Fluid Mechanics and Hydraulics

The Fluid Mechanics Teaching Laboratory is being used to deliver the wet-lab portion of the CE365, Hydrology and Hydraulic Engineering, class. It recently underwent an upgrade (2018) as the department was able to secure about $70K to expand the list of experiments that go with the above course. The course is now able to not only offer a selection of experiments to choose from for any given semester, but also to have all experimental apparatus in duplicate to accommodate more students in parallel. This is a major improvement step because the lab can now handle the increasing student numbers and also free up more lab time for more experiment that can be put in the semester line up. 

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The Pumps-in-Parallel-and-Series Experiment Apparatus

 

The experiments are selected to complement what the students learn in class, actually two classes, i.e. CE350 Fluid Mechanics and this class. Some of the experiments are very fundamental in nature, such as Hydrostatic Pressure and Bernoulli Theorem (which are topics in CE350, Fluid Mechanics) while the others are more applied such as Pipe Friction (and Minor Losses), Pump Analyses, and Weir Flows. Note that we also put a strong emphasis on computer applications; we offer one experiment that is based on a spreadsheet calculation for designing an Outfall Diffuser and the Class Project typically addresses a Water Distribution Network for which applications such as EPA-Net, SWMM, WaterGEMS, or STANET can be used.

 

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A look at the Reynolds-Osbourne, Bernoulli, and HydroStatics Experiments 

 

We also put a strong emphasis on having a good and useful (and fun!) experience while conducting the experiments. A key to this desired experience is to keep the lab groups small, typically 4 to the group (on occasions 5), so every student gets to actually do something instead of observing the action from a second row peaking-over-somebody's-shoulder situation. The class is typically supported by a (or two) teaching assistants (they run the experiments with the students) in addition to a dedicated lab technician who sets up the experimental apparatus and keeps the equipment in running order. 

 

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Some of our CE students using the Bernoulli apparatus

 

For a complete list of our experiments see below.

1) Hydro Statics

2) BERNOULLI's Theorem

3) REYNOLD-OSBOURNE

4) Pumps in Series/Parallel

5) Sharp-Crested Weirs

6) Pipe Friction (various diameters, roughness, minor losses)

7) Design of an Outfall Diffuser (computer lab experiment) 

8) The laboratory also contains a tilting flume 52 ft. long for Open Channel experiments