Matthew J. Traum, Luis Enrique Mendoza Zambrano
The COVID-19 pandemic illuminated the critical need for flexible mechanical engineering laboratories simultaneously deployable in multiple modalities: face-to-face, hybrid, and remote. A key element in the lesson portfolio of a forward-looking engineering instructor is economical, hands-on, accessible, 'turn-key' lab activities; kits that can be deployed both in brick-and-mortar teaching labs and mailed home to remote learners. The Energy Engineering Laboratory Module pedagogy, described elsewhere, provides an underpinning theoretical framework and examples to achieve these features. In addition, instructional lab kits must demonstrate foundational engineering phenomena while maintaining measurement accuracy and fidelity at reasonable cost. In the energy-thermal-fluid sciences, achieving these conditions presents challenges as kits require energy and matter transport and conversion in real time at scales large enough to reveal measurable phenomena but not so large as to become hazardous to users. This paper presents theoretical underpinning and experimental verification of a fluid mechanics lab experiment appropriate for undergraduate engineering students that 1) meets all the above-described criteria, 2) costs less than $30 in materials, and 3) can be easily mailed to remote learners.
Comments: 8 pages, 6 figures, pre-print to be published in the Proceedings of the ASME 2021 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition (IMECE2021), November 1-5, 2021