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Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering

Mechanical Engineering

Freshman Clinic

In the first semester of the freshmen year, students learn basic engineering skills (problem solving, teamwork fundamentals, engineering measurements) and are introduced to the variety of activities in each of the four disciplines at Rowan (Chemical, Civil and Environmental, Electrical and Computer, and Mechanical Engineering). This is followed in the second semester by intense study of engineering design through reverse engineering ("dissection") and competitive assessment (instrumentation, testing and side-by-side comparison of technical performance) of a consumer product. In this manner, students are introduced to design by studying the (good and bad) designs of other engineers. Past products examined have included hair dryers, water filters, electric toothbrushes, beer brewing processes and remote-control cars. "Soft" topics included in this semester are engineering ethics and intellectual property, both of which complement the course themes of reverse engineering/competitive assessment. Freshman Clinic received cost-shared funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to build five "competitive assessment stations" - customized workstations with a PC, data acquisition, temperature, pressure and flow transducers, function generators, and oscilloscope - for this activity.