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Summer SAVY, Session 1 Day 3, Industrial Engineering (3rd – 4th)

Posted by on Wednesday, June 12, 2024 in blog, SAVY.

Industrial Engineers and their Families,
Today, like every day, we started our day in Morning Meeting. To conclude our meeting, we watched a video about Lillian Gilbreth, who is a Purdue alumna known as the Mother of Engineering. She pioneered the entire field of industrial engineering as one of the first women in engineering and one of the first people to transfer the Engineering Design Process to systems. You might ask your engineer about some of her accomplishments (or how many children she had!).
Next, we explored several physics concepts and identified the connections between this discipline and industrial engineering. We added the word “ergonomics” to our vocabulary, agreeing that if an industrial engineer’s goal is to make a machine ergonomic, calculating loads, force, and work can help them determine how ergonomic a machine really is. We learned that force is measured by Newtons and can be read on a spring scale. We practiced converting weight to Newtons using the unit conversion 1 lb = 4.45 N. We compared this conversion to more familiar ones like 1 ft = 12 in or 1 hr = 60 min. Finally, we learned that work is measured in joules (j) and calculated with the formula: Work (j) = Force (N) x Distance (in). After some practice problems, students greatly grew in their ability to convert to force and calculate work; however, if your engineer is up for it, this would be an excellent area of support to continue practicing at home! Consider solving these problems with your student:
  • If an object weighs 10 pounds on Earth, what is its weight in Newtons?
  • A box has a mass of 5 pounds. What is the weight of the box in Newtons on Earth’s surface?
  • If a person’s weight is 150 pounds, what is their weight in Newtons?
  • If a force of 20 Newtons is applied to move an object a distance of 5 meters, what is the work done?
  • A person exerts a force of 50 Newtons to push a crate along the ground for a distance of 10 meters. How much work is done in moving the crate?
  • A car engine exerts a force of 5000 Newtons to move the car forward at a distance of 100 meters. What is the work done by the engine?
Finally, we assessed the ergonomics of simple machines with our new math skills. Our goal was to use simple machines to move blocks of wood at least 6 inches. We employed levers, pulleys, inclined planes, and wheels and axles. Students practiced measuring force in Newtons by reading the spring scale and calculated work in joules based on the force and distance moved to compare their ergonomics. We determined the double pulley was the most efficient simple machine for moving the load; it only took about 3 N of force and 33 J of work!
We’ll start putting all of this amazing learning about ergonomics, optimization, leadership, and the Engineering Design Process together tomorrow when students are divided into engineering firms to create a business plan and design a model of a potato chip factory subsystem that safely lifts a 5 lb sack of potatoes.
Tonight, you could ask your engineer:
  • Review: Who are some eminent industrial engineers? Why do we need industrial engineers? What kinds of things do they do? *May require a little at-home research.
  • Think like an Industrial Engineer: Some of the machines today required problem-solving to use (Ex: Wheel and Axel). How could we improve these machines? What materials could you change?
  • Design: Think forward to the factory subsystem you will be designing. Based on your experiment today, how might you incorporate each simple machine? How will you know which machine is the most effective?
See you tomorrow for another great day of learning!
Ms. Whiting