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Instrumentation Education In Agricultural And Biological Engineering

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.344.1 - 3.344.9

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Paper Authors

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Kristopher Delgado

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Hartono Sumali

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

Session 2608

Instrumentation Education in Agricultural and Biological Engineering Hartono Sumali, Kristopher Delgado Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana


This paper presents the development of an instrumentation and data acquisition course in the Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department at Purdue University. The discussion includes the necessity for the course, the challenges in starting the laboratory course, a survey of similar courses at other institutions, the educational philosophy of the course, the course materials, the laboratory, and new opportunities associated with the development of the course.


Today agricultural and biological engineers must be familiar with electronic instruments and computers. Electronic instruments are used in off-road vehicles, grain processors, automatic feeding systems, global positioning systems, irrigation control, and many other food and fiber production equipment. Computers have been produced in such quantities that the cost has now permitted many applications that were infeasible a few years ago. Practically everything in engineering can take advantage of computers.

The Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department at Purdue University has received significant feedback from industry indicating that the department’s graduates need better training in instrumentation and measurement. Currently the department does not offer an undergraduate course specifically in instrumentation and measurement. The students get their training in instrumentation as they perform experiments in various other courses.

Many Agricultural and Biological Engineering departments in the US offer undergraduate courses in instrumentation and measurement. However, some Agricultural or Biological Engineering departments require that students take a three or four credit course in instrumentation and measurement from other departments such as Mechanical Engineering of Chemical Engineering. The latter strategy gives the students exposure and training in sensors and measurement without requiring the instructional resources from the department. The problem with this approach is that the class material is not designed specifically for agricultural and biological engineering applications. At Purdue, an example of an available course that might be a somewhat close match to the need for training in instrumentation and measurement for the agricultural and biological engineering students is ME 365 Measurement Systems, given by the School of Mechanical Engineering. However, the course outline shows that a large proportion of the course is on vibration testing of deformable solid bodies. Agricultural and biological engineers need much more knowledge in process control instrumentation.

Based on the above information, the Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department at Purdue University has decided to start offering an undergraduate course in instrumentation and

Delgado, K., & Sumali, H. (1998, June), Instrumentation Education In Agricultural And Biological Engineering Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington.

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