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The Development Of A Portable Fluids Lab For Civil And Environmental Undergraduates

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Laboratory Development and Technology in the Civil Engineering Classroom

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.1198.1 - 14.1198.11



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Paper Authors

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David Torick University of Pittsburgh

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Dan Budny University of Pittsburgh

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

Adjusting the Curriculum in the Fluid Mechanics Course by Modifying the Laboratory Setting


Many fluids laboratory facilities and their associated student laboratory experiences were built back in the 1960-1970 time frames. They typically consisted of large facilities that included wind tunnels, flumes, wet wells, pump stations, etc. Today these laboratories are physically and pedagogically out dated and the need for laboratory space is forcing the closing of large scale laboratories. This is the same basic problem within the Swanson School of Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. Thus we have replaced all the old equipment and laboratory experiences with small bench top experiments with a focus on applying the large body of knowledge associated with better student learning experiences. This paper will describe the concepts behind the design of the new experiments and the learning improvements discovered as a result of moving from a few large experiments to a larger number of smaller scale experiments.


The redesign of the laboratory experiences for a class can be a daunting task. It is important to start in a logical place and proceed with a well developed plan in order to ensure a successful product. Our instructional design process can be summarized as a 6-step iterative process (Figure 1); the unfilled arrow represents the iteration point in the process. Some of the products developed from this process will be discussed to further clarify the design process.

Figure 1- Curriculum Design Process

Torick, D., & Budny, D. (2009, June), The Development Of A Portable Fluids Lab For Civil And Environmental Undergraduates Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5200

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