Model engineering of ancient and historical machines as a training tool for mechanical engineering students

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Model engineering has played an important role in the development of several technological breakthroughs. Some examples include James Watt's work on the broken Newcomen engine model at Glasgow University, which introduced him into steam engines. Richard Trevithick developed several scale models in order to demonstrate the way of functioning of his early road steam locomotives. Recent advances in computer aided design (CAD) and computer modelling have provided resources for a more virtual oriented education to mechanical engineering students, which may have resulted in a reduction in the actual time dedicated to the construction of real pieces of machinery or equipment. The choice of the type of machines to be modelled also represents a challenge for a curious student, especially if we try to recreate devices engineered by the ancient Greeks, Romans, by Leonardo da Vinci, or the more recent steam and hot air engines. The list of potential devices to be modelled is almost endless. In this paper, we report on a contest for the construction of functional models from the ancient Greeks. We also report on the development of steam and hot air (Stirling) models. The difficulties found by the students during the projects are discussed in terms of the course level of the students and their specific backgrounds and interests. The construction of operating scale models also represents a good option for university departments with limited budgets, since the amount of materials and production time required is considerably less than what is required for full scale machines. Some suggestions for the implementation of this kind of workshops and contests are also given.

Idioma originalInglés
Páginas (desde-hasta)591-596
Número de páginas6
PublicaciónInternational Journal of Engineering Education
N.º3 PART 1
EstadoPublicada - 2011


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