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A Fluid Mechanics Laboratory Nozzle Design Experience

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.12.1 - 3.12.9

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Paper Authors

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Harish K. Krishnaswamy

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Ryan B. Wicker

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3626


Ryan B. Wicker, Harish K. Krishnaswamy The University of Texas at El Paso Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department El Paso, Texas 79968


As part of a four week fluid mechanics laboratory, students were challenged to design and manufacture the least restrictive flow nozzle for a standard test condition within several design constraints. The Nozzle Design Challenge (NDC) combined analysis, design, manufacturing, and experimentation. Each group of two students was given two acrylic rods of circular cross section from which individual flow nozzles were manufactured. Students were given preliminary nozzle design information contained in Fox and McDonald1 and encouraged to obtain information from additional sources. The NDC was also a topic of discussion during the first few minutes of the lecture. The group’s final nozzle design was based on previous experience obtained from the literature and analysis, and through experimentation. The entire design process and experimental results were detailed in the final laboratory report following the report writing format contained in Beer and McMurrey2.

The positive student responses to the NDC were overwhelming. Formal evaluation of the results included the measured nozzle flow rates, amount of time spent in the laboratory, and the graded laboratory report. The highest flow rate nozzle allowed 210% more flow than the nozzle with a 1-inch diameter hole used for demonstration. Every group spent more time in the laboratory than was scheduled, indicating high levels of motivation for the project. However, the students did not perform as well on the laboratory reports, as indicated by low laboratory report grades. The authors suggest that there was not sufficient time provided to the students for the write-up, which contributed to the low report grades.


In traditional fluid mechanics laboratory courses, students perform various experiments that highlight fundamental principles. UTEP, like many other institutions, has been investing in improving its laboratories. Many of the traditional experiments have been automated using computer data acquisition and control. Although the students, in general, have responded positively to the automated experiments, these experiments may require little to no active participation of the students, depending on the level of automation.

At UTEP, undergraduate fluid mechanics is a four credit hour course made up of three lecture and three laboratory hours each week. Mechanical, Industrial, and Civil Engineering students are required to take this course, yielding a fluid mechanics student population of widely varying backgrounds. The resulting fluid mechanics student population has significant differences in level of motivation for and interest in the study of fluid mechanics. In an attempt to involve the students in a more active laboratory experience and increase the level of motivation for the study

Krishnaswamy, H. K., & Wicker, R. B. (1998, June), A Fluid Mechanics Laboratory Nozzle Design Experience Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington.

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