On the Use of a Windshield Wiper Mechanism Simulation Project to Enhance Student Understanding of Design Topics

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition Conference Proceedings

Conference Name

ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition


This paper presents the development of a simulation project that can be used to enhance undergraduate teaching and student understanding of mechanical engineering design subjects. The software package utilized is SIEMENS PLM SOFTWARE® - NX and it has been introduced to our students during their freshman year (Engineering Graphics) followed by a junior level course (CAE), in which the advanced features such as parametric design and simulation capabilities are used. The authors aim to utilize a CAE package which is able to integrate 'Component Modeling', 'Assembly', 'Motion Simulation', and 'FEA' modules seamlessly into introductory mechanical engineering courses, such as Mechanics of Solids and Dynamics in which kinematics and dynamics of rigid bodies are discussed. The goal is to use the simulation capabilities of the software to enhance the teaching environment and student learning outcomes of these courses. For instance, this example project shows how students benefit from the simulation by understanding the kinematic and dynamic behavior of the mechanism, and also verifying the stress analysis of critical members via simple hand calculations. A preliminary assessment to the approach was conducted via a web-based survey. The survey contained several questions aiming to gauge students' overall opinion of the use of the software packages in the courses. The overall results are very positive and warrant further exploration and use of the approach.


ISSN: 2153-5965

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© 2012 American Society for Engineering Education