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Collaborative Industrial Applications In The Mechanical Engineering Experimentation Course Employing An Infrared Thermal Imaging And Measurement System

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1996 Annual Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

June 23, 1996

Start Date

June 23, 1996

End Date

June 26, 1996



Page Count


Page Numbers

1.103.1 - 1.103.8



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Paper Authors

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Robert T. Balmer

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Kevin J. Renken

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

Session 3226

Collaborative Industrial Applications in the Mechanical Engineering Experimentation Course Employing an Infrared Thermal Imaging and Measurement System

Kevin J. Renken, Robert T. Balmer University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee


In 1992, the Mechanical Engineering Department at The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) was granted a National Science Foundation Instrumentation and Laboratory Improvement Award (NSF ILI) for a project focusing on student utilization of high speed data acquisition technology. As part of the objectives of the project, the Principal Investigators (authors) purchased and implemented a state-of-the-art infrared thermal imaging system into solicited university-industry case study projects. This paper highlights the performance characteristics of our radiometer system, student projects which have utilized our system, results generated by the usage of this engineering technology, and the educational worthiness of having undergraduate mechanical engineering students employing this system in their experimentation projects.

Mechanical Engineering Experimentation

The Mechanical Engineering Department at UWM offers a unique laboratory course for its senior undergraduates entitled Mechanical Engineering Experimentation. This acknowledged(’-s) course is a required, three-credit, first semester, capstone course for all senior mechanical engineering students. The course was designed around the concept of providing our students with a taste of real mechanical engineering by challenging them with small open-ended projects of industrial origin. The course focuses on defining and solving problems of engineering value by experimental methods, integrating the necessary fundamental principles learned in previous theoretical-oriented classes. Thus, the course is able to aide the mechanical engineering student in bridging the gap between the abstractness of academia and the practicality of industry.

The majority of our experimental projects are solicited from local and national industries. The initial project assignment for the semester is normally formulated by the instructor and is intended to provide a learning block on instrumentation, specifically, transducers, sensors, PC-data acquisition systems, commercial software packages, etc. Moreover, the solicited projects are a collaborative effort between academia (the instructor and the students) and industry. These projects are normally unsolved low-priority engineering projects that the sponsoring company has neither the time, the staff, the expertise, nor the tools to complete. Participating industries usually contribute the project objective(s), the necessary equipment or product line, and promote student interaction with company engineers and executives. In return for their participation, the company receives a summarization of the findings, copies of the student project reports and an invitation to attend the oral presentation of the project for immediate feedback. For a more detailed description of the course structure, see Refs. [1-6].

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Balmer, R. T., & Renken, K. J. (1996, June), Collaborative Industrial Applications In The Mechanical Engineering Experimentation Course Employing An Infrared Thermal Imaging And Measurement System Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia. 10.18260/1-2--5917

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