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Remote Observation And Control Of A Shake Table Experiment

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Trends in Mechanics Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.984.1 - 8.984.12



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Paper Authors

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Scott Wirgau

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Abhinav Gupta

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Vernon Matzen

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

Session 2051

Remote Observation and Control of a Shake Table Experiment

Vernon C. Matzen, Scott Wirgau, and Abhinav Gupta

Professor of Civil Engineering and Director, Center for Nuclear Power Plant Structures, Equipment and Piping, North Carolina State University/ Graduate Student, North Carolina State University/Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering, North Carolina State University


Laboratory experiences, i.e. visualization of material covered in class and hands-on use of equipment, are especially advantageous to engineering classes such as structural mechanics. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be difficult for on-campus students to be given sufficient laboratory time and it may be impossible for those already using distance education due to work, disabilities, or other complexities. The project describes a shake table experiment that is being converted to a distance-learning environment. This will include remote access, control, and protection from misuse. An aspect of the project that differentiates it from simple remote viewing of a lecture or experiment is the ability to control the experiment and to protect against the possibility of damage occurring to this particular setup if left unmonitored. This last point necessitates the inclusion of sufficient safety protocols. The environment must allow remote controlling of the system, multi-user viewing, data saving, and download capabilities. The technology selected for use in this project is the LabVIEW programming environment in conjunction with its real time counterpart, LabVIEW RT. By using this language, practical and intuitive control panels coupled with easy to follow data flow block diagrams are made possible. The LabVIEW code likewise handles the data acquisition. The setup in this project connects the host computer to a DAQ accessory device by way of a PXI card, which combines the PCI bus with integrated timing and triggering. The information sent and received through the DAQ card is processed by LabVIEW code embedded in the real time processor. The information is then sent to the host Windows 2000 processor for saving, visualization, and distribution to remote clients. This visualization includes an oscilloscope displaying the accelerations from both the table and the structure residing on the table. Further visualization will be made by way of a video camera. Finally, the code must be made safe from unauthorized usage and the university network must be protected. This paper outlines the implementation of the project using the vibration experiment.


Use of laboratory equipment is essential in allowing students to visualize and better understand the concepts taught in classes such as structural mechanics. In a conventional classroom setting it can be hard for students to grasp the actual material or structural behaviors being described.

“Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education”

Wirgau, S., & Gupta, A., & Matzen, V. (2003, June), Remote Observation And Control Of A Shake Table Experiment Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11980

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