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Hands On Laboratory Experience Via Remote Control: Jet Thrust Laboratory

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

To Design and Conduct Experiments

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.603.1 - 7.603.18



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Paper Authors

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Nick Glumac

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Gregory Elliott

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Madara Ogot

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Session 2666

Hands-On Laboratory Experience via Remote Control: Jet Thrust Laboratory

Madara Ogot‡, Gregory Elliott‡ and Nick Glumac§ ‡ Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey / §Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


This paper describes the development of a remote-controlled jet thrust laboratory for illustrating the fundamentals of compressible fluid mechanics as part of an undergraduate mechanical engineering curriculum. The laboratory is the first in a series to be developed jointly by faculty at Rutgers University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne. The sharing of resources significantly reduces the per institution development and maintenance costs, while making available a wide array of ‘hands-on’ laboratory experiences to students. Problems associated with implementing remote-controlled experiments, including control, visualization, data acquisition, student preparation, client-side compatibility, are discussed and workable solutions presented. Finally evaluation results of the educational outcomes of the remote- controlled laboratory compared against a control group are presented.

1.0 Introduction

Recent years have seen enormous financial pressures on engineering departments struggling to cater to increased enrollments, static budgets, and the need to maintain educational quality. As departments look for ways to cut costs, ‘hands-on’ instructional laboratories, typically expensive to develop and maintain, are slowly being replaced with ‘virtual’ experiments1-6. Indeed as noted in a report by a task force commissioned by the American Society for Engineering Education, '[Engineering schools should adopt] cost effective approaches [that] make use of information processing and simulation technology' (ASEE, 1988). Recognizing the importance of ‘hands-on’ experimentation in the undergraduate curriculum7-13, several institutions have developed laboratories where students can gain ‘hands-on’ experience via remote control of physical experiments as a supplement to their existing laboratory curriculum14-19.

This paper describes the development of the first in a series of experiments controlled over the internet, that are being developed jointly by faculty at Rutgers University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This partnership forms the core of The Integrated Remote Laboratory Environment (IRLE), where the two universities develop and host remote control laboratories that are then made available to their students. After a brief description of the motivation for IRLE, we will describe the remote-controlled jet thrust laboratory. In addition, we will discuss issues that are relevant to placing experiments online, and the evaluation of the

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Glumac, N., & Elliott, G., & Ogot, M. (2002, June), Hands On Laboratory Experience Via Remote Control: Jet Thrust Laboratory Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10526

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