The Mechanical Engineering Department maintains eight modern engineering laboratories, a machine shop, and a wood shop. Assisting in maintaining these facilities are Mr. Mike Cullen (lab technician) and Mr. Marco Floyd (machinist).
In addition to the general use computer labs around the post, the Mechanical Engineering Department has a special use computer laboratory. The CADE lab is equipped with 15 computers running Windows NT4.0. Hardware specifications: 550 Mhz Pentium III CPU, 128 MB RAM, 2 MB Video Card, 8 GB hard drive, 10/100 Mbs ethernet card, sound card, 3.5 inch floppy drive, cdrom drive, and 21 inch Panasonic Monitors. The lab is equipped with a high resolution video projector, networked color laser printer, networked black & white laser printer, and two networked D-size ink-jet roll-fed plotters. In addition to the networked print devices, each workstation is equipped with an A-size pen-and-ink HPGL plotter. Engineering software includes AutoCAD 2000 Mechanical Desktop (a computer aided drafting package), ALGOR (a finite element analysis package), MathCAD 8 (a high level math package), and Carrier's Hourly Load Analysis Package. In addition, Microsoft Office Suite is available along with many course specific software packages such as PC Boiler and SOFT LIGHT.
The newest of the labs, the controls lab currently has two Scara robots, various controls system modules, and a ball-and-beam apparatus (the idea being to develop a controller to balance the ball on the beam).
This lab contains 2 multi-media computers which allow the first classmen to develop snazzy resumes, multi-media presentations for class projects, and numerous other engineering programs such as Fortran, Visual Basic, and C++.
The cadet participants will be given directions and information about the particular ASME National Design Contest project for the competition to be held in the spring. A group or groups will be formed and a group leader with be chosen for each. The group must produce a written report of the project by the end of the semester. An evaluation of the group's performance, ability to work within a group, quality of the resulting work and written report will be used to assign a grade to the individuals in the design teams.
Equipment in the Energy Laboratory includes an axial flow fan-dynamometer, an experiment to measure the thermal conductivity of several metals, two bomb calorimeters-one which is computer controlled, Orsat analysis equipment with a gas fired furnace to provide flue gas, a new vapor refrigeration unit that is well instrumented, ten single cylinder four-stroke internal combustion engines, three Mega Tech internal combustion engines with glass cylinder walls and an engine dynamometer, an instrumented supersonic nozzle, a well instrumented model of a cooling tower and a well instrumented miniature power plant.
Students learn to apply fundamental principles to the measurement of temperature, pressure, fluid flow, stress, strain, force, velocity, and displacement. Students will use curve fitting, and statistical techniques in data analysis. The lab provides an introduction to static and dynamic systems. Digital data analysis and acquisition systems are also introduced. In addition to basic instrumentation, the lab contains a wind tunnel and laser doppler velocimetry system which are also used in the flight mechanics and fundamentals of aerodynamics courses.
The Automated Manufacturing Laboratory has its own space and utilizes the Machine Shop. The students perform machining on two 10” lathes, a 15-inch lathe, a drill press, a metal band saw and three vertical milling machines one of which is CNC capable. These are located in the Machine Shop. They work with a CNC lathe and a CNC milling machine in the Automated Manufacturing Laboratory. The students have projects utilizing nonferrous casting equipment, welding and cutting equipment, and plastic injection molding equipment. Various woodworking machines, and hand and power tools are available in the machine shop. A new electric foundry and a rapid prototyping system which can make small polymer objects have recently been added.
Topics covered include crystal structure modeling, tensile and torsional testing, fatigue analysis, creep of materials, material phase diagrams, heat treatment of steel with subsequent analysis using the Rockwell and Brinell hardness testers, a toughness impact tester and microstructure analysis equipment, composite (concrete) testing, and polymer identification. In 1997 the Instron Tensile Test machines (shown at left), control system was upgraded and new operating software was purchased. All of the testing machines are periodically re-calibrated by an outside laboratory.