Unibody Design Utilizes Critical Thinking

Accounting (ACC)

Career and Technical Education Division

ACC 105: Taxation For Individuals

Units (Credits): 1–3; Prerequisites: none

Covers income, expenses, exclusions, deductions, and credits. Emphasizes the preparation of individual income tax.

ACC 135: Bookkeeping I

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: none

Introduces the basic principles of bookkeeping and applied accounting for a business enterprise with special emphasis on accounting for sole proprietorships, service and merchandising companies. Includes debits and credits, the accounting cycle, journals, ledgers, bank reconciliations, payroll, and the preparation of simple financial statements. May include a computerized component. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

ACC 180: Payroll & Employee Benefit Accounting

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: ACC 135, ACC 201 or equivalent work experience

Introduces payroll and employee benefit reporting to federal, state, and local government agencies. Includes an overview of federal and state labor laws and specialized reporting requirements including both manual and computerized payroll accounting systems. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

ACC 198: Special Topics in Accounting

Units (Credits): 1–3; Prerequisites: none

Applies to a variety of topics including short courses and workshops covering a variety of subjects in accounting. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

ACC 201: Financial Accounting

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: none; Recommended: ACC 135

Introduces the basic principles of financial accounting for business enterprises with special emphasis on accounting for corporations. Includes theory of debit and credit, accounting cycle, special journals, receivables, depreciation, inventory, long-term debt, corporate capital, and preparation of basic financial statements.

ACC 202: Managerial Accounting

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: ACC 201

Introduces the basic principles of management accounting including manufacturing and cost accounting, budgeting, accounting for management decision-making, and financial statement analysis.

ACC 203: Intermediate Accounting I

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: ACC 201

Emphasizes accounting theory, concepts and analysis of problems that arise in applying these concepts. Course covers in depth the traditional topics as well as recent developments in accounting valuation, accounting for cash, receivables, prepaid and accrued items, plant and equipment.

ACC 204: Intermediate Accounting II

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: ACC 203

Emphasizes accounting theory and concepts in corporate accounting. Areas of focus will include stockholder's equity, investments in securities and funds, financial reporting, and analysis of financial statements.

ACC 220: Microcomputer Accounting Systems

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: ACC 201

Integrates the principles of accounting and the concepts of data processing. Students will become familiar with computerized accounting systems which are realistic examples of systems used in business today.

ACC 223: Introduction to QuickBooks

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: ACC 135 or consent of instructor

Introduces students to QuickBooks accounting program and computerized accounting. Students will receive hands-on training in the use of QuickBooks using fictitious case studies. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

ACC 261: Governmental Accounting

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: ACC 201

Introduces accounting and reporting for government and non-profit entities. Includes study of fund and budget accounts of local governmental units, revenues, appropriations, disbursements and assessments.

ACC 290: Certified Bookkeeper Course

Units (Credits): 6; Prerequisites: ACC 201 with a grade of C or better, or by demonstrating a thorough knowledge of double-entry accounting.

Offers skills for working professionals and students who wish to advance their career in the bookkeeping profession. Upon successful completion, students will be able to sit for a national exam administered by the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB). Upon passing this exam and completing two years of bookkeeping experience, individuals earn the right to call themselves Certified Bookkeepers. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

ACC 295: Work Experience I

Units (Credits): 1–6; Prerequisites: consent of instructor

Provides on-the-job supervised and educationally directed work experience. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

ACC 299: Advanced Special Topics in Accounting

Units (Credits): 1–3; Prerequisites: ACC 201 or ACC 202 or consent of instructor

Applies to a variety of advanced topics including short courses and workshops covering a variety of subjects in accounting. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

Agricultural Science (AGSC)

Career and Technical Education Division

AGSC 100: Elements of Livestock Production

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: none

Covers fundamental concepts in care, management, and economics of food producing animals. Includes contributions of the Nevada and U.S. animal industries in providing food on an international basis.

AGSC 102: Agriculture Communication and Organization

Units (Credits): 1–3; Prerequisites: none

Designed for students interested in pursuing an agricultural career. Provides students with an in depth investigation into personal and interpersonal leadership. Teaches students to strengthen their leadership influence through a personal application of leadership skills, attitudes and dispositions.

AGSC 105: Livestock Production Systems

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: none

Instructs students in the various essential production systems in animal agriculture, including aspects of production including reproduction, nutrition, animal preventative maintenance, treatment delivery systems of animal health, and environment. Includes consumer related issues as they relate to the production of animal agriculture.

AGSC 110: Introduction to Agriculture Management

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: none

Introduces agriculture management and the development of personal leadership skills as they relate to agriculture business. Includes the regulatory requirements relevant to labor management in agriculture and effective communication with native and non-native English speakers. Includes case studies on labor management, human relations, public relations, production control techniques and job analysis.

AGSC 122: Intercollegiate Rodeo

Units (Credits): 2; Prerequisites: none

Designed for men and women interested in rodeo as a knowledgeable spectator, producer, or participant. Covers rodeo history, current rules, equipment use, and physical and mental conditioning. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AGSC 163: Horsemanship

Units (Credits): 2; Prerequisites: none

Demonstrates Western horseback riding techniques and equitation. Provides the foundation for good, basic, and effective horsemanship that can later be developed into more specialized. riding. Includes safety, handling, grooming, saddling, staling, feeding, health, exercise, and riding. All levels of ability are welcome as lab assignments are tailored to the skill levels of both student and horse.

AGSC 198: Special Topics in Agriculture

Units (Credits): 1–6; Prerequisites: none

Selected agricultural topics offered for general interest in the agricultural community. Repeatable to a maximum of six units.

AGSC 205: Rudimentary Farrier

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: none

Introduces horseshoeing, principles and practices, including the physiology of the equine feet and legs, unsoundness, hoof care, shoeing equipment, and the actual shoeing of live horses. Provides the student with the skills to properly care and complete basic farrier work on horses.

AGSC 206: Fundamentals of Animal Nutrition

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: AGSC 100 Or AGSC 105

Provides an overview of animal nutrition as the basis for livestock feeding and nutrition. Discusses the fundamentals of digestion and absorption in both ruminants and non-ruminants. Emphasizes the nutritive value of feeds as they relate to the formulation of livestock rations, including by-product feeding.

AGSC 209: Physiology of Livestock Reproduction

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: none

Designed to provide students with an understanding of the process of reproduction in cattle, sheep, swine, and horses. Provides information covering both the physical mechanics of reproduction as well as the endocrine system controlling livestock reproductive process. Discusses various mating systems with an emphasis placed on artificial insemination (A.I.) and embryo transfer (E.T.).

AGSC 210: Agricultural Issues

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: none

Offers students the opportunity to investigate current topics causing change in the agriculture industry. Students research and report on trends as diverse as animal rights, chemical and foods, land use, water rights, and governmental subsidies as well as regional, state, and national topics.

AGSC 290: Cooperative Work Experience

Units (Credits): 1–6; Prerequisites: AGSC 110

Provides an opportunity for students to earn college credit for work experience. Students work with an agriculture faculty advisor to design an appropriate supervised, on the job, educationally directed work experience. Repeatable to a maximum of six units.

Air Conditioning (AC)

Career and Technical Education Division

AC 198: Special Topics in HVAC

Units (Credits): 0.5–6; Prerequisites: none

Various short courses and experimental classes covering a variety of subjects. Offered from one-half to six units depending on the course content and number of hours required. May be repeated up to six units. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

Anthropology (ANTH)

Liberal Arts Division

ANTH 101: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: none

Introduces human culture and society. Provides an understanding of human diversity through a comparative study of politics, religion, economics and social organization.

II. Course Objectives and Linkage to General Education Program

The information in the parentheses after a course objective refers to the specific general education (GE) learning outcome that the objective meets. Objectives without this information are not linked to WNC’s general education program. Upon successful completion of this course, students will have demonstrated they can:
  1. Exhibit factual knowledge of a broad range of cultures of the world. (GE 1).
  2. Examine cultural change through the lens of ethnographic and ethnologic research. (GE 4).
  3. Describe diverse positions on selected anthropological values or practices (GE 5).
  4. Demonstrate an appreciation of cultural diversity through an examination of cultural interaction from selected areas of the world (GE 5).
  5. Demonstrate analytical and critical thinking through substantially error-free prose suitable to the purpose of relating selected anthropological topics to personal experience and knowledge (GE 2, 6).

ANTH 102: Introduction to Physical Anthropology

Units (Credits): 3–5; Corequisites: recommend ANTH 110L

Explores the biological and evolutionary origins of humans through the examination of the fossil record, the study of primates, and the study of human biology.

II. Course Objectives and Linkage to General Education Program

The information in the parentheses after a course objective refers to the specific general education (GE) learning outcome that the objective meets. Objectives without this information are not linked to WNC’s general education program. Upon successful completion of this course, students will have demonstrated they can:
  • Use terminology specific to the anthropological topics selected for this course. (GE 1)
  • Demonstrate the principles and theories of human evolution and the origins of the human species (GE 1)
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the physical attributes of humans and what sets us apart from other species (GE 1)
  • Describe selected ideas of human variation and adaptation (GE 1)
  • Demonstrate an appreciation of the value and importance of human diversity (GE1)
  • Demonstrate analytical and critical thinking through substantially error-free prose suitable to the purpose of relating selected anthropological topics to personal experience and knowledge (GE 2, 6)
The class includes lectures, discussions, anthropological films, and student presentations. Students will exercise academic skills in reading, writing, research, critical thinking, and oral communication.

ANTH 110L: Physical Anthropology Lab

Units (Credits): 1; Corequisites: ANTH 102

Provides practical experience in aspects of physical anthropology: the mechanisms of inheritance, osteology and forensic science, comparative anatomy and human evolution, and aspects of modern human variability.

ANTH 198: Selected Topics: Anthropology

Units (Credits): 1–3; Prerequisites: none

ANTH 201: Peoples & Cultures of the World

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: none

Anthropology 201 offers a comparative survey of selected societies from throughout the world. Emphasis is on the impact of global developments on traditional societies.

II. Course Objectives and Linkage to General Education Program

The information in the parentheses after a course objective refers to the specific general education (GE) learning outcome that the objective meets. Objectives without this information are not linked to WNC’s general education program. Upon successful completion of this course, students will have demonstrated they can:
  • Exhibit factual knowledge of a broad range of cultures of the world. (GE 1).
  • Examine cultural change through the lens of ethnographic and ethnologic research. (GE 4).
  • Describe diverse positions on selected anthropological values or practices (GE 5).
  • Demonstrate an appreciation of cultural diversity through an examination of cultural interaction from selected areas of the world (GE 5).
  • Demonstrate analytical and critical thinking through substantially error-free prose suitable to the purpose of relating selected anthropological topics to personal experience and knowledge (GE 2, 6)
This class provides an overview to the scientific examination and comparison of world cultures. Anthropologists use the concept of culture to account for the tremendous variety of ways humans have adapted to their surroundings and to each other. The course will examine the major concepts, theoretical perspectives, and research methods of cultural anthropology. A major goal is to provide students with an awareness of the wide spectrum of cultural and social variation throughout the world, while at the same time stressing those characteristics that are shared by all human beings. By learning about other societies we learn, ultimately, about ourselves. The class includes lectures, discussions, ethnographic films, and student presentations. Students will exercise academic skills in reading, writing, research, critical thinking, and oral communication.

ANTH 202: Archeology

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: none

Surveys archaeology in the Old and New Worlds. Examines methods used by archaeologists to describe and explain prehistoric cultures.

II. Course Objectives and Linkage to General Education Program

The information in the parentheses after a course objective refers to the specific general education (GE) learning outcome that the objective meets. Upon successful completion of this course, students will have demonstrated they can:
  • Exhibit knowledge of principles, theories, and methods of archaeological investigation (GE 1)
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the development of human social institutions and technology in prehistory (GE 1)
  • Demonstrate an appreciation of cultural diversity through an examination of cultural interaction from selected prehistoric periods of the world (GE 5)
  • Demonstrate analytical and critical thinking through substantially error-free prose suitable to the purpose of relating selected anthropological topics to personal experience and knowledge (GE 2, 6)

ANTH 210: Indians of Nevada Today

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: none

Surveys the Native American populations of Nevada and adjacent areas with emphasis on contemporary reservation conditions.

ANTH 212: Indians of North America

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: none

Surveys traditional life and modern conditions of American Indians with emphasis on the western United States.

ANTH 213: Introduction to the Indians of the Great Basin

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: none

Introduces the Indians of the Great Basin, summarizing ethnographic and contemporary issues of Native Americans of the Great Basin and the indigenous groups that are geographically adjacent and have influenced Basin cultures. Also examines the archaeological documentation of pre-contact conditions.

ANTH 214: Introduction to Mesoamerican Prehistory and Archaeology

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: none

Introduces students to the archaeology and prehistory of Mesoamerica. Includes the development of complex societies in Mexico and Central America.

ANTH 215: Introduction to Faith, Witchcraft and Magic

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: none

Introduces students to the anthropological study of religion as a human institution. Examines the history, methods, and current status of the field.

II. Course Objectives and Linkage to General Education Program

The information in the parentheses after a course objective refers to the specific general education (GE) learning outcome that the objective meets. Upon successful completion of this course, students will have demonstrated they can:
  • Exhibit factual knowledge of a broad range of cultural beliefs in the world. (GE 1).
  • Examine cultural change through the lens of ethnographic and ethnologic research. (GE 4).
  • Describe diverse positions on selected cultural values or practices (GE 5).
  • Demonstrate an appreciation of cultural diversity through an examination of cultural interaction from selected areas of the world (GE 5).
  • Demonstrate analytical and critical thinking through substantially error-free prose suitable to the purpose of relating selected anthropological topics to personal experience and knowledge (GE 2, 6).
This class provides an overview to the scientific examination and comparison of world religious beliefs. It examines the major concepts, theoretical perspectives, and research methods of cultural anthropology. A major goal of the course is to provide an awareness of the wide spectrum of cultural and social variation in faith and belief throughout the world. The class includes lectures, discussions, ethnographic films, and student presentations. Students will exercise academic skills in reading, writing, research, critical thinking, and oral communication.

ANTH 443: Environmental Archaeology

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: none

Topics selected from paleoecology, taphonomy, geoarchaeology, and dating methods. Lectures, readings, and field trips cover advanced principles, method and theory, and practical applications.

Applied Industrial Technology (AIT)

Career and Technical Education Division

AIT 101: Fundamentals of Applied Industrial Technology

Units (Credits): 4; Prerequisites: none

Explains the fundamental concepts of electricity used in many applications, especially control systems. Ohm's Law and Kirchhoff's voltage and current laws will be applied both in theory and through lab experiments. Mechanical concepts of basic levers and forces, friction and pulleys and gears are introduced, as well as their effects on a system. Covers fundamental operation of electric relay controls and explains basic logic circuits which are used to provide automated control of many types of machines. Simulated tools and test equipment are utilized.Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AIT 102: Measurement Tools and Methods

Units (Credits): 1; Prerequisites: none

Explains the fundamental concepts of dimensional measurement. Accuracy and tolerance will be described and applied in theory and through lab experiments. U.S. Customary Units and S.I. Metric Units are utilized both in measurement and conversion. Covers fundamental operation of dial and digital calipers. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AIT 103: Introduction to Machine Tool Technologies

Units (Credits): 1; Prerequisites: none

Introduces the fundamental concepts of using a drill press and band saw, including their parts and controls. These tools will be utilized in the manufacturing process to cut materials and countersink, counterbore, ream and tap holes. Lab experiments will be accomplished through simulated tools and test equipment. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AIT 121: Electrical Control Systems

Units (Credits): 1–3; Prerequisites: AIT 101

Covers the function and operation of logic control circuits used in industrial, commercial and residential applications. Relays, limit switches and time-delays are introduced for a variety of uses. Automation with electrical control is common in many settings, using components wired together in specific configurations that form the logic needed to determine the sequesnce of machine operations. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AIT 155: Applied Industrial Technology Hands On Lab

Units (Credits): 1–6; Prerequisites: none

Allows students of Applied Industrial Technology to use hands-on trainers and equipment for the study of various topics. Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AIT 198: Special Topics in Applied Industrial Technology

Units (Credits): 1–6; Prerequisites: none

Explores various topics of current interest/demand in Applied Industrial Technology areas of study. Applies to a variety of current topics in the field of industrial technology, covering subjects such as new approaches and techniques, equipment configuration, upgrades, preventive maintenance, etc. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AIT 200: Applied Industrial Technology Projects

Units (Credits): 1–8; Prerequisites: none

Explores various project-based topics in the Applied Industrial Technology field. Applies to a range of subjects including short courses and workshops covering a variety of themes relevant to industry. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AIT 201: Pneumatic Power Technologies

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: none

Introduces the concepts of how to connect and operate basic pneumatic components and systems, read circuit diagrams, monitor system operation, and design circuits. Different types of actuators and values will be explained, and skills working with pneumatic schematics will be strengthened by using simulated tools and test equipment. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AIT 250: Mechatronics: Electrical Components

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: AIT 101 ; Corequisites: AIT 101

Covers the basics of electrical components in a complex mechatronic system. Students will learn the basic functions and physical properties of electrical components, and the roles they play within the system. Technical documentation such as data sheets, schematics, and timing diagrams will be covered while exploring troubleshooting strategies and preventive maintenance. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AIT 251: Mechatronics: Mechanical Components

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: AIT 250 ; Corequisites: AIT 250

Covers the basics of pneumatic, electropneumatic and hydraulic control circuits in a complex mechatronic system. Teaches the functions and properties of control elements based upon physical principles, and the roles they play within the system. Covers technical documentation such as data sheets, circuit diagrams, displacement step diagrams and function charts while exploring troubleshooting strategies and preventive maintenance. Covers the basics of mechanical components in a complex mechatronic system. Students will learn the basic functions and physical properties of mechanical components, and the roles they play within the system. Technical documentation such as data sheets, schematics, and timing diagrams will be covered while exploring troubleshooting strategies and preventive maintenance. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AIT 252: Mechatronics: Pneumatic and Hydraulic

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: AIT 251 ; Corequisites: AIT 251

Covers the basics of pneumatic, electropneumatic and hydraulic control circuits in a complex mechatronic system. Students will learn the functions and properties of control elements based upon physical principles, and the roles they play within the system. Technical documentation such as data sheets, circuit diagrams, displacement step diagrams and function charts will be covered while exploring troubleshooting strategies and preventive maintenance. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AIT 253: Mechatronics: Programmable Logic Controllers

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: AIT 252 ; Corequisites: AIT 252

Covers the fundamentals of digital logic and an introduction to programmable logic controllers (PLCs) in a complex mechatronic system. Students will learn the role PLCs play within a mechatronic system or subsystem; students will explore basic elements of PLC functions by writing and testing programs to control them. Course teaches students how to identify malfunctioning PLCs, as well as to apply troubleshooting strategies to identify and localize problems caused by PLC hardware. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AIT 285: AIT Certification/Examination Prep

Units (Credits): 1–3; Prerequisites: none

Reviews industrial technology theory and practice including devices and circuits, wiring techniques, controls, operation of test instruments, measurement methods, and troubleshooting of industrial systems. Manufacturing, distribution, and logistics practices and tasks will be covered as applicable. Prepares students for current industrial certification and employment tests through practice questions, example scenarios, and review. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AIT 290: Applied Industrial Technology Internship

Units (Credits): 1–6; Prerequisites: Consent of Instructor.

Allows students to apply knowledge to real on-the-job situations in a program designed by a company official and faculty advisor to maximize learning experiences. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

Arabic (ARA)

Liberal Arts Division

ARA 101: Conversational Arabic I

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: none

Emphasizes Arabic spoken communication, listening, reading and writing skills. A vocabulary of Arabic-English words will be developed to suit student needs. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

ARA 102: Conversational Arabic II

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: ARA 101

Emphasizes Arabic spoken communication. Listening, reading and writing skills will be explored. A vocabulary of Arabic-English words can be developed to suit student needs. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

Art (ART)

Liberal Arts Division

ART 100: Visual Foundations

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: none

Explores visual forms and contemporary concepts through a variety of media, presentations and discussions.

II. Course Objectives and Linkage to General Education Program

The information in the parentheses after a course objective refers to the specific general education (GE) learning outcome that the objective meets. Objectives without this information are not linked to WNC’s general education program. Upon completion of the course students will have demonstrated they can:
  • Demonstrate working knowledge of key design concepts, principles, themes, and major content areas needed to explain and solve design problems. (GE 1)
  • Locate, evaluate, and appropriately use information from multiple resources to complete design projects. (GE 4)
  • Use critical thinking and creativity to select and apply design principles and ideas suitable for solving significant contemporary or enduring problems. (GE 6)
  • Utilize various art media.
  • Appreciate the relationship between form and content.
  • Expand their sense of experimentation and imagination.

ART 101: Drawing I

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: none

Develops drawing skills through practice with a broad variety of drawing tools and techniques. 1 hour lecture/4 hours studio per week.

II. Course Objectives and Linkage to General Education Program

The information in the parentheses after a course objective refers to the specific general education (GE) learning outcome that the objective meets. Objectives without this information are not linked to WNC’s general education program. Upon completion of this course, students will have demonstrated they can:
  • Demonstrate working knowledge of key drawing concepts, principles, themes, and major content areas to solve specific drawing problems. (GE 1)
  • Locate evaluate, and appropriately use information from multiple resources to complete drawing projects. (GE 4)
  • Use critical thinking and creativity to select and apply recognized drawing techniques suitable for solving significant contemporary or enduring problems. (GE 6)

ART 102: Drawing II

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: ART 101

Continues ART 101 with increased emphasis on the refinement of drawing skills. One hour lecture/ four hours studio per week.

ART 105: Color Theory

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: none

Introduces color interactions, optical phenomena and creative application.

ART 108: Design Fundamentals II (3-D)

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: none

Explores the fundamentals of design utilizing various media while focusing on three-dimensional design and sculptural practices. One hour lecture/four hours studio per week.

ART 111: Beginning Ceramics

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: none

Introduces basic ceramic techniques and concepts including both hand-built and wheel thrown vessels as well as both utilitarian and non-utilitarian ceramic forms.

ART 115: Beginning Clay Sculpture

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: none

Introduces students to clay as a medium for sculptural design. Focus is on human head, small animal sculpture and mold-making.

ART 124: Beginning Printmaking

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: none

Introduces printmaking processes emphasizing relief, intaglio, lithographic, and screen processes.

ART 127: Watercolor I

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: none

Offers a beginning course in watercolor painting with emphasis on materials and techniques which contribute to the production of quality works of art.

ART 131: Introduction to Painting

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: none

Introduces the basics of various traditional and contemporary painting media.

ART 135: Photography I

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: none

Introduces black and white photography and the 35mm camera. The course is designed as a beginning or refresher class in understanding photo taking and darkroom procedures. Student must provide a 35mm camera.

ART 141: Introduction to Digital Photography I

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: none

Introduces photographic techniques. Topics include exposure, camera controls, digital printing, file management. Explores creative possibilities and thematic modes of photography; working in series.

ART 160: Art Appreciation

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: none

This course studies art, artists and art media of various historical periods to develop the student’s capacity to evaluate and appreciate them.

II. Course Objectives and Linkage to General Education Program

The information in the parentheses after a course objective refers to the specific general education (GE) learning outcome that the objective meets. Objectives without this information are not linked to WNC’s general education program. Upon completion of this course, students will have demonstrated they can:
  • Demonstrate a working knowledge of key art concepts, principles, themes, and major content areas to explain and appreciate art forms from different times and cultures. (GE 1)
  • Locate, evaluate, and appropriately use information from multiple resources to complete art projects and papers. (GE 4)
  • Use critical thinking and creativity to select and apply recognized methods suitable for understanding significant or enduring aesthetic problems. (GE 6)
  • Appreciate individual artworks and the underlying aesthetic, cultural, philosophical and social influences that affected the artists who created them.

ART 201: Life Drawing I

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: ART 101

Practices drawing the human figure from nude models. Emphasizes the expressive potentialities of human figure, and the production of quality drawings. One hour lecture and four hours studio per week.

ART 208: Fiber Arts

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: none

Introduces fiber based techniques and concepts including contemporary uses of quilting and fabric dyes, among other techniques, as a fine art form.

ART 209: Introduction to Gallery Practices

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: none

Covers the practices and ethics of operating an art gallery. May be repeated for up to six units.

ART 211: Ceramics I

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: none

Offers a beginning studio course in ceramic construction and decoration. Lecture and laboratory methods are used to give special attention to the development of individual students skills. Uses potter's wheels. One hour lecture and four hours studio per week.

ART 212: Ceramics II

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: ART 211

Continues ART 211 with increased attention given to further refinement of skills. One hour lecture/four hours studio per week.

ART 216: Sculpture I

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: none

Offers fundamentals of sculpture using plaster, wood and other materials.

ART 217: Sculpture II

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: ART 216 or consent of instructor

Offers studio classes in techniques and skills of subtractive and additive sculpture. One hour lecture and four hours studio per week.

ART 218: Alternative Sculpture

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: none

Explores non-traditional sculpting techniques.

ART 221: Beginning Printmaking: Intaglio

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: ART 124

Introduce etching, drypint, aquatint, and other techniques related to metal plate printmaking. Emphasis on the creative use of materials and techniques.

ART 222: Beginning Printmaking: Lithography

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites or Corequisites: ART 124

Examines materials and techniques for lithography. Explores black and white printing as well as color and photo generated images.

ART 223: Beginning Printmaking: Serigraphy

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites or Corequisites: ART 124

Introduces the basic techniques of silk-screen printing with emphasis on its creative potential.

ART 224: Beginning Printmaking: Relief

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites or Corequisites: ART 124

Lecture/studio instruction in printing, woodcuts, linocuts and assembled relief surfaces.

ART 225: Intermediate Printmaking

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: ART 124

Continues Art 124 with emphasis on contemporary techniques and processes for traditional intaglio, lithography, and digital imaging techniques for intaglio and lithographic processes.

ART 227: Watercolor II

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: ART 127

Continues exploration of watercolor techniques and concepts including gouache and related media.

ART 231: Painting I

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: none

Offers a beginning course in oil and/or acrylic painting. Introduces concepts and develops skills for the production of quality paintings. One hour lecture and four hours studio per week.

ART 232: Painting II

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: ART 231

Continues ART 231, with increased emphasis on refinement of basic painting skills. One hour lecture and four hours studio per week.

ART 235: Photography II

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: ART 135 or ART 141

Covers artificial lighting techniques and theory; strobe equipment, hotlights and electronic flashes.  Students produce a portfolio of work demonstrating knowledge of these techniques.

ART 237: Photography II Color

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: ART 141

Covers continued explorations of numerous photographic techniques, compositional styles, concepts and critical analysis of photography as a Fine Art.

ART 245: Digital Media I

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: At least one art studio course, such as Visual Foundations, Beginning Photography, Drawing, etc.

Introduces concepts and practices of computer art and related media with an emphasis on contemporary experimental applications.

ART 260: Survey Art History I

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: none

This course surveys art of the Western World from prehistoric times through the Gothic Period.

II. Course Objectives and Linkage to General Education Program

The information in the parentheses after a course objective refers to the specific general education (GE) learning outcome that the objective meets. Objectives without this information are not linked to WNC’s general education program. Upon completion of this course, students will have demonstrated they can:
  • Demonstrate working knowledge of key concepts, principles, themes, and major content areas of Art History needed to explain and solve discipline-specific problems. (GE 1)
  • Present substantially error-free prose suitable in style and content to the purpose of the document and the audience. (GE 2)
  • Locate, evaluate, and appropriately use information from multiple resources to complete projects and papers. (GE 4)
  • Interpret and appreciate individual artworks from different times and cultures and the underlying aesthetic, cultural, philosophical and social influences that affected the artists who created them.

ART 261: Survey of Art History II

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: none

This course surveys art of the Western World from the Renaissance to the present.

II. Course Objectives and Linkage to General Education Program

The information in the parentheses after a course objective refers to the specific general education (GE) learning outcome that the objective meets. Objectives without this information are not linked to WNC’s general education program. Upon successful completion of this course, students will have demonstrated they can:
  • Demonstrate working knowledge of key concepts, principles, themes, and major content areas of Art History needed to explain and solve discipline-specific problems. (GE 1)
  • Present substantially error-free prose suitable in style and content to the purpose of the document and the audience. (GE 2)
  • Locate, evaluate, and appropriately use information from multiple resources to complete projects and papers. (GE 4)
  • Interpret and appreciate individual artworks from different times and cultures and the underlying aesthetic, cultural, philosophical and social influences that affected the artists who created them.

ART 296: Independent Study

Units (Credits): 1–3; Prerequisites: none

Focuses on independent exploration of studio techniques and concepts as discussed with the instructor during one-on-one critiques and instruction. May be repeated for up to six units.

ART 297: Field Study

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: none

Offers a study of art in its cultural and historical setting with potential visits to museums, galleries, and art studios.

ART 298: Portfolio Emphasis

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: none

Offers input for artist portfolios by means of critique.

ART 299: Special Topics in Studio Art

Units (Credits): 1–3; Prerequisites: none

Applies to assorted short courses and workshops covering a variety of subjects. May be repeated for up to six units.

Astronomy (AST)

Liberal Arts Division

AST 100: Special Topics: White Dwarfs, Neutron Stars and Black Holes

Units (Credits): 1; Prerequisites: none

Covers an assortment of exotic and fascinating stellar and astronomical objects that are at the center of modern astronomy. Studies the life cycles of both large and small mass stars as well as new developments and discoveries from a wide range of topics in astrophysics.

AST 105: Introductory Astronomy Laboratory

Units (Credits): 1; Prerequisites: AST 109, AST 110 or consent of instructor

Presents laboratory exercises in astronomy in the tradition of the amateur astronomer. Includes observation of celestial objects as well as laboratory exercises to investigate the physical nature of astronomical objects. Instructs on the use of telescopes and the process of the scientific method. Recommended for non-science majors.

AST 109: Planetary Astronomy

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: MATH 120, MATH 126 or higher or consent of instructor

Offers a descriptive introduction to current concepts of the solar system, modern observational techniques, and their results. Utilizes telescopes and observatory facilities. Includes four laboratory experiences.

II. Course Objectives and Linkage to General Education Program

The information in the parentheses after a course objective refers to the specific general education (GE) learning outcome that the objective meets. Objectives without this information are not linked to WNC’s general education program. Upon successful completion of this course, students will have demonstrated they can:
  1. Demonstrate working knowledge of key concepts and principles that characterize the physical properties and features of planets, moons, and the sun. (GE 1)
  2. Present accurate calculations related to fundamental astronomical problems. (GE 3)
  3. Locate, evaluate, and appropriately use information from multiple resources to complete activities related to the historical evolution of the science of astronomy. (GE 4)
  4. Recognize extrasolar planetary bodies and extend comparative planetology to planets well beyond our solar system.
  5. Identify some seasonal constellations and learn to use a telescope.

AST 110: Stellar Astronomy

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: MATH 120, MATH 126 or higher or consent of instructor

Offers a descriptive introduction to stellar and galactic systems, the life cycle of stars, theories of the universe and its formation. Utilizes telescopes and observatory facilities. Includes four laboratory experiences.

II. Course Objectives and Linkage to General Education Program

The information in the parentheses after a course objective refers to the specific general education (GE) learning outcome that the objective meets. Objectives without this information are not linked to WNC’s general education program. Upon successful completion of this course, students will have demonstrated they can:
  1. Demonstrate working knowledge of stellar evolution, galactic formation as well as key concepts and principles that characterize the physical properties and features of matter in its densest and most extreme form. (GE 1)
  2. Present accurate calculations related to a broad range of astronomical problems. (GE 3)
  3. Locate, evaluate, and appropriately use information from multiple resources to complete activities related to the historical evolution of the science of astronomy. (GE 4)
  4. Explore concepts and theories of cosmology including the creation and age of the universe.
  5. Identify some seasonal constellations and learn to use a telescope.

AST 115: Birth of Astrophysics

Units (Credits): 1; Prerequisites: none

Covers the accidental discovery of the solar spectral lines at the beginning of the 19th century and explores the threads of observation and interpretation through the subsequent 100 years. Explains how this process created modern astronomy, atomic physics, and chemistry. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AST 118: Astronomical Instrumentation

Units (Credits): 1–3; Prerequisites: none

Introduces the basic operation of reflecting and refracting telescopes, fundamentals of spectrograph and methods for obtaining stellar spectra, and multiple uses of the CCD camera for astronomical imaging. Emphasis will be on working with the instruments (hands-on) and taking real time data when applicable. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AST 120: Introduction to Astrobiology

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: none

Studies the origin, evolution and distribution of life in the geology, planetary science, atmospheric science, oceanography, and other sciences. Explores the scientific reasons behind why the Solar System harbors a living planet. Covers the factors that allow the Earth to support life and the potential for life on other planets within the universe.

II. Course Objectives and Linkage to General Education Program

The information in the parentheses after a course objective refers to the specific general education (GE) learning outcome that the objective meets. Objectives without this information are not linked to WNC’s general education program. Upon successful completion of this course, students will have demonstrated they can:
  1. Demonstrate working knowledge of the fundamental characteristics of life as it relates to microbial and complex living systems. (GE 1)
  2. Locate, evaluate, and appropriately use information from multiple resources to complete activities related to historical perspectives and the timeline of the evolution of life in relation to astronomical, geological, and biological events on earth, and extrapolate conditions for life elsewhere in the universe. (GE 4)
  3. Present substantially error­free written responses related but not limited to the following (GE 2):
    1. Outline the fundamental characteristics of life as it relates to microbial and complex living systems.
    2. Contrast the basis of life, the tree of life, and life living under the most extreme conditions on Earth, inside the Earth and beyond Earth.
    3. Contemplate and imagine man's biases, sensitivities, and desires to continue to search for life beyond our world.

AST 190: Projects in Observational Astronomy

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: AST 105 or consent of instructor

Develops skills in observational astronomy with a project-oriented course. Uses high quality equipment such as cameras, photometers, telescopes and heliostats. Laboratory course recommended for non-science majors.

AST 198: Special Topics in Astronomy

Units (Credits): 0.5–6; Prerequisites: none

Includes short courses and experimental classes covering a variety of subjects. May be repeated for up to six units. Note: Non-transferable for a NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AST 290: Internship in Astronomy

Units (Credits): 1–8; Prerequisites: consent of instructor

Allows students to apply knowledge to real, on-the-job situations in a program designed by a company official and faculty advisor to maximize learning experiences. Students may earn up to eight units on the basis of 45 hours of internship per unit. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AST 299: Directed Study

Units (Credits): 1–3; Prerequisites: consent of instructor

Covers selected topics and directed student research of interest to students in astronomy. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

Atmospheric Sciences (ATMS)

Liberal Arts Division

ATMS 117: Meteorology

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: none

Covers the elements that make up meteorology, potential climate change, severe weather, and weather forecasting.

II. Course Objectives and Linkage to General Education Program

The information in the parentheses after a course objective refers to the specific general education (GE) learning outcome that the objective meets. Objectives without this information are not linked to WNC’s general education program. Upon successful completion of this course, students will have demonstrated they can:
  • Use terminology specific to Atmospheric Science and Meteorology topics applied in the course. (GE 1)
  • Use Atmospheric Science and Meteorology concepts and principles demonstrating a working knowledge of Atmospheric and Meteorological processes. (GE 1)
  • Perform hands on applications that demonstrate the ability to apply concepts and principles in relation to Atmospheric Science and Meteorology. (GE 1)

III. Topics

The following is a list of topics that must be covered in ATMS 117: Atmospheric composition; Seasons; Severe Weather; Climate Change; Weather Forecasting.

Auto Tech Collision & Repair (ABDY)

Career and Technical Education Division

ABDY 101: Collision Repair Fundamentals and Estimating

Units (Credits): 4; Prerequisites: none

Includes, through lecture and lab, an overview of the collision industry, instruction in safe shop procedures, measurement, vehicles disassembly, estimating software and techniques. Successful students will earn eight I-CAR certification points.

ABDY 110: Paint and Refinish I

Units (Credits): 4; Prerequisites: ABDY 101

Provides instruction in all phases of metal preparation: sanding, masking, metal treatment, priming, spraying basecoat and clear coat, and the proper use and maintenance of paint guns. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

ABDY 120: Non-Structural Welding

Units (Credits): 4; Prerequisites: ABDY 110

Prepares students in general welding safety, Plasma Arc Cutting, Oxy and Acetylene welding, cutting, heating and GMAW MIG welding techniques. Students will be prepared to take the I-CAR hands on steel welding test. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

ABDY 122: Non-Structural Body And Panel And Trim

Units (Credits): 4; Prerequisites: ABDY 110

Covers the proper techniques for removal, installation, adjustment, and alignment of body hardware, body trim, and body sheet metal parts as well as straightening body panels using basic hand tools. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

ABDY 150: Structural Inspections

Units (Credits): 4; Prerequisites: ABDY 120

Introduces students to specialized frame and unibody measuring, anchoring, and pulling equipment. Students will perform welding techniques and use corrosion preventive materials to restore the vehicle as closely as possible to pre-collision condition. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

ABDY 152: Structural II

Units (Credits): 4; Prerequisites: ABDY 150

Prepares the student in the repair of a moderate to heavily damaged vehicles using specialized frame and unibody measuring, anchoring, and pulling equipment. Continued instruction in welding techniques and corrosion preventive materials to restore the vehicle as closely as possible to pre-collision condition is included.

ABDY 180: Non-Structural Advanced Body Panel

Units (Credits): 4; Prerequisites: ABDY 122

Covers the identity of auto body parts and their structural relationships. Removal, installation, adjustment, and alignment of body hardware, body trim, and body sheet metal parts and intermediate level panel repair and straightening skills are mastered in this course. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

ABDY 220: Paint and Refinish II

Units (Credits): 4; Prerequisites: ABDY 110

Covers metal preparation, sanding, masking, metal treatment, and priming. Spraying of basecoat and clear coat, color matching, blending, and the proper care of a paint gun are also included. Students will learn blending, color adjusting and tinting. This is the second in a series of courses on this subject. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

Automotive Auto Body (AUTB)

Career and Technical Education Division

AUTB 120: Automotive Collision I

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: none

Provides fundamental instruction of hands-on skill and knowledge in auto body construction, tools, and safety. Students will also work with metal, plastics, fiberglass and trim. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AUTB 121: Auto Collision I Practice

Units (Credits): 1–6; Prerequisites: none

Develops student skills by putting into practice the theories taught in AUTB 120. The emphasis will be geared to a more practical, hands-on experience through the use of grinders, orbital sanders and all collision repair equipment. Shop safety and cleanup are always stressed. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AUTB 125: Automotive Collision II

Units (Credits): 1–6; Prerequisites: AUTB 120

Continues AUTB 120 with more advanced hands-on skill and knowledge in auto body construction, tools, safety and work with metal, plastic, fiberglass and trim. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AUTB 126: Automotive Collision II Practice

Units (Credits): 1–9; Prerequisites: AUTB 125

Continues to develop student skills by putting into practice the theories taught in AUTB 125. The emphasis will be geared to a more practical, hands-on experience through the use of frame machines, laser measuring devices, and various shop equipment and hand tools. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AUTB 200: Automotive Refinishing I

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: none

Provides fundamental instruction of hands-on skill and knowledge in the painting and refinishing, including metal preparation, sanding techniques, masking and priming. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AUTB 201: Automotive Refinishing Practice

Units (Credits): 1–6; Prerequisites: none

Further develops student skills by putting into practice the theories taught in AUTB 200. The emphasis will be geared to a more practical, hands-on experience through use of the various spray guns and finish techniques. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AUTB 205: Auto Refinishing II

Units (Credits): 1–6; Prerequisites: AUTB 200

Continues AUTB 200 with more advanced hands-on skill and knowledge in the painting and refinishing of auto bodies. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AUTB 206: Automotive Refinishing Practice II

Units (Credits): 1–9; Prerequisites: AUTB 205

Further develops student skills by putting into practice the theories taught in AUTB 205. Emphasizes a more practical, hands-on experience through use of different style guns and spray equipment, paint materials, color matching, etc. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AUTB 210: Plastic Composite and Adhesives

Units (Credits): 1–6; Prerequisites: AUTB 120 or consent of instructor

Offers an in-depth study of the new plastics, composite panels and the adhesion process. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AUTB 211: Plastic, Composites & Adhesives Practice

Units (Credits): 1–6; Prerequisites: AUTB 120, AUTB 200

Further develops student skills by putting into practice the theories taught in AUTB 210. The emphasis will be geared to a more practical, hands-on experience through an in-depth study of the new plastics, composite panels and the adhesion process for them. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AUTB 220: Auto Collision & Refinishing Estimating

Units (Credits): 3–6; Prerequisites: basic computer skills

Familiarizes students with the estimating portion of the auto collision and refinishing program. The course involves analyzing damage in-depth, creating a damage report and using computer software for the process. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

Automotive Mechanics (AUTO)

Career and Technical Education Division

AUTO 101: Introduction to General Mechanics

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: none

Introduces principles, design, construction and maintenance of automobiles. Includes safety, use of manuals, selection and use of hand tools, and hand-held test instruments. Introduces general maintenance of various systems. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AUTO 111: Automotive Electricity

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: none

Introduces principles and theory of automotive electricity and the maintenance of automobile electrical systems. Includes safety, use of manuals, selection and use of hand tools, and hand-held test instruments. Introduces a variety of different electrical systems and accessories. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AUTO 112: Automotive Electricity II

Units (Credits): 3–6; Prerequisites: AUTO 111 or consent of instructor

Further develops student skills by putting into practice the theories taught in AUTO 111. Provides practical, hands-on experience through the use of Multi meters, VAT 40, manuals, selection and use of hand tools, and hand held test instruments. Shop safety and cleanup are always stressed. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AUTO 115: Auto Electricity & Electronics I

Units (Credits): 3–7; Prerequisites: AUTO 101 or consent of instructor

Topics include mastery of DC electricity, use of digital multimeters, troubleshooting electrical problems in starting, charging and accessory systems. Prepares students for ASE certification. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AUTO 117: Advanced Auto Electronics

Units (Credits): 4; Prerequisites: AUTO 115

Teaches advanced AC and DC automotive electronic circuits, troubleshooting of electronically controlled components including supplemental restraint systems and convenience accessories. Prepares students for ASE certification. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AUTO 130: Engine Reconditioning

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: AUTO 101

Introduces principles, design, construction and maintenance of automobile engines. Includes overhaul of various systems in the engine (valve, train, oiling system, etc.) safety, use of manuals, selection and use of hand tools. Introduces a variety of systems. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AUTO 140: Automotive Brake Systems

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: none

Introduces principles, design, construction and maintenance of automotive brake systems including antilock systems. Includes safety, use of manuals, selection and use of hand tools, power tools and hand-held test instruments. Introduces general maintenance of a variety of different systems. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AUTO 141: Automotive Brake Systems Practice

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: AUTO 140 or consent of instructor

Further develops student skills by putting into practice the theories taught in AUTO 140. Provides practical, hands-on experience through the use of the brake lathe and bleeder, scanners, troubleshooting guides and brake hand tools. Shop safety and cleanup are always stressed. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AUTO 145: Automotive Brakes

Units (Credits): 3–7; Prerequisites: AUTO 101 or consent of instructor

Focuses on theory, diagnosis, and service of drum, disc, and anti-lock braking systems, brake component machining, hydraulic component reconditioning, friction and hardware replacement. Prepares students for ASE certification. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AUTO 150: Steering & Suspension Systems

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: none

Introduces principles, design, construction and maintenance of automotive steering and suspension system. Includes safety, use of manuals, and selection and use of hand tools, power tools and test equipment. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AUTO 151: Steering Suspension System Practice

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: AUTO 150 or consent of instructor

Develops student skills by putting into practice the theories taught in AUTO 150. The emphasis will be geared to a more practical, hands-on experience through the use of the computer 4-wheel alignment, scanners, use of manuals, selection and use of hand tools and hand-held test instruments. Expands on maintenance of a variety of systems and accessories. Shop safety and cleanup are always stressed. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AUTO 155: Steering & Suspension

Units (Credits): 3–7; Prerequisites: AUTO 101 or consent of instructor

Teaches diagnosis/service of suspension components including shocks, springs, ball joints, manual and power steering system and four wheel alignment are some areas covered. Prepares students for ASE certification. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AUTO 160: Auto Air Conditioning & Heating

Units (Credits): 1–3; Prerequisites: none

Introduces principles design, construction and maintenance of automotive air conditioning systems. Includes safety, use of manuals, selection and use of hand tools, and hand-held test instruments, evacuating systems, charging/recovery systems and other specialized air conditioning tools. Introduces general maintenance of a variety of different air conditioning systems. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AUTO 190: Beginning Automotive Upholstery

Units (Credits): 3–6; Prerequisites: none

Covers the basics of cutting, fitting and stitching for all types of seats in cars, vans, motorcycles and boats. The student will learn how to operate the sewing machine, layout patterns and repair seat frames. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AUTO 195: Advanced Automotive Upholstery

Units (Credits): 3–6; Prerequisites: AUTO 190

Continues AUTO 190. Students work with custom upholstery designs such as tuck and roll, button and pleat, etc. Includes work with convertible tops, vinyl tops and headliners. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AUTO 196: Automotive Projects

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: consent of instructor

Permits students to pursue special projects and/or explore areas of specific interest under the direction of a college instructor. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AUTO 198: Special Topics in Automotive Mechanics

Units (Credits): 3–6; Prerequisites: none

Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AUTO 200: Standard Transmissions

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: none

Introduces principles, design, construction and maintenance of automotive standard transmission. Includes safety, use of manuals, selection and use of hand tools, power tools and test equipment. Studies transmission principles and systems. Includes disassembly and overhaul of various standard automobile transmissions. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AUTO 205: Manual Drive Trains and Axles

Units (Credits): 3–7; Prerequisites: none

Introduces principles, design, construction and maintenance of automobile ignition systems. Includes safety, use of manuals selection and use of hand tools, and handheld test instruments. Introduces general maintenance of various systems. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AUTO 210: Automatic Transmission & Transaxles I

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: none

Introduces principles, design, construction and maintenance of automatic transmissions used in today's automobiles. Includes safety, use of manuals, selection and use of hand tools, and appropriate transmission test instruments. Introduces maintenance of a variety of different automatic transmissions. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AUTO 211: Automatic Transmission & Transaxles II

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: AUTO 210

Concentrates on knowledge, skills, principles, design, construction and maintenance of automatic transmissions used in today's automobiles. Amplifies competencies learned in AUTO 210. Includes safety, use of manuals, selection and use of hand tools, and appropriate transmission test instruments. Introduces general maintenance of a variety of different automatic transmissions. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AUTO 220: Automotive Engine Performance I

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: none

Introduces principles, design, construction and maintenance of automobile ignition systems. Includes safety, use of manuals, selection and use of hand tools, and handheld test instruments. Introduces general maintenance of a variety of different systems. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AUTO 221: Automotive Engine Performance II

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: AUTO 220

Guides students through the basic theory of automotive emissions, description of emission control, operation of the controls system, trouble shooting and repair. Includes safety, use of manuals, selection and use of hand tools and handheld test instruments and engine analyzers. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AUTO 222: Automotive Computer Systems

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: AUTO 230 or consent of instructor

Introduces principles, design, construction and maintenance of automobile ignition systems and fuel systems. Studies General Motors, Ford EEC, Chrysler and foreign computer systems. Covers principles of operation, fuel managements, air management and all sensors including solenoids. Reviews basic electricity, electronic spark timing and high energy ignition systems. Includes safety, use of manuals, selection and use of hand tools, hand-held test instruments and engine analyzers. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AUTO 225: Engine Performance I/Fuel & Ignition

Units (Credits): 3–7; Prerequisites: AUTO 101 or consent of instructor

Studies engine related subsystems which include ignition, fuel, cooling, starting, and charging systems. Covers theory and testing of computerized engine management systems. Prepares students for ASE certification. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AUTO 227: Engine Performance II/Emission Control

Units (Credits): 4; Prerequisites: AUTO 225

Automotive emission control systems. Preparation on current gas analyzers for the purpose of diagnosis and repair of specific emission devices. Prepares students for ASE certification. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AUTO 229: Advanced Automotive Electricity

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: AUTO 111

Continues study of material presented in AUTO 111. Reviews and amplifies principles and theory of automotive electricity and the maintenance of automobile electrical systems. Focuses on electronic applications. Includes safety, use of manuals, selection and use of hand tools and handheld test instruments. Introduces testing and servicing automotive electronic components. Expands on maintenance of a variety of systems and accessories. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AUTO 230: Advanced Engine Performance

Units (Credits): 3; Prerequisites: AUTO 220 or consent of instructor

Introduces principles, design, construction and maintenance of automobile ignition systems and fuel systems. Includes safety, use of manuals, selection and use of hand tools, handheld test instruments and engine analyzers. Introduces general maintenance of a variety of different systems. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AUTO 235: Engine Performance III/Diagnostics

Units (Credits): 4; Prerequisites: AUTO 227

Studies computerized engine and fuel management control, operational theory of automotive computers and the use of hand held diagnostic interfaces. Prepares students for ASE certification. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AUTO 293: Work Experience I

Units (Credits): 1–6; Prerequisites: consent of instructor

Provides the student with on-the-job supervised and educationally directed work experience. Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

AUTO 294: Independent Study II

Units (Credits): 1–3; Prerequisites: none

Note: Non-transferable for an NSHE baccalaureate degree. Non-applicable towards an AA, AB or AS Degree.

Biology (BIOL)

Liberal Arts Division

BIOL 100: General Biology For Non-Science Majors

Units (Credits): 3–4; Prerequisites: none; Recommended: MATH 120, MATH 126 or higher

Covers fundamental concepts and theories of life science. Major topics include cellular/molecular biology, anatomy, physiology, genetics, evolution and ecology. Includes four laboratory experiences.

II. Course Objectives and Linkage to General Education Program

The information in the parentheses after a course objective refers to the specific general education (GE) learning outcome that the objective meets. Objectives without this information are not linked to WNC’s general education program. Upon successful completion of BIOL 100 General Biology for Non-Science Majors, (defined as a 75% course score or better) learners will be able to:
  • Explain the major characteristics of science, including that it is a particular way of knowing that seeks natural causes for phenomena and depends on observations that can be confirmed; that it is evidence-based and ideas can change in response to new evidence; how it, and biology in particular, have affected humanity (GE #1);
  • Explain the difference between scientific vs. non-scientific ideas, and evaluate secondary sources of scientific information for evidence-based credibility and scientific accuracy (GE #1);

The automobile is the defining technological artifact of the twentieth century. Its familiarity, however, belies its complexity. It is no mean feat to design a car that is fast and powerful yet comfortable and safe-and still affordable. Factor in a few more constraints-durability, ease of repair, enough room for a few kids and the family dog, and an ample power supply for the electric windows, air-conditioning, CD player, and heated seats-and the challenge becomes clear. Precisely because the automobile has become an integral part of our lives, consumer expectations establish a set of formidable and often conflicting design objectives.

Over the last 25 years, automakers have faced growing pressure to incorporate environmental objectives into their designs as well. In particular, consumers and the federal government have pushed for improvements in fuel economy as a way to conserve oil and control pollution. The automobile industry has responded: the gas mileage of the average new car rose from 14.2 to 28.2 miles per gallon between 1974 and 1995.

Now public pressure to improve fuel economy is again rising, in part because of concern over the prospect of global climate change. (Automobiles account for about one-quarter of carbon dioxide emissions, a major contributor to the greenhouse effect.) The key to improving a vehicle’s fuel economy is weight reduction: the smaller a vehicle is, the less power it requires to accelerate and the less energy to maintain a fixed speed. Traditionally, the automotive industry has reduced weight primarily by downsizing, a strategy that has succeeded in cutting the weight of a typical car from 3,500 pounds to 2,500 pounds over the past 20 years. Today, that strategy has reached its limits. Substantial improvements will be possible only through a new approach: making the automobile body out of lightweight materials instead of basic carbon steel.

Although the body accounts for only about one-third of the weight of an automobile, reducing the weight of the body is the sine qua non of the lightweight, fuel-efficient automobile. A car with a lighter body can use a lighter engine, a less massive suspension, and a less elaborate structure. These secondary weight savings can roughly double the benefits: for every 10 pounds saved by reducing the weight of the body, another 10 pounds can be saved by downsizing other parts of the car.

What’s more, many new technologies designed to improve fuel economy are feasible only for cars that are substantially lighter than today’s. Automobile engines, for instance, must balance the goals of efficiency (energy per distance traveled) and power (the force needed to accelerate the car). High-efficiency internal combustion engines, electric engines, or hybrid engines that combine the two are all far less powerful than conventional engines and will achieve a comparable level of performance only with a much lighter vehicle. Reducing the mass of the body is essential to creating a synergy between light weight and new engine technologies.

In 1993, a highly influential paper by energy analyst Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute suggested that major automakers (or anyone else with the gumption) could use existing materials and technologies to produce an ultra-lightweight, highly fuel-efficient vehicle. The “supercar” he envisioned would incorporate lightweight plastics, computerized controls, and a hybrid powerplant-a power system that would combine a traditional heat engine and an electric motor, like a modern locomotive. It would weigh roughly 1,000 pounds and achieve well over 150 miles per gallon-yet it would retain the safety and convenience features of today’s automobile.

Lovins pointed out, correctly, that the materials and technologies that would make a supercar possible are fundamentally incompatible with the design, manufacturing, and organizational processes around which the automobile industry is structured. He therefore argued that only a revolution in the industry would lead to a supercar; efforts to improve fuel economy and performance through the incremental adoption of new materials and technologies would cost too much and yield too little.

The supercar concept attracted a great deal of attention among environmentalists, auto industry leaders, and policymakers and even helped inspire an unusual alliance-though its goals fall somewhat short of Lovins’s. In 1994, U.S. auto companies and the federal government joined forces to launch the Program for a New Generation of Vehicles, an aggressive research and development project whose goal is to produce a car that meets a fuel-economy standard three times higher than today’s 27.5 miles per gallon and that offers the performance and convenience of a conventional car-for the same price. By combining the resources of the national laboratories and the major U.S. automakers, PNGV researchers hope to develop a prototype vehicle within 10 years and to mass produce and market it within 20.

The question is not whether an ultra-lightweight vehicle offering revolutionary improvements in fuel economy can be built. Automakers already know that it can. The question is whether such a car can be made affordable, and what kinds of changes in the automobile industry will be necessary to bring us closer to that goal. In particular, automakers and supercar proponents are debating the costs and benefits of two classes of materials that could serve as lightweight substitutes for steel in vehicle bodies: aluminum, which can be adopted with only incremental change in the industry’s design and manufacturing processes; and plastics, which cannot.

Aluminum’s Pluses and Minuses

A light metal 45 percent as dense as conventional steel, aluminum has been used as a major structural material in the aerospace industry for many years. Although it is expensive-aluminum sheet sells for about $1.50 per pound, compared with about 30 cents per pound for steel sheet-researchers in the automobile industry have begun to investigate the possibility of substituting aluminum for steel in vehicle bodies.

One of the main advantages of switching to aluminum, compared with other lightweight materials, is that it can be formed using many of the techniques already applied in making automobiles out of steel. Thus the industry could continue to use much of its existing equipment. And designing for aluminum is not drastically different from designing for steel-an important advantage in an industry where engineers are reluctant to experiment with relatively untried materials.

Of course, the fact that automobile bodies are not largely aluminum today suggests that the material also has disadvantages. Besides being more expensive than steel, aluminum is only about one-third as stiff-a crucial limitation in automobile body design. Stiffness can be increased somewhat by changing the geometry of the design (curved shapes are stiffer than flat ones), but this is problematic in an industry where shape and style are important sales concepts. An easier solution is to make flat aluminum body panels-fenders, hoods, and doors-thicker than steel panels to ensure that they perform equally well. This imposes higher material costs, however, and offsets the weight advantage to some extent.

Another problem is the high electrical conductivity of aluminum, which makes spot welding difficult. Spot welding is the standard method for assembling steel automobile bodies. The two parts being joined are clamped between two electrodes and electrical current is applied, thereby heating the two parts at the point of contact, leading to diffusion bonding. (The metal does not actually melt, since this would reduce the material’s performance and lead to corrosion and part failure.)

Because aluminum conducts heat better than steel, it takes a lot more electricity and larger electrodes to make the metal hot enough to bond. And because the electrodes stay in contact with the aluminum longer while the current is being applied, aluminum atoms are more likely to diffuse into the electrode, shortening its useful life. Aluminum vehicles will probably therefore rely on alternative assembly techniques, including seam welding (in which a strip of molten metal is applied more or less like glue), adhesives, and mechanical fasteners.

Unibody versus Space Frame

The challenge facing the automobile industry is how to design an aluminum automobile so as to capture the advantages of the material and minimize the disadvantages. There are two competing possibilities: a unibody, short for “unitized body,” the design used for steel automobiles; or a space-frame design, essentially a large truss structure covered with a thin skin.

In a unibody, the vehicle’s body panels are joined together to form a shell structure. This makes efficient use of the high stiffness of the body panels. Although aluminum is not as stiff as steel, if the panels are made thick enough and appropriate joining techniques are used, the unibody design will work well with this material.

However, the unibody design poses two related problems. First, it is relatively difficult (and therefore expensive) to make complex surfaces, such as cutouts or elaborate curves, from relatively stiff metal body panels. If designers attempt to circumvent this problem by using materials that are easier to form, the second problem arises: because the unibody derives most of its structural performance from the way its parts are attached, those parts must be composed of materials that can easily be joined. Without an inexpensive way to fasten two dissimilar materials to one another, the unibody design essentially requires the automaker to manufacture cars using a single class of materials.

In response to these objections, designers are exploring the space frame. In this design, the vehicle structure is composed, in effect, of a lattice of metal rails, similar to a bridge truss. The vehicle does not rely on body panels for structural performance and in fact can be driven without any panels attached. This design does not work well for steel, in part because complex steel rails are not that much easier to make than complex steel body panels. Today the consensus among automakers is that the unibody is the most efficient way to make a mass-market vehicle out of steel.

However, the space frame is gaining renewed attention from designers working with alternative materials, especially aluminum. It is easier to make complex rails out of aluminum than steel because, unlike steel, aluminum can be extruded-formed into complex tubular shapes-in a process similar to pasta-making. These extruded, hollow rails can be far stiffer than solid bars of equivalent weight. Extrusion is easily adapted to mass production; it is already used on a large scale to manufacture construction shapes such as window frames and pipes. Several designs for aluminum space-frame vehicles have been developed, each using differing combinations of extrusions, castings, and sheet metal. While the jury is still out, with the right combination of materials the space frame may someday challenge the unibody in mainstream automobile production.

Is Aluminum Affordable?

An aluminum vehicle based on either design would bring us closer to the goal of building a lightweight car at a relatively moderate increase in cost. A typical steel unibody weighs just under 600 pounds, while an all-aluminum unibody weighs about 325 pounds and various aluminum space-frame designs would weigh between 285 and 385 pounds. Thus either design could cut the weight of the body nearly in half; a lighter engine, suspension, transmission, and so forth could double the number of pounds saved. (Of course, weight may be added in other areas to compensate for the deficiencies of the new design-for instance, a lightweight car cannot rely on its structural components to protect passengers in the event of a crash and so will need to employ additional systems, like airbags, which add some weight.)

Just how much fuel savings are generated by lightweighting the body alone? Reducing the weight of the vehicle by 300 pounds can increase fuel economy by as much as 15 percent. This would increase the gas mileage of a typical mid-sized car, such as the Ford Taurus, from about 22 to about 25 miles per gallon, and reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from about 410 grams of CO2 per mile driven to about 355 grams per mile. Secondary weight savings would double the improvement in fuel economy and the reduction in emissions. More dramatic improvements in fuel economy would result in proportional decreases in CO2 emissions, but these would require much more drastic measures than mere lightweighting: more efficient engine technologies, for instance, and probably less room and fewer conveniences than the American consumer typically expects.

A lightweight aluminum car based on either of these designs is likely to be somewhat more expensive than today’s steel car when produced in large volumes, according to cost analyses by members of the Materials Systems Laboratory at MIT. At very low production volumes (less than 20,000 vehicles per year), aluminum space frames are actually cheaper than a steel unibody: the least expensive space-frame design would cost about $4,500, compared with $5,800 for a steel unibody and $7,200 for an aluminum unibody.

However, these production volumes are much too low for mass-market vehicles. Popular models such as the Ford Taurus are produced in volumes of 300,000 to 500,000. Even niche vehicles-luxury cars like the Lincoln Continental-have production runs between 40,000 and 80,000. To be considered affordable, a lightweight vehicle must be able to be manufactured inexpensively in large quantities.

At production volumes of about 100,000, the steel unibody is the cheapest design, at an estimated unit cost of $2,500. Aluminum space frames are a bit more expensive-the cheapest design costs about $2,800-while the aluminum unibody costs about $3,600. For more typical production runs of 300,000, the cost of the steel unibody declines to an estimated $1,400, and the aluminum unibody becomes cheaper than the aluminum space frame ($2,000 compared with $2,400).

The changing cost profiles for the three designs result from differences in their manufacturing processes. Metal stamping-the process by which both steel and aluminum unibodies are made-is better able to capture economies of scale than extrusion. As a result, the unit costs of both kinds of unibodies decline as they are produced in greater quantity; the cost differential between them is largely explained by the difference in the cost of the raw material.

The space frame follows a different pattern. Because the capital costs of extrusion are far lower than those of steel stamping, space frames are less expensive than unibodies at low production volumes. But extruded parts require finishing and heat treating, which are time consuming. Furthermore, the rate at which extruded parts can be formed is far slower than the rate at which stamped parts can be made. As a result, unit costs do not decline as dramatically when production volumes increase. Higher production volumes ultimately shift the economics in favor of the unibody.

Given that a vehicle with an aluminum body is going to cost $300 to $1,100 more than a vehicle with a steel body, will increases in fuel economy make up for the increased cost over the lifetime of the vehicle? The answer depends on a variety of factors: the total weight (and cost) of the vehicle, the efficiency of its engine, and the price of fuel. However, the increase in fuel economy attributable to the aluminum body alone would pay for itself only if the price of gasoline were to rise. If the price of gasoline remains between $1.20 and $1.50 per gallon, the money saved on gas would not be enough to make up for the higher cost: the life cycle cost of an aluminum unibody produced in volumes of 300,000 would remain about $300 more than that of a steel unibody. But if the price of gasoline rose to $2.30 per gallon, the owner of the aluminum-based car would break even over the vehicle’s lifetime. It is reasonable to think that under these circumstances, consumers might be willing to pay the higher up-front cost of an aluminum-based car.

The Appeal of Plastics

Advocates of the revolutionary approach, however, stress the advantages of plastics as a more radical lightweight alternative to steel. Plastics are more than twice as light as aluminum and can be formed into a much wider variety of shapes. Moreover, the equipment used to manufacture plastics costs much less than the heavy stamping equipment required to make metal parts. These qualities have attracted automakers’ interest since the 1960s.

Today the industry has incorporated plastics in a variety of uses; they form the interior components of most cars, for example, as well as bumper covers and fenders. Manufacturers and designers have also used polymeric composites-plastics reinforced with either glass or carbon fibers-in the bodies of race cars and some commercially produced vehicles. In the 1980s, as automakers looked for new ways to reduce vehicle mass, many in the industry began to investigate the use of polymeric composites to substitute for steel in automobile bodies.

Like aluminum, composite materials have their disadvantages. For one thing, they are more expensive than other automotive materials. The plastic resin mixture costs between $1 and $10 per pound and glass fiber prices start around $1 per pound. Glass fiber polymeric composites are price competitive with aluminum or steel only when used in small quantities or in complex shapes that are prohibitively expensive to form from metal.

In addition, ordinary plastics are between one-thirtieth and one-sixtieth as stiff as steel, while reinforced plastics are about one-fifteenth as stiff as steel. The traditional uses of plastics in automobile interiors capture the advantages of light weight and ease of formation without requiring a high degree of stiffness. Unibodies, however, have to be stiff to perform effectively. Structural panels composed of reinforced plastics must therefore be much thicker than their metal counterparts, offsetting the reduced weight and raising costs even further.

Carbon fiber composites have drawn the industry’s interest as an alternative to glass fiber composites because they are stiffer. Panels composed of these materials can be made thinner-and thus lighter-than their glass-reinforced counterparts. However, carbon fiber composites are prohibitively expensive: carbon fiber prices start at $20 per pound and rise dramatically with increases in fiber strength and stiffness.

Polymer-based unibodies are also difficult to manufacture. Although bodies made of reinforced composites would require only one-third as many parts as conventional metal bodies, these parts would have to be made to fit together exactly-something that is beyond the state of assembly art today. Since plastic resin and carbon fibers contract at different rates as they cool, the parts are bound to warp and shrink slightly in ways that vary unpredictably from piece to piece. That’s not unusual-steel changes shape as it cools, too-but materials like steel can be bent and twisted into shape. For instance, assembly-line workers use wooden mallets and two-by-fours to make sure steel car doors hang properly and seal when closed. Reinforced plastic components cannot be deformed in this fashion-plastic will break sooner than bend-so there is no easy way to compensate for slight imperfections in the way parts fit.

Finally, producing an affordable vehicle requires large-scale production, with volumes of at least 30,000 units per year and possibly an order of magnitude higher. While nonstructural plastic components can easily be manufactured on this scale, processing technologies for reinforced plastics are better suited to lot sizes of hundreds or thousands rather than hundreds of thousands. The cheapest way to shift to mass production of polymeric materials would be to speed up the process, making many more parts with the same equipment. But the processes involved in manufacturing and shaping reinforced polymer-based materials are not particularly amenable to this kind of straightforward scale-up.

The critical problem is that processing these kinds of plastics is inherently slow. The parts are formed by preparing a mixture of ingredients and waiting for them to cool or react chemically. For parts the size of automobile body panels, this process can take a minute or more. By comparison, steel parts can be stamped in less than 10 seconds. It is hard to find ways to increase the rate of chemical reactions or the rate of heat transfer-if plastic cools too rapidly it becomes brittle, and if chemical reactions are sped up they become difficult to control.

To make a large number of plastic parts, then, automakers would need to buy multiple machines and set up parallel production lines-steps that would more than offset the capital advantage of plastic production and increase administrative overhead. While parallel production lines may sound feasible in theory, they are very difficult to coordinate in practice. As a result, automakers have tended to avoid processes that require more than two parallel production lines.

Ultralite=Ultracostly

How much weight could a plastic unibody save, and at what cost? The most radical polymer system is the Ultralite, a “concept car” based on carbon fiber composites that was developed by GM researchers given a mandate to obtain the highest possible gas mileage. The car, which was built by hand, incorporated a variety of weight- and fuel-saving technologies. Although the car was capable of getting more than 100 miles per gallon, it cannot be considered a prototype for a mass-market vehicle: it did not contain the space or safety features most consumers would consider essential and was never road- or crash-tested. Nevertheless, at 308 pounds, it represents the lightest auto body yet built of polymeric materials.

Although the Ultralite weighs about the same as an aluminum space frame, it would cost significantly more to produce in large volumes. At production volumes of 100,000, for instance, each Ultralite-style unibody would cost about $6,400. This estimate is based on the assumption that carbon fiber prices will remain at about $20 per pound. Proponents of polymeric materials have argued that the price of carbon fibers will decline as demand rises. But even if the price of carbon fibers fell to $5 per pound-a trend we do not foresee, since the production of carbon fibers is not necessarily amenable to economies of scale-the plastic unibody would still cost $3,500, compared with $2,500 for a steel unibody and $2,800 for an aluminum space frame at comparable production volumes. Moreover, at higher production volumes, the price of a steel or aluminum unibody will fall considerably, while the price of a polymer-intensive unibody will fall much less, making it an even less economically sound choice.

It is unlikely that the increase in fuel economy attributable to the body alone would make up for the higher cost of a polymer-based body. At prices of $1.20 to $1.50 per gallon of gasoline, the Ultralite body would still cost some $4,500 more than either a steel or an aluminum unibody over its life cycle. In fact, carbon fiber-reinforced polymer-intensive bodies would still cost about $4,000 more than steel bodies even if gasoline prices rose to $4.00 per gallon, as is the case in Europe.

What Manufacturers Are Doing Now

Given the state of manufacturing art, the automobile industry has been taking an incremental approach to the use of new materials, gradually adopting new applications of aluminum, polymers, and advanced steels. For example, Ford is working closely with several aluminum companies on a project called Concept 2000 to produce 20 to 40 all-aluminum Taurus sedans, which the company is now testing and evaluating. The vehicle, which uses a unibody design, is only a few hundred pounds lighter than its steel counterpart, largely because the project engineers did not change the powertrain or suspension or redesign the vehicle to achieve other secondary weight savings. The project was intended only as a test of the manufacturability of an all-aluminum car, with the goal of identifying the changes in forming technology that would be needed to produce it. It is not yet clear whether Ford regards the experiment as successful.

Alcoa and Audi have collaborated on the Audi A8, a luxury sedan based on an aluminum space frame that is being produced at low volumes and marketed in Europe. Much of the weight savings gained by the use of aluminum are canceled out by accoutrements intended to boost the car’s appeal in a high-end market. The vehicle does, however, demonstrate the viability of a design that utilizes aluminum extrusions and castings as well as the wrought sheet used in the panels.

The automobile industry is also attempting to develop production techniques to put plastics on mass-produced vehicles (notably GM’s Saturn car lines), but even here the plastic components are not critical structural elements of the vehicle. All Saturns, for instance, use plastic body panels to cover a steel space frame. Because they have no structural role, the panels are made not of reinforced composites but of ordinary plastics, which can be produced in quantities of hundreds of thousands. The choice of material is governed less by weight considerations than by cosmetics: plastic panels give the vehicle its distinctive shape and resist dents and scratches. In fact, the weight saving achieved by the use of plastic panels is at least partly offset by the need to use more steel in structural components to maintain the expected level of performance.

Automakers have found that, with an aggressive effort, they can substitute polymers for steel in a handful of major nontraditional applications, such as roofs, hoods, floor pans, and engine cradles, but many are also discovering that the costs are too high and the weight savings unimpressive. GM has also experimented with glass fiber composites on the body panels of its APV vans for a number of years but recently concluded that the material is just too expensive. The company plans to return to using steel.

While they continue to experiment with glass fiber-reinforced polymers in niche-market vehicles-a well-established platform for innovation-automakers appear to have decided that these materials are not useful in applications with production volumes over 80,000, because at these volumes the benefits do not justify the costs. Moreover, it appears that the industry is already using plastics in most of the applications that are best suited to the material’s strengths. Further substitutions of plastics for steel will be much harder to accomplish, because these are the uses that capitalize specifically on the properties of metals.

Another material that may play a role in incremental change is high-strength steel. The thickness of steel parts used in automobiles is usually determined by the degree of stiffness they require, but in about 20 percent of applications the important property is strength. For instance, a beam in every car door protects passengers in the event of a crash. New high-strength steel alloys are two to three times as strong as conventional carbon steel, so a beam made of the new material could weigh one-half to one-third as much as the beam used in car doors today. A number of steel companies based in different countries have hired Porsche Engineering Services to come up with a body design incorporating all the potential applications of lightweight steel. They estimate that the body could weigh 10 to 20 percent less than a conventional steel unibody, at a cost up to 15 percent higher.

The Program for a New Generation of Vehicles, meanwhile, is investigating the potential uses of advanced steels, plastics, and aluminum, as well as such exotic-and expensive-substances as magnesium and titanium. At this early stage, researchers are trying to identify the technologies that could make up the platform for an affordable advanced vehicle. They appear to be focusing their efforts on the concept of a hybrid diesel-electric engine, for instance, and on aluminum as the dominant material for structural applications (although the vehicle will undoubtedly incorporate a variety of advanced materials for other uses.) Whether or not the program ultimately succeeds in developing a vehicle that is affordable-and there are rumblings that insiders believe it won’t-the effort will give the auto industry valuable experience with new materials and technologies.

Concentrating on What We Can Do

Whatever strategy the industry adopts, a vehicle made of lightweight materials is clearly going to cost more than today’s conventional car. The fuel economy of these vehicles is also going to depend upon a lot more than the shift to lightweight materials; significant gains will require changes in consumers’ expectations. Given our assumptions about how roomy a car should be, how swiftly it should accelerate, how fast it should go, and how comfortable it should be to ride in, it is difficult to make a car much lighter than, say, the all-aluminum Taurus that will still be a vehicle most of today’s consumers want to buy.

Nevertheless, the specter of the supercar haunts the debate over carbon-dioxide-induced global warming and feeds public pressure for government to mandate more radical reforms. If we can make a better tennis racket out of Kevlar, the argument goes, why can’t we make a better automobile out of the same kind of material? One answer is: although consumers may be willing to pay three times as much for their advanced composite tennis rackets, they are unlikely to be willing (or able) to pay quite the same price premium for an advanced composite car.

A supercar like that envisioned by the Program for a New Generation of Vehicles-one that achieves 80 miles per gallon, maintains the same level of convenience, and costs the same as today’s car-is beyond our capabilities today and for the near future. Any two of these three objectives can be achieved today, but putting all three together will require major technological breakthroughs. It is thus impractical for the industry to jettison today’s automobile designs and technology to pursue this technological chimera.

Because we cannot mass-produce an affordable, ultra-lightweight polymer-based vehicle body, we should concentrate instead on what we can do. For instance, we can make an aluminum body that performs as well as the steel alternative but costs only marginally more. The incremental application of the broad spectrum of advanced materials technologies available today can yield real benefits in efficiency, utility, and performance without incurring insupportable costs. Although relatively unexciting and unglamorous, incremental strategies for vehicle weight reduction are the only credible approach for beginning the transition to an economical, fuel-efficient vehicle.

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