An Innovation-Based Fluid Mechanics Design and Fabrication Laboratory

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Wicker, R. B. and Quintana, R. (2000), An Innovation‐Based Fluid Mechanics Design and Fabrication Laboratory. Journal of Engineering Education, 89: 361-367. doi:10.1002/j.2168-9830.2000.tb00537.x


As part of a four‐week fluid mechanics laboratory, Mechanical Engineering students were challenged to design and manufacture the least restrictive flow nozzle for a standard test condition within several design constraints. The Nozzle Design Challenge (NDC) combined analysis, design, manufacturing, and experimentation. The positive student responses to the NDC were overwhelming. Formal evaluation of the NDC included the measured nozzle flow rates and the amount of time spent in the laboratory. The highest flow rate nozzle allowed substantially more flow than the nozzle with a 1‐inch diameter hole used for demonstration. Every group spent more time in the laboratory than was scheduled, which may indicate high levels of motivation for the project. The examination scores covering the principles learned in this laboratory were compared to the previous semester's students who did not perform the innovation‐based design and fabrication project. After blocking out the effects of GPA, the results indicate that the students who undertook the design experience performed significantly better on the examination.