Lab Resources

Pre-lab Assignment and Lab Report Submission Policy

Each lab will have a pre-lab assign for students to understand background material, examine the purpose of each test, and become familiar with data analysis techniques. Each pre-lab will have some components that students must complete individually and some components they may complete with a partner student if desired. Each pre-lab assignment can be found on Piazza. Each lab has a lecture as the first meeting; the pre-lab is due by 11:59 PM Friday the week after the lab lecture, but most students find completing the pre-lab by the time they go to sample prep beneficial. 

Each lab will have a lab report for students to explain the methodology of the lab, analyze the data, and discuss the results. The lab reports will be due the Friday after the final meeting of each lab. Students may work with partners for two-page extended abstract lab reports. Lab reports must be submitted electronically to Compass by 11:59 PM on Fridays.

For both labs and pre-labs, late assignments will deducted one letter grade (10%) for each day late. An assignment submitted at 12:00 AM on Saturday is considered late and will be deducted accordingly.

Attendance Policy 

For excused absences, students must notify all of the instructors by email and provide official documentation. Students need to do so far enough in advance that we have a chance to make accommodations. Contacting us one week before may not give us enough time. We recommend two weeks.

If a student misses lab lecture, they will answer additional questions based on the lab lecture in order to ensure that they have sufficient knowledge and safety information for sample prep or testing. This is especially important for the SHG lab. This assignment will be due with the pre-lab to ensure students are prepared for lab.

If a student with an excused absence is unable to attend another lab session or a make-up lab session, the student will be required to complete an additional assignment related to the missed lab component (e.g. sample prep or testing). This assignment is due at the time of the lab report. The details of the assignment will be at the discretion of the instructor.

Missing a lab component entirely with no makeup, or having an unexcused absence, will result in loss all participation points automatically. In this case, students will also have to write reports individually, not with partners.

Guidelines for Extended Abstract Style Lab Reports

A key takeaway from the ME482 lab component is that students by the course’s end will have significantly strengthened their technical communication skills, which are highly valued and rewarded in careers in both industry and academia. Specifically, students will gain experience in writing an extended abstract, or a short research article. Writing extended abstracts is norm in research settings, and this skill would certainly carry over well to writing technical reports in industry settings. Basic guidelines for ME482 lab reports that are required to be in an extended abstract style are summarized in this presentation and Lab Report Rubric. Additionally, a ME 482 Lab Report Template  has also been made for you to follow.

Examples of Extended Abstracts

The following six extended abstracts are designed to serve as model examples for students to reference while writing extended abstracts for their lab reports.

  1. ExtendedAbstract_Example1
  2. ExtendedAbstract_Example2
  3. ExtendedAbstract_Example3
  4. ExtendedAbstract_Example4
  5. ExtendedAbstract_Example5
  6. ExtendedAbstract_Example6

Statistics Notes

Before the first lab is due, there will be a brief introductory statistics presentation and statistical software, Origin, demonstration, prepared by Zack. Students who have taken this course previously immensely enjoyed the opportunity to analyze data using statistical software. For reference throughout the semester, the presentation and notes from that presentation will be posted here as well as another resource for reporting statistics in text.

Recommended Mechanics and Biology Prerequisites for the Course

The only formal coursework prerequisite for ME 482 is TAM 251. However, besides this material, it is recommended/ expected for you to be familiar with a few key aspects of sophomore/junior level mechanics (ME 330, TAM 324) and freshmen level biology.

For Mechanics, you should be familiar with the mechanical behavior described in a stress-strain curve. You should understand how stress and strain are related, how microstructure influences mechanical behavior, and how you may choose to use a certain material based on its mechanical behavior. In ME 482, we will see the interplay between biological microstructure, mechanics, and tissue function. For more information, here are 2 helpful videos:

Introduction to stress-strain behavior.

How to analyze force-displacement data (helpful during Prelab 1).

For Biology¸ there is no biology prerequisite for ME 482; however, in the past, several students have found some basic biology terminology helpful for class readings and discussion. If you do not have a college freshmen biology background, we recommend you read these biology notes made specifically for this class, and follow up any questions with some light Wikipedia reading. You do not have to memorize any of this material or go into too much detail; we are recommending this material so that you have seen it at least once before we discuss it in class.