Laboratories

Biomechanics Laboratory
This laboratory contains work space for design and construction of devices to aid in health maintenance. Computer facilities in the lab are equipped with software for both lumped-mass and finite element modeling of the human body.

Combustion and Reactive Flow Laboratory
This teaching and research laboratory contains a holographic interferometer, a high-speed imaging system, a laser-induced fluorescence system, and a particle image velocimetry system. The laboratory supports research on topics such as microgravity combustion, reactive turbulent flows, propulsion, and internal combustion engine applications.

Design Clinic Laboratory
This laboratory consists of a design library, conference space, audio/visual equipment, telephone centers, and a presentation area for Design Clinic Industrial Project activities.

HVAC Laboratory
This laboratory includes a variety of ground-source heat-pump systems. The lab also has ground heat exchanger and psychometric testing areas, fan and pump/motor test stands, and a variety of alternative energy equipment.

Integrated Manufacturing LaboratoryDr. Yuebin Guo
This laboratory is used to develop process modeling, simulation (FEM), and optimization for manufacturing. Mechanical behavior of materials is investigated. In addition, sensor-based intelligent monitoring and controlled systems as well as concurrent simulation-based design and manufacturing software are developed. The laboratory is equipped with several CNC machining centers, high performance computers, and related software packages.

Internal Combustion Engines LaboratoryDr. K. Clark Midkiff, Dr. John Baker
The Internal Combustion Engines Laboratory has a total of seven engines. Six of the seven are used for research–primarily in the field of alternative fuels and emissions. The other engine is used for academics.

  • The General Motors 2.5 liter, in-line, 4 cylinder, spark ignited (S.I.) engine has a bore of 4 inches and a stroke of 3 inches. This research-oriented engine runs on natural gas. The compression ratio is 8.3:1 and it has throttle body fuel injection. A computer is used for data acquisition. A DAS-16 board is used for collecting pressure data, while a DAS-8 board is used for temperature data. Pressure transducers are located near the spark plugs. A rotameter is used for measuring coolant and natural gas flow rates. Temperature data is collected using Type-K thermocouples. A Heads Up Display is used as an interface between the computer and sensors used to collect data such as the spark timing, idle speed, and air to fuel ratio. The engine is equipped with an Electronic Control Module (ECM); this is the engine’s computer.
  • The General Motors 2.8 liter, V6, S.I. engine has a 3.5 inch bore and a 3 inch stroke. It runs on natural gas with a base-line fuel of gasoline. This research oriented engine has a compression ratio of 8.9:1. Having a 3-way catalytic converter, it is capable of minimizing 3 different pollutants common to many engines: hydrocarbons, NO, and CO. Thermocouples, DAS-8 boards, DAS-16 boards are used for collecting data. A Heads Up Display is also used.
  • A General Electric, Direct Current (DC) Electric Dynamometer is used to measure torque for both the GM 2.5 liter and the GM 2.8 liter engines. The dynamometer applies a load (torque) to the output shaft of the engine. The load applied is proportional to the amount of current sent to the dynamometer from the generators. This dynamometer can output a torque at different engine speeds.
  • The Caterpillar 3406 in line, 6 cylinder, combustion ignited (C.I.) also runs on natural gas, with a main line fuel of diesel. The natural gas fuel includes different blends of propane, butane, pentane, and others. Direct fuel injection is used. Thermocouples, rotameters, and flowmeters are a few of the measuring tools used. An A.W. water brake dynamometer is used to measure engine torque at different speeds; by changing the water level in the dynamometer, the load applied to the engine can be varied. The Caterpillar uses a turbocharger. By sending the hot exhaust through a turbine connected to a compressor, compressed air can be sent to the piston. With higher density air, a higher output power can be achieved. Also, the Caterpillar uses an inter-cooler. This cools down the air intake (also raises the air density), thus improving emissions.
  • The Yanmar TS 180C is a 1 cylinder (horizontally mounted) C.I. engine. Its base line fuel is diesel, while its research oriented fuel is coal water slurry (ground up coal mixed with water). A Go Power water brake dynamometer measures engine torque. Indirect fuel injection is used. Emissions and alternative fuels are these engines research contributions.
  • The Yanmar TS 105C is a 1 cylinder, 0.51 liter, C.I. engine. It has a bore of 85mm, a stroke of 90 mm, and a compression ratio of 20.9:1. A water brake dynamometer is used for torque measurement on this engine with indirect fuel injection. Some data acquisition tools are used. Type-K thermocouples are used to measure the following temperatures: exhaust, coolant, oil, and air inlet. A load cell is also used for torque measurement.
  • The GM 2.2 liter, in line, 4 cylinder, S.I. engine has a bore of 3.5 inches and a stroke of 3.46 inches. The engine’s compression ratio is 8.85:1. It is used for emissions studies using natural gas with a base line fuel of gasoline. Approximately 80% of a gasoline engine’s pollution occurs during the first 2 minutes of running. This is due to the fact that a catalyst must be above a certain temperature in order to work properly. Thus, the catalytic converter does not work well until after the engine heats up. Methods of heating the catalyst during these first crucial minutes are being analyzed with this engine. A Head’s Up Display is used. A Superflow 901 water brake dynamometer measures power output. When running on natural gas, a GFI natural gas conversion kit is used. By use of a graduated cylinder and a stopwatch, fuel flow rate can be determined.
  • The emissions bank runs an engine exhaust sample through many analyzers to determine its make-up. Typical exhaust contains water. Before the sample can be analyzed, the water must be removed as well as particulates. This is done by sending the sample through the Thermo-Electron Sample Gas Conditioner. Then the exhaust is sent to the dry sample analyzers. The Rosemount Analytical Model 951A NO/NOX analyzer utilizes the chemiluminescent principle. By shooting the sample with ozone, light is made and measured. The amount of light is proportional to the amount of NOX in the sample. The Rosemount Analytical Model 880 CO2 analyzer uses infrared radiation as its measurement technique. The Infrared Industries IR-703 CO analyzer also uses infrared radiation. Beckman Industries Model 755A O2 analyzer utilizes the paramagnetic principle. Beckman Industries Model 402 Hydrocarbon Analyzer uses the flame ionization detection (FID) principle. The big tanks are filled with the spanning and zeroing gases. They are the means by which the emissions bank is calibrated.
  • Engine Emission Testing Equipment – The control room contains equipment including a smokemeter, the Parr Adiabatic Calorimeter, and the control panel for the Superflow 901 Dynamometer.

Instrumentation Laboratories
These labs provide a variety of experimental equipment and instruments to support the teaching of basic instrumentation for mechanical systems and thermal fluid systems.

Machining Research Laboratory
This laboratory contains basic machine tools such as milling machines, lathes, drill presses, and a 10-hp CNC turning center. The laboratory supports research on machining areas (e.g. machining of advanced materials for process development, modeling, and optimization). The laboratory also supports teaching of introduction to manufacturing processes.

Metrology Laboratory
This laboratory contains metrology instruments, including a Leitz measuring microscope, a Brown & Sharpe Coordinate Measuring Machine, and other gages. The laboratory supports research on metrology-related issues in manufacturing such as precision and surface finish. The laboratory also supports teaching needs on fundamental metrology in manufacturing.

Numerical Modeling Laboratory
This laboratory features high-performance workstations with expanded storage and various I/O devices for efficient modeling of fluids and transport phenomena.

Robotics and Automation Laboratory
This laboratory supports instrumentation and research in the areas of robotics, imaging systems, computer-mechanical interfacing, control systems, and computer-integrated manufacturing.

Structural Acoustics LaboratoryDr. Steve Shepard
Focus areas: to develop new technologies in the areas of structural vibrations and acoustics. By gaining a fundamental understanding of the generation, transmission and radiation mechanisms associated with sound and vibration, the needs of industry, government and engineering education can be met.