Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
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AEM 4602W: Aeromechanics Laboratory

Catalog Description



AEM 4602W

Aeromechanics Laboratory

4 Credits


Catalog Description:


Experimental methods/design in fluid/solid mechanics. Wind tunnel/water channel experiments with flow visualization, pressure, velocity, force measurements. Measurement of stresses/strains/displacements in solids/ structures: stress concentrations, materials behavior, structural dynamics. Computerized data acquisition/analysis, error analysis, data reduction. Experiment design. Written/oral reports. Lab ethics. Writing intensive.


Course Web Address:


Prerequisites by Topic:


  1. Laboratory Instrumentation (AEM 4601)
  2. Fluid Mechanics (AEM 4201)
  3. Structures (AEM 4501)
  4. Freshman Composition (WRIT 1301)




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


Format of Course:


2 hours of lecture per week, 3 hours of laboratory every other week


Computer Usage:


Data Acquisition programs (wind tunnels and mechanical testing machines)

Word Processor (studentís choice)

Spreadsheet (studentís choice)


Course Objectives:


Development of basic understanding of experimentation in fluid and solid mechanics and in structural vibrations and the relationship between theory and experiment in these areas. Development of oral and written communication skills and the ability to work in groups.


Course Outcomes:


Students who successfully complete the course will demonstrate the following outcomes by tests, homework, and written reports


  1. Ability to conduct experiments using a wind tunnel.
  2. Ability to conduct experiments using a water channel.
  3. Ability to conduct experiments using a mechanical testing machine.
  4. Ability to conduct experiments to determine structural frequency response.
  5. An understanding of experimental data analysis.
  6. An understanding of the relation between aerodynamic theory and practice
  7. An understanding of the relation between structural theory and practice
  8. An understanding of practical material behavior.
  9. Ability to prepare a written report.
  10. Ability to present an oral report.
  11. Ability to work as part of a group.
  12. An understanding of laboratory ethics


Relationship of course to program objectives:


This course develops the abilities to design and conduct experiments in the areas (fluids, solids and dynamics) important to aerospace engineers.


Relationship of course to program outcomes:


This course provides the following outcomes:


  1. Apply mathematics
  2. Design and conduct experiments
  3. Multidisciplinary teamwork
  4. Identify engineering problems
  5. Ethics
  6. Communication skills
  7. Lifelong learning
  8. Engineering tools
  9. Aerodynamics
  10. Materials
  11. Structures


Direct Measures


Outcome:† Materials


Performance Criteria:† Demonstrate knowledge of material behavior.


Assessment Method: Grade on written or oral report on material properties


Course Outline:






Introduction, Overview



Experimental Design, Dimensional Analysis



Force Measurements (lift and drag), Experimental Uncertainty

Wind Tunnel Force Measurements


Report Writing, Sampling, Data Acquisition



Velocity Measurements, hot-wire anemometry

Water Channel Flow Visualization/Wind Tunnel Hot Wire


Data Reduction and Analysis



Other measurement techniques in fluid mechanics



Material Properties and the tension test, Viscoelasticity



Viscoelasticity, Photoelasticity

Material Properties


Photoelasticity, Oral reports



Stress concentrations, Vibrations



Vibrations, Structural Dynamics



Structural Dynamics

Structural Dynamics


Ethics: Case studies in laboratory practice



Outcome Measurement:


Outcomes of this course are measured by 1 written report with iterative grading, 1 oral report and 1 or more additional written reports.


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.

4.      Write a technical laboratory report.

5.      Present a technical oral report.

6.      Work as part of a small group.


Please answer the following questions regarding the course:


7.      The textbook and references were useful and appropriate for the course.

8.      The course was well organized.

9.      The content of the lectures complemented the laboratory sessions.

10.  The feedback on report writing was useful.

11.  The level of work required in this course was appropriate for the credit given


In this course, I acquired the following:


12.  Ability to conduct experiments using a wind tunnel and a water channel.

13.  Ability to conduct experiments using a mechanical testing machine.

14.  A knowledge of experimental design.

15.  A knowledge of uncertainty analysis.

16.  A better understanding of practical fluid flows.

17.  A better understanding of practical problems in solid mechanics.

18.  A better understanding of structural vibrations.


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