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Design And Implementation Of A Computer Data Acquisition And Control System For A Portable Wind Tunnel As A Benchmark Task In A Senior Aerospace Engineering Laboratory Class

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Innovative & Computer-Assisted Lab Study

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.377.1 - 9.377.11



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Paper Authors

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Keith Koenig

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Viva Austin

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Bryan Gassaway

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Thomas Hannigan

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

Session Number 1426

Design and Implementation of a Computer Data Acquisition and Control System for a Portable Wind Tunnel as a Benchmark Task in a Senior Aerospace Engineering Laboratory Class Thomas Hannigan, Keith Koenig, Bryan Gassaway, Viva Austin Department of Aerospace Engineering, Mississippi State University


Upper division aerospace engineering undergraduates have an introduction to the programming environment LabVIEW, data acquisition, control systems, transducer selection and calibration, and peripheral programming in their initial laboratory class. In the subsequent semester, the ability of the students to implement a complete data acquisition and control system (DACS) is tested by an assignment to develop and implement a LabVIEW program for an existing portable wind tunnel used for student orientations and classroom demonstrations. This assignment includes development of a program for control of the tunnel speed and angle of attack of an airfoil in the test section, and operation of a pressure scanning system, as well as presentation of airspeed, angle- of-attack, and airfoil pressure distribution in a user-friendly display. Calibrations of potentio-metric and strain-gage based instrumentation are incidental to the programming assignment, and serve as a review of hardware selection and integration. The standard parallel port is used for digital peripheral control, and a typical data acquisition card is used for logging transducer output. Only six laboratory hours are allowed for the development and testing of the program, in two, three-hour sessions. This paper details success in the development of the current assignment, done by pairs of students, as well as difficulties encountered when larger groups of students attempted to develop the same program in parts, to be assembled during the second lab class. The teaching of basic concepts in DACS is reviewed, and student understanding of those concepts is accurately gauged through the completion of this assignment.

Background Discussion/Motivation

The primary objective of the first assignment in class ASE 4721 is to determine if the students are in fact ready to proceed to more complex experiments. In their first course, ASE 4113, lab students are introduced to the fundamental processes of data acquisition and control systems necessary to conduct various experiments. In the second of this two- course laboratory sequence required of all upper division aerospace engineering undergraduates at Mississippi State University (MSU), those processes become incidental to conducting experiments. Though the conduct of this lab has its particular

“Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2004, American Society for Engineering Education”

Koenig, K., & Austin, V., & Gassaway, B., & Hannigan, T. (2004, June), Design And Implementation Of A Computer Data Acquisition And Control System For A Portable Wind Tunnel As A Benchmark Task In A Senior Aerospace Engineering Laboratory Class Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--12926

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