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Open AccessArticle

Application of Virtual Reality for Learning the Material Properties of Shape Memory Alloys

National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu 30013, Taiwan
National Hsinchu University of Education, Hsinchu 30013, Taiwan
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(3), 580;
Received: 11 January 2019 / Revised: 2 February 2019 / Accepted: 7 February 2019 / Published: 10 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Augmented Reality: Current Trends, Challenges and Prospects)
A shape memory alloy (SMA) is an alloy which can eliminate deformation at lower temperatures and restore its original shape upon heating. SMAs have been receiving considerable attention in the research field of materials science, and their applications include robotics, automotive, aerospace, and biomedical industries. Observing the SMA’s shaping and restoration processes is important for understanding its working principles and applications. However, the transformation of its crystal structure with temperature can only be seen using special equipment, such as a transmission electron microscope (TEM), which is an expensive apparatus and the operation requires professional skills. In this study, a teaching module is designed using virtual reality (VR) technology and research results of an SMA to show its shape memory properties, shaping and restoration processes, as well as the real-life applications in an immersive and interactive way. A teaching experiment has been conducted to analyze students’ learning effectiveness using the teaching module (the experimental group) compared with that of using real SMA materials as the teaching aids (the control group). Two classes of students in the Department of Materials Science (one as the experimental group and the other as the control group) were selected as the samples by convenience sampling from a university in North Taiwan. The experimental group contained 52 students and the control group contained 70 students. A nonequivalent pretest-posttest design was adopted to explore whether the two groups had a significant difference in learning effectiveness. The experimental results reveal that the teaching module can improve the learning effectiveness significantly (p = 0.001), and the questionnaire results also show that a majority of the students had positive attitudes about the teaching module. They believed that it could increase their learning motivation and help them understand the properties and applications of the SMA. View Full-Text
Keywords: virtual reality (VR); shape memory alloy (SMA); transmission electron microscope (TEM); austenite; martensite virtual reality (VR); shape memory alloy (SMA); transmission electron microscope (TEM); austenite; martensite
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MDPI and ACS Style

Tarng, W.; Chen, C.-J.; Lee, C.-Y.; Lin, C.-M.; Lin, Y.-J. Application of Virtual Reality for Learning the Material Properties of Shape Memory Alloys. Appl. Sci. 2019, 9, 580.

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