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Introducing instrumentation and data acquisition to mechanical engineering students using LabVIEW

Strachan, P and Oldroyd, A and Stickland, M (2000) Introducing instrumentation and data acquisition to mechanical engineering students using LabVIEW. International Journal of Engineering Education, 16 (4). pp. 315-326. ISSN 0949-149X

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Abstract

For several years, LabVIEW has been used within the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Strathclyde as the basis for introducing the basic concepts and practice of data acquisition, and more generally, instrumentation, to postgraduate engineering students and undergraduate project students. The objectives of introducing LabVIEW within the curriculum were to expose students to instrumentation and experimental analysis, and to create courseware that could be used flexibly for a range of students. It was also important that staff time for laboratory work be kept to manageable levels. A course module was developed which allows engineering students with very little or no previous knowledge of instrumentation or programming to become acquainted with the basics of programming, experimentation and data acquisition. The basic course structure has been used to teach both undergraduates and postgraduates as well as laboratory technical staff. The paper describes the objectives of the use of LabVIEW for teaching, the structure of the module developed, and the response of students who have been subjected to the course, and how it is intended to expand the delivery to greater student numbers.