Engineering Mechanics Laboratory
The Engineering Mechanics Lab is primarily dedicated to support of the freshmen course MECE-102 Engineering Mechanics Laboratory, and the upper-level course MECE-301 Engineering Applications Laboratory. Configured as a studio-style classroom, the laboratory space consists of ten identical workstations capable of seating 40 students total at a time. Each station is outfitted with all of the equipment required to perform the experiments for MECE-102. Each station has a dedicated computer and a relatively simple contingent of software programs required for the course itself (Microsoft Office and LabVIEW, among others). These computers are meant primarily for the data collection and analysis tasks, and as such they are not workstations, nor are they heavily loaded with any software. In addition, the central table of the room, along with the newly installed Epson projector, is used to support the lab sessions of MECE-301. Seating at this table can accommodate 18 directly, but with the side benches as a supplement, as many as 60 students could potentially and comfortably occupy the space at once (but this would not be recommended). Student teams in MECE-301 also use the surrounding workstations for their own project work, but must ensure that their systems are removed from the tables when finished or otherwise out of the way for MECE-102 classes. The room has a number of cabinets that store materials for MECE-102, MECE-301, and spare computer components utilized by the System Administrator of the ME Department. Two of these cabinets are accessible by the students in MECE-301 at all times for their project testing requirements, and contain a host of data acquisition equipment from Vernier and other basic components such as multimeters, hand tools, scales, clamps, and so forth. As availability allows, this room is also frequently used for meetings and presentations by various Multidisciplinary Senior Design teams. Finally, as room availability allows, students routinely use the computers for whatever assignments and so forth that they are working on. In this capacity the room serves as a very small complement to the regular PC Studios in the department, but a relatively significant one all the same. Every intent has been made to leverage all possible use of the room, and to treat it as a model of efficient space utilization.
Major equipment: Ultrasonic distance sensors from Senix, basic data acquisition devices from National Instruments, custom programs created in LabVIEW, video capture capabilities for motion analysis, digital inclinometers, custom designed and fabricated framework for supporting all of the experimental hardware based on the aluminum extrusions and fittings manufactured by 8020 Inc., custom designed and fabricated miniature cars with ball bearing wheels for momentum and energy experiments, custom tracks for the cars, a custom pendulum assembly with optical encoder and computer interface from US Digital, custom centripetal force apparatus, various other pieces fabricated in-house in the Mechanical Engineering Machine Shop, and an extensive suite of measurement and sensing devices from Vernier Software and Technology.