Asee peer logo

A Mechanical Engineering Laboratory Experiment to Investigate the Frequency Analysis of Bells and Chimes with Assessment

Download Paper |


2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

ME Demonstrations and Laboratories

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Cody McKenzie Clemson University

visit author page

I am currently a graduate student pursuing a master's degree.

visit author page


Todd Schweisinger Clemson University

visit author page

Senior Lecturer of Mechanical Engineering and Undergraduate Laboratory Coordinator

visit author page


John R. Wagner P.E. Clemson University

visit author page

JOHN WAGNER joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Clemson in 1998. He holds B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in mechanical engineering from the State University of New York at Buffalo and Purdue University. Dr. Wagner was previously on the engineering staff at Delphi Automotive Systems and Delphi Delco Electronics (formerly Delco Electronics as a subsidiary of General Motors Hughes Electronics) designing automotive control systems. His research interests include nonlinear and intelligent control systems, dynamic system modeling, diagnostic and prognostic strategies, and mechatronic system design with application to turbines and automobiles. He has developed the multi-disciplinary Rockwell Automation Mechatronics Educational Laboratory which features hands-on robotic, programmable logic controller, electronic, and material handling experiments. He is a past Associate Editor of the ASME Journal of Dynamic Systems, Measurement, and Control and IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics, respectively. Dr. Wagner is a licensed Professional Engineer and Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

visit author page

Download Paper |


The prevalence of bells and chimes throughout college campuses makes them an ideal learning platform for engineering and science students. The operational characteristics of these vibrating metallic objects may be studied by analyzing their frequency content using portable laptop computer built-in microphones and accompanying software packages. This mobile laboratory provides an opportunity for undergraduate mechanical engineering students to gain experience with recording sounds and analyzing the acoustics based on field data. The Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) method is able to calculate the natural frequency of a bell from the system’s vibrations. A bell’s physical structure may be modeled with a Computer Aided Design software package, and then used to apply Finite Element Analysis tools to calculate the natural frequency. This computer-based approach offers a convenient and effective way to test the acoustic characteristics of bells and other components. On the Clemson University campus, two historic bells were tested and resulted in favorable comparisons between the FFT and computer simulation results. Through student assessment, the majority of laboratory participants reported moderate to great gains in the collection of test data and analysis, modeling of system behavior, and confidence that they understand the material. This frequency analysis experiment provides students with an opportunity to study acoustics plus undertake an experiment outside the laboratory facility which accommodates growing enrollment demands.

McKenzie, C., & Schweisinger, T., & Wagner, J. R. (2017, June), A Mechanical Engineering Laboratory Experiment to Investigate the Frequency Analysis of Bells and Chimes with Assessment Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--27477

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2017 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015