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Uncertainty Analysis And Instrument Selection Using A Web Based Virtual Experiment

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Improving Mechanics & Structural Modeling Courses

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.1288.1 - 15.1288.17



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Paper Authors


Praveen Malali Old Dominion University

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Praveen Malali is a graduate student of Mechanical Engineering at Old Dominion University. He is also a teaching assistant in the thermo-fluids laboratory.

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Pooja Bais Old Dominion University

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Pooja Bais is a graduate student in the College of Business and Public Administration at Old Dominion University.

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Robert Choate Western Kentucky University

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Robert Choate is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Western Kentucky University. He teaches thermo-fluid and professional component courses, including Sophomore Design, Thermo-Fluid Systems Lab and ME Senior Project Design course sequence. Prior to teaching at WKU, he was a principal engineer for CMAC Design Corporation, designing telecommunication, data communication and information technology equipment.

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Sushil Chaturvedi Old Dominion University

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Sushil K. Chaturvedi is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Old Dominion University. He received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University in 1975, and has been with Old Dominion University since 1978.

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

Uncertainty Analysis and Instrument Selection using a Web- Based Virtual Experiment

Abstract Key words: Web-based, Virtual Experiment, Instrument selection, Uncertainty Analysis. A methodology has been developed and successfully implemented for transforming physical experiments in an undergraduate thermo-fluids laboratory at Old Dominion University (ODU), a doctoral university, into web-based virtual experiments while the Mechanical Engineering (ME) faculty at Western Kentucky University (WKU), an undergraduate university, have developed and implemented a Design of Experiments (DOE) Plan to assure that graduates of their program have acquired the skills necessary to design and conduct experiments and analyze experimental results. This paper presents details about a web-based virtual experiment designed to teach students about selection of instruments based on the uncertainty estimated from the virtual experiment.

The web-based virtual experiment, involves the measurement of frictional losses in fluid flowing in a pipe at various flow rates. In this virtual module, the student experimenter can adjust the flow rate in the pipe with a virtual flow control valve and measure both the flow rate and the pressure drop by selecting different measuring instruments. The selected instruments have corresponding measurement uncertainties and the student is tasked through various activities in the virtual experiment to evaluate which instrument is the “best fit” for the particular experimental design situation.

The web-based virtual module has been tested at ODU and an assessment of its effectiveness in student learning is provided. Student learning gains achieved through the web-based virtual module were measured by comparing the performance of a “Control” group (no access to the module) and an “Experimental” group with access to the web-based virtual module. Both groups were administered an identical multiple choice quiz and the quiz scores were analyzed to gage the effectiveness of the module in teaching students about instrument selection, and uncertainty and errors in experiments. Students in the “Experimental” group were also surveyed to get their feedback on the effectiveness of the module in aiding their learning of these skills.

Malali, P., & Bais, P., & Choate, R., & Chaturvedi, S. (2010, June), Uncertainty Analysis And Instrument Selection Using A Web Based Virtual Experiment Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16076

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