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Labview : A Modern Data Acquisition System In An Introductory Mechanics Laboratory

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1997 Annual Conference


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Publication Date

June 15, 1997

Start Date

June 15, 1997

End Date

June 18, 1997



Page Count


Page Numbers

2.272.1 - 2.272.11



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Paper Authors

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Richard A. Young

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

Session 3220


Richard A. Young Department of Chemistry and Physics, University of Portland, Portland, OR 97203.

I. Introduction

As the title suggests, this paper describes our implementation of LabVIEW in our freshman level mechanics laboratory. The laboratory is closely coupled to a traditional lecture based physics course composed of engineering, physical science, mathematics, and computer science students. Over the past decade there has been a significant amount of instructional research and development in the teaching of physics at the introductory level1-10. This work has demonstrated that the capability to rapidly acquire and display data provides a valuable tool to promote student experimentation and understanding. As a result a number of computer oriented educational packages that are directed toward the introductory physics laboratory experience have been developed.11-13

Rather than adopt one of these packages we decided to employ LabVIEW, a commercially oriented data acquisition environment, in the computerization of our laboratory. This decision was motivated by a number of factors which we wanted our computing environment should provide. Among these were providing:

• Students with an early exposure to a data acquisition environment which is widely used in industry and which could be used in both their upper division courses and post graduation employment. • The capability to rapidly develop new data acquisition modules so that the laboratory could easily evolve to incorporate new sensors and experiments as needed. • The opportunity to encourage students to adopt a "systems modeling" approach toward experimental design2 through LabVIEW's data flow programming paradigm. • An easily understood student/computer interface.

The remainder of the paper discusses these points in more detail. Section II provides a brief description of the institutional setting and the laboratory philosophy. Section III describes the hardware and software used in the laboratory, Section IV describes our development activities, Section V illustrates a "typical" experiment using LabVIEW for data acquisition, and finally in Sec. VI we present some concluding remarks.

II. Institutional and Course Context

Young, R. A. (1997, June), Labview : A Modern Data Acquisition System In An Introductory Mechanics Laboratory Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 10.18260/1-2--6663

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