SOE Receives $50,000 Grant for Mechanical Engineering Labs

Submitted by Jack Beal on October 13, 2010

The School of Engineering at Fairfield University has received a $50,000 grant from the Brinkman Family Foundation of Rochester New York. This grant will support a program to upgrade our Mechanical Engineering teaching laboratories. This grant addresses the needs for student-accessible, laboratory apparatus to be used to introduce engineering concepts and phenomenon.

One of the best methods for introducing engineering topics is through the use of hands-on experiential learning. This hands-on experience then couples with the theoretical framework from the classroom, reinforcing overall learning by the students – a critical issue particularly for first and second year engineering majors.

Specific equipment packages will include:

  • Fluid flow and hydraulic/pneumatic apparatus
  • Heat conduction and radiation
  • Heat engine cycles; solar energy transfer
  • Thermoelectric energy transfer
  • Hydrogen fuel cell systems

These items will support teaching and learning in an enhanced thermal-hydraulics laboratory.  Additional equipment packages will include:

  • Mechanical wave motion drivers
  • “Flexible” I-beams with load cells and strain gages
  • Demonstration bridge sets with load cells and strain gages

These latter items will serve to enhance teaching and learning in statics and dynamics of mechanical systems.

All of these equipment packages will be interfaced with existing computers so that students can accumulate real data and analyze the data with available software packages such as MatLab.

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