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Building Synergy In Mechanical Engineering Laboratories

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.254.1 - 6.254.8

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Paper Authors

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Zheng-Tao Deng

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Abdul Jalloh

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Amir Mobasher

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Ruben Rojas-Oviedo

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Instruction in engineering laboratories provide unique opportunities for students to have hands on experiences and is revealing for them to see that some simple experiments do not provide the “exact” anticipated solution as prescribed by theory. This scenario allows the introduction of practical topics like calibration, error analysis and design of experiments. As valuable as they are, laboratories are an expensive part of the operating budget of any engineering department and in some cases hard decisions are made with regard to frequency of upgrades or in the worst case scenario to drop the laboratory from the plan of study. An alternative is to build up synergistic connectivity among laboratories to distribute the learning as well as distribute the total cost of laboratory equipment. This paper examines the approach taken by the Mechanical Engineering program at Alabama A&M University to increase the productivity of each laboratory using common platforms. A central data acquisition system was established. It includes a National Instruments VXI data Acquisition system and Pentium based PC’s. Application programs were installed on this central system. Experiment or measurements at each individual laboratories are controlled by the central system and data can be processed through an internal network connecting the ME laboratories. Among the laboratories included in this report are: fluid dynamics, heat and mass transfer, instrumentation of physical systems, propulsion laboratory, manufacturing lab and the automatic controls lab. Laboratory development is integrated to the present curriculum and this may point in the direction of multifunctional laboratories. This approach is being tested and additional laboratories will be brought on line as the needs and support increases in the program.

Deng, Z., & Jalloh, A., & Mobasher, A., & Rojas-Oviedo, R. (2001, June), Building Synergy In Mechanical Engineering Laboratories Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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