MSE466 is a senior level course for Materials Science & Engineering majors providing students with a team-based capstone design experience. A major aspect of this course is to have students apply their course-learned background knowledge and skills in materials science and other disciplines to real-life design problems. A failure analysis investigation (FAI) fits this context. Failures are a major motivating factor for promoting more innovative designs or design changes. A failure analysis investigation provides a unique platform to design and to solve real-world engineering problems via a systematic engineering approach. By focusing on a specific design failure, the student teams learn how to confront an open-ended problem that requires them to develop a strategic design plan and to execute the methodology for assessing how and why the failure occurred. The analysis is conducted using established investigative procedures and constraints for conducting failure analysis investigation. This semester, there are seven 3-member teams working on seven real engineering failures.
Successfully completed team projects culminate in a comprehensive written final report and a strategic redesign plan to improve the design and mitigate future failures. For Design Day the teams present their findings in half-hour presentations.