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At small scales, mechanics enters a new regime where the role of surfaces, interfaces, defects, material property variations, and quantum effects play more dominant roles. A new course in nanoscale mechanics for engineering students was recently taught at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. This course provided an introduction to nanoscale engineering with a direct focus on the critical role that mechanics needs to play in this developing area. The limits of continuum mechanics were presented as well as newly developed mechanics theories and experiments tailored to study and describe micro- and nano-scale phenomena. Numerous demonstrations and experiments were used throughout the course, including synthesis and fabrication techniques for creating nanostructured materials, bubble raft models to demonstrate size scale effects in thin film structures, and a laboratory project to construct a nanofilter device. A primary focus of this paper is the laboratory content of this course, which includes an integrated series of laboratory modules utilizing atomic force microscopy, self-assembled monolayer deposition, and microfluidic technology.
Date Posted: 11 July 2007
This document has been peer reviewed.