This capstone project is a study of the ability to predict the elastic curve of a cantilever beam with a point load applied at the free end using the Bernoulli-Euler beam theory together with strain measurements from a Fiber Bragg Grating (FBG). As our metric, we use the Bernoulli-Euler beam theory to calculate the change in the peak wavelength reflected by our FBG per change in strain of the FBG and compare this to the FBG strain coefficient given by the Butter-Hocker model.
Simulations and other virtual teaching aids are relatively new to the classroom, and have had limited research on their effectiveness. This study was conducted as part of my student teaching experience and compared the educational effects of a class period using computer simulations compared to a one using traditional lab experiments. The students were given four multiple-choice questions before doing the lab, after the class period, and at the end of the unit. The data collected from student scores shows that while the students did learn from the lab, there was not a significant difference between the lab styles. However, the data comparing the two lab styles over time was barely below being significant. Further research could involve more periodic tests and tests some time after the unit was over to better measure the long-term retention rate between the lab styles.