1) Determining a point where all forces act 2) Drawing a free-body diagram showing all of the forces acting at this point 3) Calculating position vectors for all forces where 4) Calculating unit vectors where 5) Writing applied and constraining force vectors in terms of their unit vectors and magnitudes 6) Applying equations of equilibrium 7) Calculating unknown forces W hile statics is the study of stationary objects, this class gets students moving on their path to thinking like engineers! Most students begin my course at WPI excited to start their core engineering curriculum, but many have little to no idea about the ways in which statics will help them become engineers. They are often unsure how the course will be different from introductory physics, or why they are spending a whole course learning about things that don’t even move. However, statics is so much more than learning the fundamentals of defining forces as vectors and applying equations of equilibrium. It’s the course where students start seeing the world through the lens of mechanical engineers. Introductory engineering courses typically include iterative design approaches and decision-making tools. Design skills are often taught isolated from rigorous technical skills, causing students to think of the skills as separate entities. When design is integrated into technical courses, students learn that their technical decisions significantly influence the larger design. Consequently, I have integrated entrepreneurially minded learning (EML) into my course to give students the opportunity to balance engineering requirements with social and financial impacts when developing infrastructure in a community. As an example, 3D particle equilibrium is one of the first techniques that I teach. In its most theoretical form, 3D particle equilibrium applies several known force vectors at a single point in space. An analysis of a problem involves the following steps shown in Figure 1. Flying Forces: Adding Lift to Statics BY SARAH WODIN-SCHWARTZ ASSISTANT TEACHING PROFESSOR WORCESTER POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE FIGURE 1 46

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