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Using a Living-Building Laboratory (Building as a Laboratory) as a Fluid Mechanics Laboratory Project in the Engineering Technology Curriculum

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

ETD Design II: Mechanical Engineering Technology

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1601.1 - 22.1601.17



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Paper Authors


Jason K. Durfee Eastern Washington University

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Professor Durfee received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Brigham Young University. He holds a Professional Engineer certification. Prior to teaching at Eastern Washington University he was a military pilot, an engineering instructor at West Point and an airline pilot. His interests include aerospace, aviation, professional ethics and piano technology.

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Using a Living-Building Laboratory (Building as a Laboratory) as a Fluid Mechanics Laboratory Project in the Engineering Technology CurriculumAbstractThis paper is written as a follow-up to two papers, one presented in 2007 and the other in 2010,at the ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition. In the paper presented at the 2007 conferencethe concept of using the actual Engineering & Design building at our institution as a Living-Laboratory was proposed. This building is a relatively new building and construction wascompleted in the fall of 2005. During the early design stages provisions were made to allowstudents access to various types of data used in the operation of the building. The desire was thatthe building would be used by students as a Living Laboratory for such classes asthermodynamics, fluid mechanics, strength of materials, and HVAC. Students would be able tosee how the theory that was taught in their classes was put into practical use throughout thebuilding. Courses taught in the department could use the actual data from the building inlaboratory assignments. Although provisions for installing all of the desired equipment were partof the final design, as the construction of the building progressed fiscal concerns caused areduction in the number of Living-Building Laboratory components that were actually funded.Over the past three years members of the School of Computing & Engineering Sciences havebeen using resources provided through a National Science Foundation (NSF) Course,Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement program (CCLI) grant to obtain and install some ofthis equipment and to make the data available for student use. The paper presented at the 2010conference describes the use of the Living-Building Laboratory data in a thermodynamics courseto analyze the Variable Air Volume (VAV) mixing box in the thermodynamics laboratory roomusing the actual data from the building. This paper describes the use of the Living-BuildingLaboratory data in a Fluid Mechanics course. For the laboratory exercise discussed one of thepotable water pipes in the building was instrumented and the data was made accessible to thestudents through the internet. An assessment of the effect of using the actual building’s data inplace of an educational laboratory apparatus on the students’ ability to understand the coursematerial is also discussed.

Durfee, J. K. (2011, June), Using a Living-Building Laboratory (Building as a Laboratory) as a Fluid Mechanics Laboratory Project in the Engineering Technology Curriculum Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18628

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