Piezoelectric actuators (or piezoactuators) are known for their nanoresolution and high-speed positioning capabilities. Therefore, they are used in scanning probe microscopes and in the design of innovative surgical tools and biomedical devices. The expected growth of engineering jobs in the nano- and bio-related fields, in which piezoactuators will play a significant role, motivated the development of a suite of teaching modules (lecture and laboratory materials) for the undergraduate mechanical engineering (ME) curriculum that focus on modeling and precision control of piezoactuators. Four laboratory exercises were designed to provide students with hands-on experience in data acquisition, sensors, and controller implementation. The developed modules were implemented in three undergraduate courses. The hypothesis being tested is that students who interact with these modules will gain a better understanding of piezoactuators and their application in nanotechnology and biotechnology. Through linked pre- to post-module comparisons, it is shown that students did, in fact, experience a positive change in their knowledge and understanding of the material.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering
- Dynamics and control