ME301 ( saylor.org/courses/me301 ) is one of over 240 free online courses created by the Saylor Foundation. As we continue to build our iTunes U catalog, please visit www.saylor.org for additional courses; you can also connect with other students on our discussion forums and track your scores with our ePortfolio .
Note: Additional features for this course are available when viewed in the iTunes U app for iOS.
Purpose of Course This course will serve as your introduction to working in an engineering laboratory. You will learn to gather, analyze, interpret, and explain physical measurements for simple engineering systems in which only a few factors need be considered. This experience will be crucial to your success in analyzing more complicated systems in subsequent coursework and in the practice of mechanical engineering.
We frequently encounter measurement systems in our everyday lives. Consider the following examples:
The many gauges found on the control panel of a motor vehicle indicate vehicle speed, engine coolant temperature, transmission setting, cabin temperature, engine speed, and oil pressure—amongst many other measurements.
A routine visit to a physician often entails several measurements of varying complexity—internal temperature, blood pressure, internal appearance, heart rate, respiration rate, and tissue texture, amongst many, many more.
The experienced cook may use several measurements to successfully “cook until done”—for example, he or she might measure internal temperature, external coloration, external temperature and exposure time, internal coloration, aroma, and texture. Any one of these measurement systems may require substantial attention to detail. Consider the elaborate ritual of procedure that occurs next time you have your blood pressure measured in a routine physical examination. Or perhaps observe the careful baker measuring the temperature in the final stages of baking. You might ask: “What type of thermometer is used? How large is the probe? What is the response time of the probe (how long do we have to let it equilibrate for each measurement)? What is the accuracy of the measurement? What is the precision of the measurement? Where in the product are the measurements taken? How many measurements are taken? How are the measurements recorded? And finally, what possible actions might be taken as a result of those measurements?”
The primary purpose of this course is not to make you an expert at all types of measurements important to mechanical engineering, but rather to expose you to the use and analysis of a few such techniques so that you may readily adapt new techniques as appropriate in subsequent coursework and in your engineering career. Each section of this course is accompanied by hands-on or virtual exercises. The units of this course are intended to stand alone, but you may find it worthwhile to revisit previous sections and exercises after completing later sections of the course.