Asee peer logo

Introduction to Instrumentation and Control Systems Using a Pendulum Mounted Air Rocket

Download Paper |


2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Great Ideas for Projects that Teach Instrumentation

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

22.967.1 - 22.967.13

Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Michael Keller University of Tulsa

visit author page

Michael Keller is an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the university of tulsa. His research and teaching interests are in solid mechanics, both experimental and theoretical, and materials science.

visit author page

author page

Jeremy S. Daily University of Tulsa

Download Paper |


Introduction to Instrumentation and Control Systems Using a Pendulum Mounted Air RocketCourses on engineering instrumentation and measurement typically have two objectives,introducing the students to essential and modern engineering instrumentation and developing theability of students to plan, execute, and analyze engineering experiments. The project describedin this paper encompasses all of these objectives and introduces students to practical aspects ofcontrol systems. The multi-week laboratory exercise requires the students to interface withlaboratory hardware and modern instrumentation with only limited guidance from the instructor.The self-guided problem solving approach to instrumentation gives students a deeperunderstanding of the nuances and complexity of developing and implementing multi-componentinstrumentation systems. Additionally, the students are required to develop a limited controlsystem that fires the rocket in response to position or acceleration feedback in order to achievethe highest swing height. Since this class precedes the formal controls systems course in ourcurriculum, conceptual control system theory is provided in a one-on-one basis in the lab. Inessence the laboratory serves as a ‘just-in-time’ controls course and sets up the formalmathematical controls course that follows. This paper includes the detailed design of the airrocket thrust laboratory apparatus and computerized data acquisition setup. Schematics andspecifications of the instruments are included along with a typical student data and analysis.Finally, student surveys were conducted and analyzed to assess the both general and specificoutcomes of the laboratory experience.

Keller, M., & Daily, J. S. (2011, June), Introduction to Instrumentation and Control Systems Using a Pendulum Mounted Air Rocket Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC.

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: © 2011 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