Distance learning has become a prevalent method of delivering education to all types of student demographics. Here we present an online materials-related activity, which can be implemented into any course (traditional or online) related to chemical, mechanical, or biomedical engineering. Students use a Matlab graphical user interface (GUI) to predict the stress relaxation behavior of crosslinked biomaterials with three viscoelastic models, the Maxwell, Kelvin–Voigt, and standard linear. By analyzing provided experimental data, students evaluate the impact of crosslinking on the stress-relaxation behavior and learn the underlying molecular mechanisms that cause this behavior. Furthermore, students learn the accuracy of each model prediction by comparison to the experiment data. Overall, the activity highlights the importance of structure-property relationships in the technological advancement of biomedical materials. Our evaluation indicates that the laboratory was effectively conducted online, as it contributed to outcomes set forth for undergraduate chemical engineering students by Rowan University and ABET.
Sclarsky, E., Kadlowec, J., & Vernengo, A. J. (2016). Modeling stress relaxation of crosslinked polymer networks for biomaterials applications: A distance learning module. Education for Chemical Engineers, 17, 14–20. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ece.2016.05.003