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Miniaturized Inexpensive Hands-On Fluid Mechanics Laboratory Kits for Remote Online Learning

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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

Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies - Mechanical Engineering Labs

Tagged Division

Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies

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Paper Authors


Jackie Starks Tennessee State University

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Jackie Starks is a senior level undergraduate student enrolled in the College of Engineering at Tennessee State University majoring in Mechanical Engineering. Although Mechanical Engineering is his main area of study, Jackie also has a vested interest in working to advance the field of engineering education. In addition to working with Engineer Inc, he is going to be involved in robotic research to broaden his engineering knowledge. His ultimate goal is to found an engineering company to help undertake today’s global challenges.

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Fletcher Ray Hendrickson Tennessee State University

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Fletcher Hendrickson is a Mechanical Engineering Student enrolled at Tennessee State University. He aspires to perform engineering design under research and development to develop the latest technologies, specifically in the aeronautical field. In addition, he plans to earn his private pilot’s license while at Tennessee State University.

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Fatemeh Hadi Tennessee State University

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Dr. Fatemeh Hadi is an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering at Tennessee State University. She received her PhD in mechanical engineering at Northeastern University, working on topics in chemical kinetics dimension reduction, turbulent reacting flow, computational fluid dynamics (CFD), large eddy simulation (LES) and high performance computing. Before her PhD studies, Dr. Hadi worked in Aerospace Industries Organization, Iran as a research scientist. Dr. Hadi obtained her master’s and bachelor’s degrees in aerospace engineering from Sharif University of Technology.

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Matthew J. Traum Engineer Inc Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Matthew J. Traum is founding CEO at Engineer Inc (, an engineering education start-up. Traum invented @HOLM™ lab kits to enable students in on-line courses to build and run engineering experiments remotely at home.

Before founding Engineer Inc, Dr. Traum was a well-known higher education administrator, fund raiser, educator, and researcher with co-authorship of 11 peer-reviewed research journal articles, 15 refereed research conference articles, and 17 refereed pedagogical conference articles. As a PI or Co-PI, Traum has attracted over $800 K in funding for research, education, and entrepreneurial ventures from multiple sources including NSF, NASA, ASHRAE, the Texas State Energy Conservation Office, and several industry sponsors.

Most recently as Associate Professor and Director of Engineering Programs at Philadelphia University, Dr. Traum led the Mechanical Engineering Program through a successful ABET interim visit resulting in no deficiencies, weaknesses, or concerns.

Previously, Dr. Traum was an assistant professor at the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE), one of the top-ten undergraduate-serving engineering universities in the U.S. Dr. Traum coordinated MSOE's first crowd-funded senior design project. He also co-founded with students EASENET, a start-up renewable energy company to commercialize waste-to-energy biomass processors.

Dr. Traum began his academic career as a founding faculty member in the Mechanical & Energy Engineering Department at the University of North Texas - Denton where he established a successful, externally-funded researcher incubator that trained undergraduates to perform experimental research and encouraged matriculation to graduate school.

Traum received a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he held a research assistantship at MIT’s Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies. At MIT he invented a new nano-enabled garment to provide simultaneous ballistic and thermal protection to infantry soldiers. Dr. Traum also holds a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from MIT with a focus on cryogenics and two bachelor’s degrees from the University of California, Irvine: one in mechanical engineering and the second in aerospace engineering. In addition, he attended the University of Bristol, UK as a non-matriculating visiting scholar where he completed an M.Eng thesis in the Department of Aerospace Engineering on low-speed rotorcraft control.

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Hands-on laboratory experiments are known to improve student learning in engineering and science. In parallel, the Internet’s rise has created new and unprecedented opportunities for remote learning. Development of laboratory experiences completed remotely is the natural blending, extension, and evolution of these two educational phenomena.

We report creation of inexpensive Hands-On Learning Module (@HOLM™) fluid mechanics laboratory kits paired with an online undergraduate fluids mechanics course, which can be seamlessly inserted into any ABET-accredited baccalaureate mechanical engineering curriculum. The physical kit is small and inexpensive, enabling it to be shipped to a remote learner who then assembles each experiment, collects data, and performs analysis at his/her location. Kit experiments retain all the features, robustness, and rigor of full-scale brick-and-mortar laboratories.

Here, data collected from one laboratory kit beta-tested with junior and senior mechanical engineering students is used as an example. Analysis of both indirect and direct assessments indicates that learning outcomes are achieved to a very high level. The @HOLM™ approach is therefore demonstrated as a viable alternative to conventional brick-and-mortar teaching lab techniques now used by all accredited mechanical engineering Bachelor of Science programs.

This new approach provides the opportunity for mechanical engineering B.S. programs to offer their students rigorous hands-on fluid mechanics lab experiences without need or expense of maintaining physical laboratory spaces and equipment. Additional benefits of on-line instruction; including massively parallel instruction, asynchronous content delivery, and multimedia presentation to address a variety of learning styles; are also enabled by this new approach.

Starks, J., & Hendrickson, F. R., & Hadi, F., & Traum, M. J. (2017, June), Miniaturized Inexpensive Hands-On Fluid Mechanics Laboratory Kits for Remote Online Learning Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28671

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