Asee peer logo

A Relevant, Automotive-Themed Experiment that Teaches Fundamental Flow Rate Concepts and Experimental Uncertainty

Download Paper |


2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Pedagogical Innovations in Laboratory Education

Tagged Division

Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.92.1 - 22.92.21



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Brian P. Sangeorzan Oakland University

visit author page

Dr. Brian Sangeorzan, is registered Professional Engineer and an Associate Professor of Engineering at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, where he serves as the faculty advisor for the SAE student chapter and has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, heat transfer and combustion for the past 27 years. His research interests generally include heat transfer and fluid mechanic phenomena in internal combustion engines, as well as the instrumentation and optical techniques for thermal/fluid measurements. Past research has included experimental methods for in-situ droplet and particle sizing in fuel sprays, high-speed flow visualization in I.C. engines, optical/thermal wave techniques for non-destructive measurements of thermal properties of thin films, and thermal system analysis of automotive paint curing ovens, the development of hydraulically-actuated turbines, and the study of exhaust gas heat transfer in engine exhaust manifolds. Current work includes thermal modeling of an engine lubrication system and engine piston heat transfer. He has served on a number of committees in the SAE International, and also serves on the SAE Detroit Section Governing Board. Dr. Sangeorzan has worked as a consultant to a number of companies and organizations, including Ford Motor Company, FEV Engine Technology, and General Motors Corporation.

visit author page


Matthew Nathaniel Bruer Oakland University

visit author page

Matthew Bruer is the Assistant Lab Manager and the Electronics Technician, in the School of Engineering and Computer Science, at Oakland University. He acquired his Bachelors of Science in Engineering in June 21 2006 and is presently completing a Master's Degree in Electrical Engineering.

visit author page


Laila Guessous Oakland University

visit author page

Laila Guessous, Ph.D. is an associate professor in the department of mechanical engineering at Oakland University (OU) in Rochester, MI. Her research and teaching interests lie in
the areas of fluid mechanics and heat transfer, with an emphasis on computational methods. She is the program director for the NSF and DoD funded AERIM REU program at OU, as well as co-director of an NSF-funded International Research Experience for Students (IRES) collaborative research program with China on fluid and thermal transport in fuel cells.

visit author page


Xia Wang Oakland University

visit author page

XIA WANG ( is an assistant professor in the department of Mechanical Engineering at Oakland University. Her research and teaching interests lie in the areas of fluid mechanics and heat transfer, with an emphasis on fuel cell technology.

visit author page

Download Paper |


A Relevant, Automotive-Themed Experiment that Teaches Fundamental Flow Rate Concepts and Experimental UncertaintyIt is a common experience, in undergraduate laboratories, that the students perceivethe simple bench-top experiments to be boring or irrelevant to real engineering andsocietal problems. Without relevance, many students feel disconnected from thelab experience and do not think while they are in the lab. If a student does notthink about the actual measurement, the measurement errors and how themeasurements relate to an engineering model or to the information that they aretrying to gain, then the lab experience has failed.Described in this paper is an experiment designed for an introductory thermalscience lab. The students are tasked with the job of calibrating one or moreautomotive fuel injectors, across a reasonable vehicle fuel demand schedule. Inorder to achieve an accurate injector calibration, the students must learn thefundamental concept of volumetric flow rate and the applied mathematicalconcepts associated with experimental uncertainty. They must apply what theyhave learned to design their test procedure and then conduct and validate thecalibration. In addition, they will learn the purpose and function of an automotivefuel injector, and how the injector timing parameters can be used to match a typicalengine fuel demand schedule – the relevance component.This paper also describes the design and construction of a safe and inexpensiveapparatus, which uses automotive fuel injectors and a simple microprocessor boardfor control. An example of the actual laboratory handout with student results isgiven, along with some suggestions for semester-to-semester variety.

Sangeorzan, B. P., & Bruer, M. N., & Guessous, L., & Wang, X. (2011, June), A Relevant, Automotive-Themed Experiment that Teaches Fundamental Flow Rate Concepts and Experimental Uncertainty Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17374

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: © 2011 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