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Updating Mechanical Engineering Measurements And Instrumentation – A Case Study

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Innovations in Mechanical Engineering Education

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.1367.1 - 11.1367.13



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Paper Authors


Theodore Heindel Iowa State University Orcid 16x16

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Ted Heindel is the William and Virginia Binger Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Iowa State University. He taught ME 370 at ISU from spring 2003 through spring 2005 and was responsible for major course modifications, including development of several new laboratory exercises. He is currently teaching thermal science courses, including fluid mechanics and heat transfer. He also has an active research program in multiphase flow characterization and visualization and gas-liquid mass transfer enhancement, and is the director of a one-of-a-kind X-ray facility used for flow visualization in large-scale opaque and multiphase flows.

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

Updating Mechanical Engineering Measurements and Instrumentation – A Case Study


Measurement and instrumentation is a common course topic in many undergraduate mechanical engineering curricula. This paper summarizes changes to ME 370 – Engineering Measurements and Instrumentation at Iowa State University (ISU), which went through major course revisions from fall 2003 to spring 2005. Modifications to the course include the following: (i) incorporating virtual measurements and instrumentation into the lecture and laboratory, (ii) coupling the lecture and laboratory more closely through an on-line course manual, (iii) providing additional course resources through WebCT to enhance student learning, and (iv) updating and/or developing several new laboratory exercises to demonstrate key course learning objectives. An outline of the course before and after the course revisions will be presented, significant course changes will be summarized, the impact these changes have on mechanical engineering undergraduate education at ISU will be assessed, and lessons learned will be outlined.

1 Background

Mechanical Engineering Measurements and Instrumentation, commonly referred to as ME 370 at Iowa State University (identified as ME 370 for the remainder of this paper), is a required course in the mechanical engineering undergraduate curriculum. The course covers various measurement and instrumentation topics, as well as data acquisition and analysis. The course is usually taken in the second semester of the junior year and incorporates information from various courses in the ME curriculum, including mathematics, physics, statistics, dynamics, material science, and electrical circuits. It is typically the first such course students take that integrates topics from several courses. Since the course covers a wide variety of material from various disciplines, it has been taught in the past as a survey course, assuming the students have mastered the material in their courses leading up to this course.

Although ME 370 has a relatively recent history, a version of “Engineering Measurements and Instrumentation” has been taught in the ISU ME department for over 25 years because of it’s importance to the mechanical engineering profession. The current ME 370 course was formalized with the 1999-2001 ISU course catalog as a result of changes in the ISU ME curriculum.

ME 370 has both lecture and laboratory components; it is composed of two 50-minute lectures each week and a 3-hour laboratory section. Total enrollment for the course averages between 100 and 120 students each semester, while the laboratory sections are limited to 12 students per section. There are six stations in each laboratory with student teams of two working at each station. Ideally, each station will have identical equipment, which is not always possible. Additionally, the 10-11 (typical) laboratory sections are supervised by teaching assistants.

Heindel, T. (2006, June), Updating Mechanical Engineering Measurements And Instrumentation – A Case Study Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--488

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