Asee peer logo

Computer Controlled Data Acquisition Laboratory Experiences In Civil Engineering Technology

Download Paper |


1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.152.1 - 3.152.8

Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Anthony Brizendine

Download Paper |

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

Session 3547

Computer-Controlled Data Acquisition Laboratory Experiences in Civil Engineering Technology

Anthony L. Brizendine, Ph.D., P.E., P.S. Fairmont State College

Abstract This paper outlines the use of data acquisition in the Civil Engineering Technology laboratory. Very few CET soil mechanics laboratories currently introduce or utilize data acquisition as part of the instructional process. Not only is data acquisition useful in facilitation of expedient experimentation in an academic setting, knowledge of data acquisition is a marketable skill for CET students now and in the next century. Discussion of how the soil mechanics laboratory was developed, funded and instrumented is included. A series of NSF/WV EPSCoR grants were utilized to fully develop this laboratory.

Consolidation, hydraulic conductivity, direct shear, triaxial shear, unconfined compression, and data acquisition equipment was purchased, instrumented, and incorporated. Each test setup can be monitored through an elementary computer/data acquisition interface. Raw data is collected via the data acquisition system which is controlled by the HOST® Management System. Data can be reduced manually or automatically using GEOSYSTEM® computer software developed by Von Gunten Engineering Software, Inc.

One of the obvious benefits is time management; for instance, students can begin consolidation tests, collect data "through the night" and apply incremental loading the next morning while obtaining a full night’s sleep. Discussion of the funding mechanisms, development difficulties, and benefits of using data acquisition and associated software in the undergraduate environment for CET courses will be provided.

Background & Inspiration

When the author arrived at Fairmont State College in the fall of 1991, he was given the responsibility of developing a sequence of geotechnical courses for the undergraduate civil engineering technology program. The previous TAC of ABET accreditation visit had recommended that the program provide practical hands-on laboratory experiences for CET students in the soil mechanics courses. Yet, as the author surveyed the “Soils Laboratory,” he found little more than a sand cone, a couple proctor molds, a few sieves, a scale and an agricultural soil test kit used to determine ph levels. Even basics such as lab benches, sinks, water or air supply were not available. He quickly realized that to build an acceptable laboratory with the limited funds available would take decades rather than years; hence, he immediately began to look for alternative sources of funding. The author discovered a program called the West Virginia Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (WV EPSCoR). This program, funded in part by the National


Brizendine, A. (1998, June), Computer Controlled Data Acquisition Laboratory Experiences In Civil Engineering Technology Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington.

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: © 1998 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