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A Freshman Module To Teach Instrumentation Methods

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.23.1 - 5.23.9



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Paper Authors

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Jagdish T. Gajjar

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

Session 2553

A Freshman Module to Teach Instrumentation Methods Jagdish Gajjar Union College


Evolution of modern electronic devices has reached a level where a black-box approach to designing and building systems is within the capabilities of beginning laboratory experiments. This facilitates the introduction of modern instrumentation methods to freshmen in an engineering curriculum. The paper describes a freshmen module designed to provide an exposure to transducers, signal conditioning, computer interfacing and signal processing. The module consists of a coordinated set of lectures and laboratory experiments.

The lectures begin with the concept of a transducer using the strain gage as a basic transducer. Introducing a differential amplifier using an op-amp as a basis follows this. Block diagram concepts are used throughout. In the first laboratory of the module, a cantilever with two strain gages connected to a differential (instrumentation) amplifier are used to measure loads and deflections. The output of the differential amplifier is read using a meter. Students build the circuits, calibrate them with known weights and then use them to measure an unknown weight and deflection.

The second part of the module introduces concepts of inputting signals into a computer, with the analog-to-digital converter being described as a functional block. In the laboratory, students connect the output of the differential amplifier to a commercial analog-to-digital converter unit and acquire data into the computer. Using a narrow- band digital filter to process the acquired data, students determine the natural frequency of the cantilever with applied weight loads.


In recent years there have been many examples of engineering curriculum reform in the freshman year 1-4 . One of the primary motivations for change is to provide the beginning students with engineering experience so as to help them identify with engineering in the freshmen year. An important aspect of engineering education is the experimental verification of theoretical models developed in lectures and relating this to real engineering experience. Learning to make engineering measurements provides a fundamental basis for this process. This paper reports on an instrumentation module developed to teach freshmen students in the design of an instrumentation system, which

Gajjar, J. T. (2000, June), A Freshman Module To Teach Instrumentation Methods Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8396

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