Construction is underway for a new phenomena lab

By January 2018, the Mechanical Engineering Department will have a new phenomena lab that will increase the amount of hands-on lab experience available to undergraduate students.

Students majoring in mechanical engineering can now look forward to the creation of a new phenomena lab where they will be able to conduct experiments in fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, heat transfer, vibrations and controls. These subjects in particular were chosen because they are core courses in mechanical engineering (ME), but up to this point in the program students have not had a chance to directly observe these fundamental phenomena firsthand.

Associate professor and undergraduate director Peter Huang and professor Bruce Murray helped draft the proposal for the new lab and developed the course that will utilize the new facility. “The lab will open its doors in January 2018 and we will start offering a senior-level course in the lab during that spring semester,” said Huang. Murray will be the instructor of the course initially. “While the course, ME 491 Mechanical Engineering Lab, will originally be offered as an ME technical elective, it will subsequently become a required part of the mechanical engineering curriculum,” Murray said. “We see it as an educational avenue for our students to learn more about how to design an experiment and the various means of reporting technical results.”

Students have always been able to get hands-on experience through projects like the Binghamton Hyperloop or the SAE vehicle projects (mini-baja, supermileage and formula hybrid), but the lab is unique for its aim to build additional hands-on experience directly into the required curriculum. The course will be the logical extension of the junior-level course ME 391 Measurements and Instrumentation that gives students the skills to do the type of experimentation that will be carried out in the phenomena lab.

The new lab will be located in the basement of Science 2 and construction is already underway.