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Incorporating Metrology Concepts into an Engineering Physics Measurements Laboratory

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Engineering Physics & Physics Division Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

Engineering Physics & Physics

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Paper Authors


Harold T. Evensen University of Wisconsin-Platteville

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Hal Evensen is a earned his doctorate in Engineering Physics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he performed research in the area of plasma nuclear fusion. He joined UW-Platteville in 1999, and formerly served as program coordinator for both its Engineering Physics and Microsystems & Nanomaterials programs. He conducts research with students involving carbon nanotube electronics and sensors.

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We restructured an existing required, two-credit advanced laboratory course around the subject matter of metrology and design of experiments. Here, we present a significant extension from work that was presented in 2013. The course now uses international standards and terminology as set in documents from the Joint Committee for Guides in Metrology (JCGM) to guide students in the description and execution of experiments. Students learn to use appropriate vocabulary as defined in the “VIM,” and handle uncertainty using the process described in the “GUM.” Students advance through a rotation of experiments that involve topics from mechanics, optics, electronics and quantum optics. The course follows a progressive structure by starting with conceptually simpler experiments designed to show the effects that the design of the experiment can have on the final result and its uncertainty. These early labs allow students to focus on concepts including Type A and Type B uncertainties; systematic errors; standard uncertainty and combined standard uncertainty; coverage factor; and the propagation of uncertainty. Students also begin to track uncertainty with a rudimentary uncertainty budget. For the rest of the course, the experiments become more open-ended and complex, and the students continue to apply the concepts learned in the first half of the semester. In this paper we will describe how focus on quality of measurement has affected students’ ability to design and analyze experiments, and will discuss plans for future improvement.

Evensen, H. T. (2017, June), Incorporating Metrology Concepts into an Engineering Physics Measurements Laboratory Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28511

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