Course Syllabus for "ME302: Mechatronics"
Most mechanical engineering systems today involve significant amounts of electrical and electronic control systems. Effectively, most modern mechanical engineering systems are mechatronic systems. Mechatronics is the discipline that results from the synergetic application of electrical, electronic, computer, and control engineering in mechanical engineering systems. Thus, it is essential for the mechanical engineer to have a strong understanding of the composition and design of mechatronic systems, which is the goal of this course. Mechatronic systems are around us everywhere. A car contains many mechatronic systems, such as anti-lock braking systems, traction control, the engine control unit and cruise control, to name a few. A satellite dish position control unit is another example of a mechatronic system. Modern industrial automated processes would not be possible without the discipline of mechatronics, covering areas such as vehicle manufacturing, pharmaceutical industries, and food processing plants. Robotic systems are interesting and complex examples of mechatronic systems that contain many sensors and actuators and that require very fast and sophisticated controllers. For you, as a mechanical engineering student, this course will represent a gateway into the world of electrical, electronic, and control engineering. It is one of the few courses in the mechanical engineering major that heavily relies on electrical, electronic, and computer engineering. Being a multidisciplinary/interdisciplinary course, your study of mechatronics integrates and builds on a number of different courses that you have already studied, such as mechanics, electromagnetism, measurements, and introduction to mechanical engineering (the design project).
Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Define the discipline of mechatronics.
- Identify examples of mechatronic systems that are encountered in real life.
- Identify the components of a typical mechatronic system.
- Analyze and solve problems in simple electrical and electronic circuits.
- Discuss the importance of feedback in controlling physical systems with the use of examples.
- Identify and describe the different types of actuators used in mechatronic systems.
- Identify and describe the different types of speed- and position-feedback devices.
- Explain the principle of operation of the four types of motors: ac induction motor, the dc motor, the servomotor, and the stepper motor.
- Size the motor for an application.
- Select the suitable type of motor for an application.
- Identify the signal processing that has to be applied to signals in mechatronic systems.
- Identify and describe the types of controllers used in mechatronic systems.
- Select the suitable type of controller for an application.
- Explain the steps in designing a mechatronic system, and design a mechatronic system by following these steps.
In order to take this course, you must:
√ have access to a computer;
√ have continuous broadband Internet access;
√ have the ability/permission to install plug-ins or software (e.g., Adobe Reader or Flash);
√ have the ability to download and save files and documents to a computer;
√ have the ability to open Microsoft files and documents (.doc, .ppt, .xls, etc.);
√ have competency in the English language;
√ have read the Saylor Student Handbook; and
Welcome to ME302. General information about this course and its requirements can be found below.
Course Designer: Dr. Lutfi Al-Sharif
Primary Resources: This course comprises a range of different free, online materials. However, the course makes primary use of the following materials:
- Rensselear Polytechnic Institute and Marquette University: Kevin Craig’s Multidisciplinary Mechatronic Innovations (This resource contains many articles and videos about the discipline of mechatronics.)
- Colorado State University’s “Video Demonstrations of Mechatronic Devices and Principles”, “Video Demonstrations of Robotics”, and “Video Demonstrations from Introduction to Mechatronics and Measurement Systems” (These webpages contain numerous videos that illustrate mechatronic components and mechatronic systems.)
- All about Circuits: Tony R. Kuphaldt’s Volume I, DC; Volume III, Semiconductors; and Volume IV, Digital (These resources contain material explaining the basics of electrical and electronics circuits and components.)
Requirements for Completion: In order to complete this course, you will need to work through each unit and all of its assigned materials. Pay special attention to Unit 1 as this serves as an introduction to lay the groundwork for understanding the more advanced, exploratory material presented in the latter units. You will also need to complete:
- Subunit 1.2 Activity
- The Final Exam
Note that you will only receive an official grade on your final exam.
However, in order to adequately prepare for this exam, you will need to
work through all of the resources in each unit as well as the activity
In order to pass this course, you will need to earn a 70% or higher on the final exam. Your score on the exam will be tabulated as soon as you complete it. If you do not pass the exam, you may take it again.
Time Commitment: This course should take you a total of 109.5 hours to complete. Each unit includes a time advisory that lists the amount of time you are expected to spend on each subunit. These should help you plan your time accordingly. It may be useful to take a look at these time advisories and to determine how much time you have over the next few weeks to complete each unit, and then to set goals for yourself. For example, Unit 1 should take you 10.5 hours. Perhaps you can sit down with your calendar and decide to complete subunit 1.1 (a total of 6 hours) on Monday and Tuesday nights; subunits 1.2 through 1.4 (a total of 4.5 hours) on Tuesday night; etc.
Tips/Suggestions: Take comprehensive notes as you work through each resource, writing down any examples of concepts, definitions, etc. These notes will serve as a useful review as you study and prepare for the final exam.