June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
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.
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