Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
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AEM 4601: Instrumentation Laboratory

Catalog Description



AEM 4601

Instrumentation Laboratory

3 Credits


Catalog Description:


Introduction to laboratory instrumentation. Computerized data acquisition. Statistical analysis of data. Time series data and spectral analysis. Transducers for measurement of solid, fluid and dynamical quantities. Design of experiments.


Course Web Address:


Prerequisites by Topic:


  1. C/C++ Computer Programming (CS 1113)
  2. Electronics (EE 3005, EE 3006)




Introduction to Engineering Experimentation, 3rd  edition, Wheeler and Ganji, Prentice Hall, 2009.




The Art of Electronics by Horowitz and Hill, Cambridge University Press, 1989.

Practical C Programming by Steve Oualline, O’Reilly and Associates, 1993.


The following are available in the laboratory, 301 Akerman:


Dynamic C 5.x Technical Reference, Rabbitt

Dynamic C 5.x Function Reference, Rabbitt

Dynamic C 5.x Application Frameworks, Rabbitt

User Manual:  Digital Oscilloscope, Tektronix


Format of Course:


3 hours of lecture per week, 3 hours of laboratory per week.


Computer Usage:


Dynamic C (micro-controller IDE)


Various numerical calculations including FFT’s (Excel, Matlab, student choice)


Course Objectives:


Develop an understanding of computerized data acquisition, the methods of experimentation in fluids and solid mechanics and in dynamics and methods for analysis of experimental data.


Course Outcomes:


Students who successfully complete the course will demonstrate the following outcomes

by tests, homework, and laboratory assignments


  1. An understanding of computerized data acquisition.
  2. An understanding of computer interfacing.
  3. An understanding of statistical data analysis.
  4. An understanding of time-series data analysis.
  5. A knowledge of the types of sensors for measuring fluid, solid and dynamical quantities.


Relationship of course to program objectives:


This course provides an understanding of the fundamentals of experimentation, including the use of computers, and experimental data analysis.


Relationship of course to program outcomes:


This course provides the following outcomes:


  1. Apply math
  2. Design and conduct experiments
  3. Identify engineering problems
  4. Lifelong learning
  5. Engineering tools


Course Outline:






Week 1

Lab: (No Lab)

M: (Holiday)

W: Computer Overview


Ch 1

Week 2

Lab: Check Out Parts and Tutorial

M: C Programming Review

 (Dynamic C class demo)

W: Bread Board and Lab Instruments

§ 4.1, 4.2


§ 3.1, 3.3

Week 3

Lab: Digital I/O

M: Electronics Review

W: Parallel and Serial I/O

§ 3.2.3

§ 3.4

Week 4

Lab: Serial Communications

M: Serial Programming

W: A/D Conversion: Errors, Types


§ 4.3-4.5

Week 5

Lab: D/A Conversion

M: D/A conversion and DAC0806

W: A/D with D/A and comparator


Week 6

Lab: A/D in Software

M: Statistical Analysis of Data

W: (cont)

Ch 6

Week 7

Lab: A/D in Software (cont)

M: (cont)

W: Measurement systems


Ch 2

Week 8

Lab: (No lab)

M: ADC080x



Week 9

Lab: A/D in Hardware

M: Multitasking

W: (cont)


Week 10

Lab: Periodic sampling

M: Time Series Analysis

W: (cont)

Ch 5

Week 11

Lab: Frequency Analysis

M: FFT’s with packages (class demo)

W: Op-amps

App A

§ 3.2

Week 12


Lab: (No Lab – Thanksgiving Holiday)

M: Sensors and transducers

W: Strain gages

Ch 8, 9, 10

Week 13

Lab: Strain Gage sensor – static measurements

M: Hot wires and Pitot tubes

W: Experimental Uncertainty Analysis


Ch 7

Week 14

Lab: Strain Gage sensor – dynamic measurements

M: (cont)

W: Filters and 3 op-amp inst. amp



Week 15

Lab: (No Lab – 3 day week)

M: Experimental Design


Ch 12


Outcome Measurement:


Outcomes in this course are measured through lab projects, homework, midterm and final exams.


Student Survey Questions:


This course improved my ability to do the following:


  1. Ability to apply knowledge of math., science, and engineering.
  2. Ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as analyze and interpret data.
  3. An ability to use the techniques, skills, engineering tools necessary for modern engineering practice.


Please answer the following questions regarding the course:


  1. The text book was clearly written and appropriate for the course.
  2. The homework helped me to understand the concepts presented in the course.
  3. The tests were appropriate in length and content.
  4. The labs helped me to understand the concepts presented in the course
  5. The level of work required in this course was appropriate for the credit given.


In this course I acquired the following:


  1. A knowledge of laboratory instrumentation.
  2. A knowledge of statistics.
  3. A knowledge of experimental data analysis.
  4. A knowledge of basic computer interfacing.


Last modified:




Last Modified: 2007-07-24 at 10:04:45 -- this is in International Standard Date and Time Notation