materials worksheet: 15%
- Reengineering project: 15%
- Class participation: 15%
- Final project: 50%
|Silicone rubber||Spring 2014||http://www.reynoldsam.com/|
|Shape memory polymer||Spring 2014||Joanne’s|
|Nichrome wires||Heat||Current|| http://www.jacobs-online.com
|Light emitting diode||Light||Current||http://www.digikey.com|
|PDLC foil||Transparent/Opaque||Electric field|
The instructables allow showcase a series of skills that might come in very handy when you create your own smart material, as well as developing your own processes that rely on similar effects.
- Learn about thermo-forming plastics: How to oven form Acrylic
- Learn how to use conductive ink to create circuits: 3D print a solderless circuit board
- Learn about casting and molding: 7 Things To Do with Oogoo
- Pneumatic actuators: Soft Robots: Making Robot Air Muscles and Air-powered soft robotic gripper
- Use conductive thread as a pressure (RSkin – Open Source Robotic Skin or Conductive Thread Pressure Sensor) or bend (Fabric Bend Sensor) sensor