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A Virtual Instrument Based Engineering Experimentatin Course

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.71.1 - 5.71.12



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Vincent Wilczynski

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

Session 3226

A Virtual Instrumentation Based Engineering Experimentation Course

Vincent Wilczynski United States Coast Guard Academy


The modern engineering experimentation course must not only cover experimental techniques, transducers, signal processing, and data analysis, but must also include fundamental concepts in computer based data acquisition. Though this list of topics is large and each topic could be the subject of an entire course, a single course introducing all of this material has been developed in the Mechanical Engineering major at the U. S. Coast Guard Academy (USCGA). In this course, computer based data acquisition is taught as a series of incremental steps that lead the experimenter from being a novice to being capable of designing and executing their own experiment using computer based data acquisition. Virtual instrumentation based on National Instruments hardware and Lab VIEW software, has been central to the USCGA engineering experimentation course. Four experiments from the course are presented with the developmental model to illustrate how virtual instruments have been used to teach engineering experimentation.


A course in engineering experimentation is a fundamental component of all accredited Mechanical Engineering programs. The purpose of such a course is to instruct students on the process of collecting experimental data to investigate physical phenomena and test engineering hypotheses. With the exception of computer based data acquisition instruction in the course, the content of such courses is fairly standard1. These standard topics include experimental design and techniques, transducers, signal processing, and data analysis. The topic of computer based data acquisition is an essential component of modern engineering experimentation courses and its incorporation in the course can serve as the backbone to explore other course topics.

The engineering instructor’s challenge is to find a method for covering this material in a classroom setting while simultaneously conducting meaningful laboratory experiments to complement the classroom instruction. As any researcher or lab director knows, executing a single data acquisition based experiment can be demanding. Managing an undergraduate lab full of data acquisition based experiments has the potential to be excruciating. A careful selection of experiments, reliable experimental hardware, and dependable data acquisition

Wilczynski, V. (2000, June), A Virtual Instrument Based Engineering Experimentatin Course Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8833

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