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A Demo Every Day: Bringing Fluid Mechanics to Life

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Thermodynamics, Fluids and Heat Transfer I

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.33.1 - 26.33.33



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Paper Authors


Laura A Garrison York College of Pennsylvania

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Dr. Laura Garrison received her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Texas and her M.S. in Operations Research from Stanford University. She then worked for AT&T Bell Laboratories and AT&T Federal Systems before deciding to pursue her Ph.D. in Bioengineering at Penn State University in the area of experimental fluid mechanics associated with the artificial heart. After graduating, she worked at Voith Hydro for five years in the area of Computational Fluid Mechanics. For the last twelve years, she has been a professor at York College of Pennsylvania where she teaches thermal sciences, freshmen design courses, and computer programming.

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Timothy J. Garrison York College of Pennsylvania

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Timothy Garrison is Coordinator of the Mechanical Engineering program at York College of Pennsylvania.

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A Demo Every Day: Bringing Fluid Mechanics to LifeFluid Mechanics can seem particularly non-intuitive to the typical student. For example, moststudents will tell you that if velocity increases, the pressure also increases. Preconceptions suchas these can be difficult for students to overcome. Multiple types of exposure to each topic, suchas lecture, problem solving, and reading assignments can help, but demonstrations add anothertype of exposure that is not only informative and visual, but also enjoyable. Demonstrationsduring a lecture period can increase attentiveness and give the students a “feel” for the topic,helping them actually believe the concept that they are learning. These demos also provide anexcellent memory point for the students to reference when they need to use the concept to solve aproblem. Additionally, since both the instructor and student have experienced the demotogether, the instructor can allude to the demo in order to help correct a misconception. Byreminding the student of a demonstration, both student and professor have a starting point fordiscussion. This paper describes in detail over 20 demonstrations and videos that can be used toimprove student understanding and to increase interest in the various topics associated with fluidmechanics. Demonstrations and videos have been developed for all of the topics covered in atypical fluid mechanics course including hydrostatics, viscosity, control volume analysis,similarity, Navier-Stokes solutions, pipe flow, minor losses, and external flow. Most of thedemonstrations are inexpensive and were homemade by the authors and their students; mostvideos are readily available on The paper will review each of the demos/videos,discuss how they are incorporated into the class, and describe how to fabricate/procure the demoequipment.

Garrison, L. A., & Garrison, T. J. (2015, June), A Demo Every Day: Bringing Fluid Mechanics to Life Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23374

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