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A Low-cost Affordable Viscometer Design for Experimental Fluid Viscosity Verification and Drag Coefficient Calculation

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

COED: Mechanical Engineering-related Topics

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

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Paper Authors


Joseph Michael Derrick Indiana University-Purdue University of Indianapolis

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I am a young professional engineer who has graduated from Purdue University in Indianapolis with a masters in Mechanical Engineering. It should also be noted that I also received my B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from there as well. My graduate studies was focused in thermal/fluid sciences and systems/controls. Currently, my interests lie in aerospace applications with an emphasis in space propulsion and satellite design. Although my primary focus is with aerospace applications, I participate in many projects related to controls and heat transfer. Aside from my research, I focus heavily on the advancement of engineering education at the collegiate level. I work on revising and updating laboratory experiments to help improve student understanding of how concepts are applied and utilized. I also spend time writing design optimization MATLAB codes for various applications.

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Michael Golub Indiana University-Purdue University of Indianapolis Orcid 16x16

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Michael Golub is the Academic Laboratory Supervisor for the Mechanical Engineering department at IUPUI. He is an associate faculty at the same school, and has taught at several other colleges. He has conducted research related to Arctic Electric Vehicles and 3D printed plastics and metals. He participated and advised several student academic competition teams for several years. His team won 1st place in the 2012 SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge. He has two masters degrees: one M.S. in Mechanical Engineering and an M.F.A. in Television Production. He also has three B.S. degrees in Liberal Arts, Mechanical Engineering, and Sustainable Energy.

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Vaibhav R. Shrivastav


Jing Zhang Indiana University-Purdue University of Indianapolis Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Jing Zhang's research interests are broadly centered on understanding the processing-structure-property relationships in advanced ceramics and metals for optimal performance in application, and identifying desirable processing routes for its manufacture. To this end, the research group employs a blend of experimental, theoretical, and numerical approaches, focusing on several areas, including:

1. Processing-Microstructure-Property-Performance Relationships: thermal barrier coating, solid oxide fuel cell, hydrogen transport membrane, lithium-ion battery
2. Physics-based Multi-scale Models: ab initio, molecular dynamics (MD), discrete element models (DEM), finite element models (FEM)
3. Coupled Phenomena: diffusion-thermomechanical properties
4. Additve Manufacturing (AM) or 3D Printing: AM materials characterization, AM process (laser metal powder bed fusion, ceramic slurry extrusion) design and modeling


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Current laboratory equipment used for undergraduate engineering courses can be enriched inexpensively by adding acquisition boards and requiring students to write code to enable to obtain data from these devices. Programming can be completed prior to the lab session, and then the code will be tested. This paper presents one lab experiment developed at Indiana-University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). The primary objectives of the project were to develop a viscometer apparatus prototype (1) with a significantly lower acquisition cost compared to current model and (2) that enhances students’ understanding of viscosity and drag principles. The apparatus is implemented for use in the IUPUI Mechanical and Energy Engineering Department’s fluid mechanics laboratory. Current acquisition cost is shown to be expensive and can produce inaccurate data due to the method of testing. Increasing accuracy of the results will allow students to feel more confident in learning the fundamental theory they are being taught. A prototype was developed that met sponsor requirements, engineering requirements and abided by ASTM viscometer measurement standards. The fully built and assembled prototype provides a cost-effective way for students to accurately and precisely determine the viscosity of different oils. Compared to the older model, the newer model showed 30-40% reduction in error. An assessment study is a work in progress to identify the overall impact the redesign and programming add to student learning.

Derrick, J. M., & Golub, M., & Shrivastav, V. R., & Zhang, J. (2018, June), A Low-cost Affordable Viscometer Design for Experimental Fluid Viscosity Verification and Drag Coefficient Calculation Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--29634

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