June 28, 1998
June 28, 1998
July 1, 1998
3.414.1 - 3.414.13
MODERNIZATION OF A MECHANICAL ENGINEERING LABORATORY USING DATA ACQUISITION WITH LABVIEW Charles V. Knight and Gary H. McDonald The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Computers using modern electronic instrumentation and data acquisition have revolutionized the experimental laboratory. With very limited funding available, universities face a major challenge in upgrading their older laboratories with state-of-art systems common to modern industry. The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga College of Engineering and Computer Science has just completed this process for the Mechanical Engineering Laboratory. The previous lab (a thermal science lab with 1 credit hour) used no computer data acquisition while the new lab (having both mechanics and thermal science components with 1 hour lecture and 1 hour lab) has the electronic instrumentation and data acquisition integrated throughout. No new laboratory systems were purchased as on-hand systems were retrofitted with new instrumentation and data acquisition using LabVIEW (Laboratory Virtual Instrument Engineering Workbench) . The development of the new lab provided a challenge and comprehensive learning experience for the responsible faculty member while saving the university money. The paper describes many aspects of university related activities that were considered during the development of the laboratory along with the specific content of each laboratory.
Engineering laboratories have historically been underfunded and neglected at most universities. This has resulted from the university not giving adequate workload credit for development and teaching of labs as compared to that given for research . This has promoted laboratory obsolescence as faculty interest and support for providing on-going development of new labs and supportive skills have declined. Yet, today our industry advisors tell us they expect our graduates to have skills that can only be learned in a laboratory setting where modern instrumentation and computers interface in performing data acquisition, analysis, and presentation . In general, engineering faculties have a problem, as many faculty members do not possess the modern skills required to support such laboratory teaching and development . The process of overcoming these constraints can only be done with faculty development and curriculum revisions.
The curriculum revisions required for supporting the new laboratory concept at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga were not accepted as imperative by some of the faculty even though our experienced graduates and industry representatives insisted that we move ahead with haste in bringing about the changes. Our making the revisions to the mechanical engineering curriculum was made easier as our Dean of Engineering and Computer Science and mechanical engineering area director fully supported the changes.
McDonald, G. H., & Knight, C. V. (1998, June), Modernization Of A Mechanical Engineering Laboratory Using Data Acquisition With Lab View Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington. https://peer.asee.org/7292
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