ME 533 Mechanical Engineering Laboratory

Purpose of Laboratory

This course is designed to give junior-level students hands-on experience and theoretical background in the fundamentals of measurement and instrumentation for mechanical engineers. The experiments and demonstrations also illustrate the fundamentals of solid and fluid mechanics. Students set up and operate instrument systems for measuring various physical parameters such as pressure, temperature, displacement, force, strain, sound, and vibration. The data collected is analyzed to demonstrate and reinforce many basic engineering concepts, such as Bernoullis Law, Fouriers Law and the behavior of first- and second-order systems. Experiments are performed in small groups, and each student prepares an independent laboratory report. Development of report writing skills and technical writing is also a feature of this laboratory. The preparation of reports also requires that students develop skills with word processing applications, spreadsheet calculations, and scientific graphing.


The Mechanical Engineering Laboratory is physically located in one room in Wallace Hall (Room 109). This large room contains adequate counter space and utility services for the experiments, and a large open area serves as lecture space and contains work tables and chairs.

Laboratory equipment and instrumentation can be categorized into two groups. The first group consists of dedicated experiments, which are set up in permanent locations. Some of these experiments have been purchased, and some have been fabricated by WSU students and faculty. A list of these experiments includes the following:

  • Heat transfer conduction
  • Heat transfer through extended surfaces
  • Air flow loop with flow metering apparatus
  • Hot wire anemometer calibration and turbulent jet measurement
  • Air flow around a cylinder
  • First-order system blow-down and equivalent first-order electrical system
  • Second-order system characteristics and damping
  • Strain gage calibration
  • Calibration of a pressure transducer
  • Force and distance displacement sensors

In addition to the fixed laboratory demonstration experiments, there is a variety of other instrumentation available, including the following:

  • Oscilloscopes, function generators, counters and multimeters
  • Strain gages and strain gage bonding materials
  • Sound level meter and calibrator
  • Light meter
  • Pitot tubes, pressure transducers, and manometers
  • Thermocouples, thermistor, and RTD temperature indicators
  • Optical pyrometers
  • Personal computers with LabVIEW DAQ software and/or analog I/O boards and C++ software
  • Falling ball viscometers and a Saybolt viscometer
  • Precision specific gravity floats
  • NI Elvis system and DAQ (NI Educational Laboratory Virtual Instrumentation Suite)