Physics and Engineering

Unit 1 Modeling and the Engineering Process

Unit 1

During this introductory unit, students will begin to apply the Engineering Design Process and principles of physics to a variety of modeling activities. Students will explore these concepts through laboratory activities as well as computer simulations as they learn the MatLab software program.  This program is widely-used at the college level to allow students to create and test models through online simulations. Students can simulate tests, gather data and use this data to revise their models, develop a deeper understanding of the principles of physics and learn the underlying patterns and relationships that govern the study of physics.   Specifically, students will apply their experience to predict the rate of fall of a set of "non-ideal" objects, simulating the work done by NASA and SpaceX when designing spacecraft. 

Profile of a Graduate Capacities: Analyzing, Product Creation


Unit 2 Interfacing hardware and software

Unit 2

During this unit, students will develop tools and techniques for bringing data generated in the real (analog) world into the computer (digital world). Real world data analysis often struggles to get high fidelity data into the computer; sampling rates can limit the precision of data and introduce inherent errors. Data can be read into analysis software either in real time, or subsequent reading of data that a data acquisition system stores in a file or on board in memory. Students will develop techniques and algorithms to interface their modeling system to standard data acquisition systems. Ultimately, students will apply their knowledge to solving a real-world problem involving data acquisition and analysis.  

Profile of a Graduate Capacities: Analyzing, Product Creation


Unit 3 Asteroid Warning!

Unit 3

Students will apply their knowledge of the universal law of gravitation to analyze the threat of near earth objects to our planet and/or our moon. Students will apply knowledge of computer modeling to model the behavior of a moving object to predict its future position given the presence of multiple external forces. This unit allows students to communicate complex models and complex data into a simple graph or pictorial representation for a wider audience. Students will research the challenge of detecting near earth objects (NEO) and build a system to predict if an object (comet, asteroid, etc.) will crash into the earth.  

Profile of a Graduate Capacities: Analyzing, Product Creation


Unit 4 Rockets

Unit 4

Students will build a mathematical model of the flight of a rocket based on theory. Students will build different rocket designs and test their flight characteristics. Using real time data monitoring and acquisition, students will analyze flight data taken from rocket launches in a computer model that they build. This model will be used to make design modifications and ultimately improve the flight of their model. Students will program models in the MATLAB computer system, and present their findings to the class. A strong focus is placed on modeling non-ideal conditions, in an effort to move from the theoretical world of the text book to the real world that engineers deal whit on a daily basis. 

Profile of a Graduate Capacities: Analyzing, Product Creation