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A "New" Viscosity Instrument And Exercise

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Topics in Mechanical ET

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.11.1 - 8.11.8



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Paper Authors

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Timothy Cooley

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

Session # 2547

A “New” Viscosity Instrument and Exercise

Tim Cooley Purdue University, School of Technology


Although mathematical derivations can explain the individual parameters, and many commercial devices are available to accurately measure the behavior, students still seem to have difficulty understanding the physical implications of viscosity; the interaction between shear stress and strain rate. To assist in overcoming this conceptual hurdle, the author designed and built an inexpensive and versatile experimental device and accompanying laboratory exercise for Mechanical Engineering Technology students. It combines the basic aspects of a traditional rotary viscometer with a purely mechanical measurement system that allows students to clearly visualize and experience first-hand the reaction to viscous shear stress on a stationary drum in response to a concentric rotating cup containing the test fluid. This paper describes important design features of the device, constructed from an “antique” Garrard turntable, and the major conceptual topics students must understand in order to complete their laboratory exercise.

The Rotary Viscometer System

The rotary viscometer system combines a Garrard turntable, used in a previous lifetime to experience and enjoy LP albums, with a custom designed support structure containing an adjustable cam-style gravimetric force indicator. The force indicator is based entirely on visible mechanical principles to assist student analysis and understanding of the concept of fluid viscosity. Refer to Figure 1.

“Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education”

Cooley, T. (2003, June), A "New" Viscosity Instrument And Exercise Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12286

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