Experimental Mechanics Laboratory

The Experimental Mechanics Laboratory has approximately 1,200 square feet and accommodates 16-24 students. The lab is primarily used for classroom instruction and for student projects ranging from required undergraduate class‐related projects to graduate student and faculty research.

Students learn basic mechanical testing and data acquisition practices in this lab. This includes safe experimental practices; understanding how loading, shape, and material properties affect stresses and strains; and familiarity with common laboratory protocols. Students who opt for elective or project work in the lab learn to develop a test plan and conduct appropriate experiments. Most will learn to create a representative model or prototype, specify signal conditioning for quasi‐static and/or dynamic tests, and link experimental results to product applications. Some graduates will use their experimental expertise directly. Others will use this knowledge for development of product specifications, acceptance testing criteria, or process control.

This laboratory serves:

  • MET 21100 (Applied Strength of Materials)
  • MET 31100 (Experimental Strength of Materials)
  • MET 31700 (Machine Diagnostics)
  • MET 42600 (Internal Combustion Engines)

Research results and application:

Past research has included the development of a wolf‐bite force meter, characterization of damping modes in guitar strings, and mobile monitoring of Class 8 trucks. Many class‐based projects have been conducted to assist area companies as they address facilities and process concerns. Typically, three to eight MET 31700 (Machine Diagnostics) group projects per year are industry‐based.

Lab equipment:

  • Universal test machines
  • Fatigue test stands
  • Torsion test stands
  • Photo-elastic stress analysis equipment
  • Electronic strain gauge instrumentation
  • Vibration monitoring and analysis instrumentation
  • Ultrasonic monitoring equipment
  • Balancing instrumentation
  • Sound level meter
  • Data acquisition and recording equipment
  • Oscilloscopes, power supplies, function generators
  • Dynamic testing peripherals (sensors, tachometers, etc.)
  • Thermal imager

Affiliated Faculty and Staff:

Nancy Denton, Eddy Efendy, Jose Garcia Bravo, Jason Ostanek, Mark French, Clayton Kibbey, Jim Lane

Outside funding and support:

Lab support for equipment has come from a number of corporations through donations and grants. Alcoa provided for the laser alignment kit. Ultrasonic monitoring equipment is supplied by UE Systems. PCB Piezotronics has donated many of the accelerometers, microphones, torsion sensors and angular displacement sensors. Sentient Corporation contributed data acquisition software. IRD Mechanalysis (now Rockwell Automation) and Kirby Risk provided several educational demonstration test stands and peripherals.

Facility Location Faculty Contact Courses Taught in This Facility
Knoy 106 Nancy Denton, James Lane -