Title page for ETD etd-03272001-193228

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Grove, Donald E
Author's Email Address dgrove@snet.net
URN etd-03272001-193228
Title The Vertical Integration of Mechatronics at Virginia Tech
Degree Master of Science
Department Mechanical Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Saunders, William R. Committee Chair
Reinholtz, Charles F. Committee Member
Robertshaw, Harry H. Committee Member
  • Mechatronics
  • Vertical Integration
Date of Defense 2001-02-13
Availability unrestricted
The focus of this thesis is on the vertical integration of mechatronics in the mechanical

engineering curriculum at Virginia Tech. It reports the details of an experimental

strategy to integrate mechatronics at an early level in the education of engineers. A

proposal was submitted to and accepted by the NSF/SUCCEED coalition to fund this

experiment. Through this assistance, the experiment of vertically integrating

mechatronics was initiated. The methodology in which it was integrated is presented --

through optional participation in a sophomore design class and a required design project

in a junior system dynamics course. The material developed for the vertical integration

of mechatronics is in the appendices. This material is appropriate for other institutions to

use to vertically integrate mechatronics into their curriculums, which is part of the

NSF/SUCCEED coalition’s initiative.

For the sophomore class, ME 2024, Introduction to Engineering Design and Economics,

selected sections were exposed to the concepts of mechatronic design, along with the

normal course material. Students in the mechatronic sections were given an opportunity

to incorporate the use of a custom-built VT Project Box and the PIC Visual Development

(PVD) software, both of which were created specifically for the task of vertical

integration of mechatronics. Throughout the semester, the students were given several

demonstrations of mechatronic systems through the use of the project box and software.

Many students decided to implement mechatronic concepts in their final design projects.

A smaller number of students made a decision to use the project box and software to

develop a prototype of their final design project. Candid remarks about the students

experiences, obtained from a survey at the semester’s end, indicated that the vertical

integration of mechatronics was a motivational feature in the second-year curriculum.

For the junior class, ME 3514, System Dynamics, all sections were exposed to the

concepts of mechatronics, along with the normal course material. The students were

required to acquire steady-state velocity data from a DC motor and create an analytical

model of the motor to predict the steady-state velocity for a given duty cycle of a pulse-width

modulated controller. After the collection of the data and the creation of the

analytical model, the students compared the results of simulations to the actual data

collected, and report the comparison to the instructor in a memorandum. The collection

of the steady-state velocity data was accomplished using the PVD software and the VT

Project Box. The essentials of mechatronics was communicated to the students in two

lectures, and the students gained hands-on experience with mechatronics through the use

of the project box and the software. The lecture material covered the basics of mechatronics, the Mechatronics course at Virginia Tech, and detailed information about

the design project. The assessment of the vertical integration of mechatronics into this

junior course was accomplished by surveying all of the students in the course. The

results of the survey indicated that the inclusion of mechatronics material increased the

students understanding of the course material and also increased their interest in


  Filename       Size       Approximate Download Time (Hours:Minutes:Seconds) 
 28.8 Modem   56K Modem   ISDN (64 Kb)   ISDN (128 Kb)   Higher-speed Access 
  Appendix_I.pdf 3.10 Mb 00:14:22 00:07:23 00:06:27 00:03:13 00:00:16
  Appendix_II.pdf 131.14 Kb 00:00:36 00:00:18 00:00:16 00:00:08 < 00:00:01
  Appendix_III.pdf 2.96 Mb 00:13:41 00:07:02 00:06:09 00:03:04 00:00:15
  Thesis.pdf 1.22 Mb 00:05:38 00:02:54 00:02:32 00:01:16 00:00:06

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