The Instrumentation Laboratory of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Texas at Tyler supports a number of courses and projects.
The lab supports the first ME Laboratory course where students are introduced to measurement systems and instrumentation. Equipment used in laboratory experiments includes potentiometers and LVDTs (Linear Variable Differential Transformers), pressure gages, manometers and electronic pressure sensors, thermometers, thermocouples and thermistors, strain gages and load cells, and accelerometers (used for vibration measurements in conjunction with an electro-mechanical shaker). Students are shown how to calibrate the various measurement devices. For example an Ashcroft deadweight tester is used to calibrate the pressure transducers. Tektronix digital multi-meters and Hewlett-Packard digital oscilloscopes are used to read signals from electronic sensors, and operational amplifier circuits are created to condition the sensor signals.
Two PC-based data acquisition systems (Data Translation and Keithly-Metrabyte) are used to gather and store data from the electronic sensors for later processing and analysis.
In addition to the assigned experimental work, which includes data analysis and laboratory report writing, student teams design and implement an experimental procedure to investigate a problem of their own choosing.