Nanotechnology Issues in Manufacturing

Project Objective

Integrate nanotechnology into the fabric of three important undergraduate engineering courses. Curricular changes for sophomore engineering students will focus on introducing nanotechnology and nanomanufacturing concepts as well as on communicating the excitement and future potential of nanotechnology. The third courses is a junior-level materials and manufacturing course offered by the Mechanical Engineering department but available to all students who have taken the prerequisites. The fourth course is an elective course available to all engineering and science students who have completed the prerequisite courses. In the course, students will learn about manufacturing of nanoscale components and integration of nanoscale components into micro and macro-scale devices through lectures and extensive laboratory sessions in research labs.

Project Participants

Sophomore Course: ENGR 213 Principles of Materials Engineering

ENGR 213 Principles of Materials Engineering is a sophomore-level course required for the following majors: aerospace engineering, chemical engineering, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, and petroleum engineering. The goal of the NUE project was to generate two modules for the course, each corresponding to one hour of lecture material. Given the breadth of nanotechnology material and the very limited time, the project team faced a difficult challenge of deciding which topics to include. One of the guiding principles was to focus on topics that were likely to continue to be relevant and applicable for several years in this rapidly changing area. After much discussion, the team decided to focus on why behavior of materials may be so different at the nanoscale and approaches to manufacturing at the nanoscale. In the first module two basic ideas underlie differences at the nanoscale: scaling and granularity. The second module features two different approaches to nanoscale manufacturing: top-down (use existing techniques to fabricate smaller and smaller features) and bottom-up (start with atoms or molecules and assemble larger units). Both topics mesh well with the overall conception of an introductory course on materials and both provide students with a foundation for future study of nanotechnology.

Junior Course: MEEN 360 Materials and Manufacturing

MEEN 360 Materials and Manufacturing Selection in Design is a required course for mechanical engineering majors. It is taught both semesters, offered to about 200 students each year, and includes a laboratory component. Like ENGR 213 the project introduced two one-hour modules on nanoscale manufacturing: one on micro and nanoscale lithography and another on nanoparticle processes for bulk materials. In addition, the project introduced one laboratory experiment that would be performed by all students.

The two modules in MEEN 360 have three goals:

  • Introduce nanoscale manufacturing as an emerging field that might affect your career
  • Visualize nanoscale issues in manufacturing
  • Provide background information for the new senior elective course MEMA 489 Nanoscale Issues in Manufacturing to be offered in the spring semester of the 2003-04 academic year.

Elective Course: MEMA 489 Nanoscale Issues in Manufacturing

The senior elective course, MEMA 489 Nanoscale Issues in Manufacturing, is open to both science and engineering students who have the necessary prerequisites. It has both lecture and laboratory components. Since it covers a broad sweep of topics on nanoscale manufacturing, three members of the project team, Ibrahim Karaman (Mechanical Engineering), Winfried Teizer (Physics) and Terry Creasy (Mechanical Engineering), team taught the first version of the course that was offered in the spring semester of the 2003-04 academic year. Each faculty member developed lecture materials and laboratory experiments for about one-third of the course. After the team prepared the initial draft of the course materials, Terry Creasy taught the second iteration of the course in fall semester of the 2004-05 academic year. The course had three themes.

  • Theme 1: Methods and Techniques for Nanostructure Fabrication
  • Theme 2: Fabrication of Bulk Materials through Nanoparticle Consolidation
  • Theme 3: Design and Assembly of Devices and Multifunctional Materials Using Nanoscale Components


This project was supported by the Division of Engineering Education and Centers of the National Science Foundation under grant number EEC-0304049. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Project Materials

Froyd, J., Creasy, T., Karaman, I., Teizer, W., and Caso, R. (2004). Undergraduate Educational Components for Nanoscale Issues in Manufacturing. Proceedings, ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition

Abstract: Engineering designers during the next fifty years will work intimately with tools and applications made feasible by nanotechnology. Therefore, engineering undergraduates must be able to integrate concepts and principles of nanotechnology into their knowledge bases as soon as possible. The project "Nanoscale Issues in Manufacturing" will transfer knowledge gained through nanoscale research into undergraduate engineering curricula at Texas A&M University through four components. The level of detail and sophistication of the material taught will increase as the scientific understanding of the students increases through their undergraduate career. For first-year engineering students, a company involved in nanotechnology research will develop and offer a case study on nanoscale applications. This approach builds on the successful case study program that has been offered for five years. For sophomore engineering students taking ENGR 213 Principals of Materials Engineering the nanomanufacturing faculty team has developed two modules. The first focuses on two fundamental ideas in nanotechnology: scaling and granularity. The second module focuses on two approaches to manufacturing macroscale systems using nanoscale technologies: top-down and bottom-up. The third component consists of two one-hour modules that will be integrated into MEEN 360 Materials and Manufacturing Selection in Design, a junior-level course offered by the Mechanical Engineering department but available to all students who have taken the prerequisites. The module expands on the top-down and bottom-up approaches to nanoscale manufacturing and provides students with hands-on laboratory experience. The fourth component will be a new elective course that will be available to all engineering and science students who have completed the prerequisite courses. The elective course, which will be taught by three faculty members, is comprised of three elements: methods and techniques for nanostructure fabrication using nanolithography, fabrication of bulk materials through nanoparticle consolidation, and design and fabrication of active micro-devices using nanocomponents. The four components will be described.