ME301: Measurement & Experimentation Laboratory

Course Syllabus for "ME301: Measurement & Experimentation Laboratory"

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This course will serve as your introduction to working in an engineering laboratory.  You will learn to gather, analyze, interpret, and explain physical measurements for simple engineering systems in which only a few factors need be considered.  This experience will be crucial to your success in analyzing more complicated systems in subsequent coursework and in the practice of mechanical engineering. We frequently encounter measurement systems in our everyday lives.  Consider the following examples: 1.      The many gauges found on the control panel of a motor vehicle indicate vehicle speed, engine coolant temperature, transmission setting, cabin temperature, engine speed, and oil pressure—amongst many other measurements. 2.      A routine visit to a physician often entails several measurements of varying complexity—internal temperature, blood pressure, internal appearance, heart rate, respiration rate, and tissue texture, amongst many, many more. 3.      The experienced cook may use several measurements to successfully “cook until done”—for example, he or she might measure internal temperature, external coloration, external temperature and exposure time, internal coloration, aroma, and texture. Any one of these measurement systems may require substantial attention to detail.  Consider the elaborate ritual of procedure that occurs next time you have your blood pressure measured in a routine physical examination.  Or perhaps observe the careful baker measuring the temperature in the final stages of baking.  You might ask: “What type of thermometer is used?  How large is the probe?  What is the response time of the probe (how long do we have to let it equilibrate for each measurement)?  What is the accuracy of the measurement?  What is the precision of the measurement?  Where in the product are the measurements taken?  How many measurements are taken?  How are the measurements recorded?  And finally, what possible actions might be taken as a result of those measurements?” The primary purpose of this course is not to make you an expert at all types of measurements important to mechanical engineering, but rather to expose you to the use and analysis of a few such techniques so that you may readily adapt new techniques as appropriate in subsequent coursework and in your engineering career.  Each section of this course is accompanied by hands-on or virtual exercises.  The units of this course are intended to stand alone, but you may find it worthwhile to revisit previous sections and exercises after completing later sections of the course.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Interpret and use scientific notation and engineering units to describe physical quantities
  • Present engineering data and other information in graphical and/or tabular format
  • Use automated systems for data acquisition and analysis for engineering systems
  • Work in teams for experiment design, data acquisition, and data analysis
  • Use elementary concepts of physics to analyze engineering situations and data
  • Summarize and present experimental design, implementation, and data in written format
  • Use new technology and resources to design and perform experiments for engineering analysis

Course Requirements

In order to take this course you must:
√    Have access to a computer.
√    Have continuous broadband Internet access.
√    Have the ability/permission to install plug-ins or software (e.g., Adobe Reader or Flash).
√    Have the ability to download and save files and documents to a computer.
√    Have the ability to open Microsoft files and documents (.doc, .ppt, .xls, etc.).
√    Be competent in the English language.
√    Have read the Saylor Student Handbook.

Course Information

Welcome to ME301: Measurement & Experimentation Laboratory. General information about this course and its requirements can be found below.

Course Designer: Dr. Steve Gibbs
Primary Resources: This course comprises a range of different free, online materials. However, the course makes primary use of the following:

Requirements for Completion: In order to complete this course, you will need to work through each unit and all of its assigned material. All units build on previous units, so it will be important to progress through the course in the order presented.
Note that you will only receive an official grade on your Final Exam. However, in order to adequately prepare for this exam, you will need to work through the assessments at the end of each unit in this course. 

In order to pass this course, you will need to earn a 70% or higher on the Final Exam. Your score on the exam will be tabulated as soon as you complete it. If you do not pass the exam, you may take it again. 
Time Commitment: This course should take you a total of approximately 111 hours to complete. Each unit includes a time advisory that lists the amount of time you are expected to spend on each subunit and assignment. These time advisories should help you plan your time accordingly. It may be useful to take a look at the time advisories before beginning this course in order to determine how much time you have over the next few weeks to complete each unit. Then, you can set goals for yourself. For example, Unit 1 should take you approximately 19 hours to complete. Perhaps you can sit down with your calendar and decide to complete Subunit 1.1 (a total of 4 hours) on Monday night, Subunit 1.2 (a total of 6 hours) on Tuesday and Subunit 1.3 and 1.4 (3 hours) on Wednesday night, etc.
Tips/Suggestions: It is extremely important that you give each assignment the amount of reading and review necessary to grasp the main points and lines of enquiry.  Also, on completing the assessments, take a moment to consider how the materials you have just studied relate to the topics covered in previous sections of the course.

Preliminary Information

  • Introductory Materials

    Prior to working through the bulk of this course, please spend some time acquainting yourself with the subject of this course by using the following resources.

    Time Advisory

    This introductory section should take you 4 hours to complete.

    • Reading: Simon-Fraser University: Stephen Lower’s Chem1 General Chemistry Virtual Textbook: “Getting Started: Stuff You Should Know Before Delving Too Far into Chemistry” The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

      Submit Materials

    • Reading: National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST): Dr. W. J. Youden’s “Experimentation and Measurement” The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

      Submit Materials

Table of Contents: You can find the course's units at the links below.