Teaching Laboratories | Trinity University
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Teaching Laboratories

A major strength of our program is the instructional laboratory component of our curriculum. There are four "flex labs" in CSI, designed for space utilization and flexibility.

Each flex lab has an instructional media station, which contains an integrated automation control system that operates all of the AV equipment such as the document camera, in-house computer, "bring your own media" (laptop or tablet) and two projection screens, which allows the instructor to utilize different media formats efficiently in a given lab session. Behind the screens are two sets of white boards, with two panels each which can be raised or lowered to provide four sets of writing surfaces. This instructional system allows for a variety of teaching pedagogy to be implemented in the lab environment. The space allows for all instruction to occur in the given space, instead of reserving an additional lecture room and moving the whole class between them.

Teaching prep rooms attached to each flex lab enable equipment and instruments to be moved into the laboratory when needed, and stored when not needed, thus facilitating multiple use of each space, and helps keep the lab uncluttered. All flex labs have overhead utility panels and sturdy workstation tables. All computers at the workstations have two monitors, which allow students to review instructional media on one monitor, and perform lab tasks on the other.

Controls/Mechatronics Laboratory Digital Electronics Laboratory
Mechanics/Circuits and Electronics Laboratory Thermal-Fluids/Chemical Engineering Laboratory

Controls/Mechatronics Laboratory

This lab (CSI-355) supports the core feedback control class (ENGR 3355/3155), where a number of classical "plants" such as the coupled tanks, the heat flow, the ball and beam, the ball and hoop, and DC motor are interfaced. MATLAB/Simulink with Quanser Equipment and National Instruments DAQ cards support these experiments. In the fall, the lab also supports an elective course in Mechatronics (ENGR 4367). In this class, PIC microcontrollers, Programmable Logical Controllers (PLCs), and MATLAB/Simulink support design. Plants such as the DC motor/tachometer, coupled tanks, servo/stepper motors, etc. are used in the class. In the spring, this laboratory supports junior design (ENGR 3182). National Instruments data acquisition boards and specially written Virtual Instrumentation (VI) software allows students to perform real-time temperature, voltage, current and input power measurements; these measurements are performed on small consumer appliances (such as electric griddles), and both transient and steady-state results are compared to predictions obtained from numerical models (Creo/Simulate). When not utilized for coursework, this laboratory has sixteen general purpose PCs that are available for engineering students.

Digital Electronics Laboratory

This laboratory is the primary location for Digital Logic Design Laboratory (ENGR 4165), and is shared with the Physics department who uses it for their sophomore electronics laboratory. It contains eight workstations with PCs and advanced electronic instrumentation, including high-speed mixed signal oscilloscopes, function generators, and Digital Multi-Meters. Digital design software is also available. Development systems used in these courses include Altera DE0 Development Boards, featuring FLEX series Field Programmable Gate Arrays. Software to design boards for prototyping on the T-Tech QuickCircuit QCJ5 printed circuit board routing machine is also available and used in this space. This lab is available to students enrolled in ENGR-4165/4365.

Mechanics/Circuits and Electronics Laboratory

This space is used principally in support of laboratories in Electric Circuits (ENGR 2120) and Electronics I (ENGR 2164). The lab contains ten stations with electronic instrumentation such as oscilloscopes, Digital Multi-Meters, and function generators. Electronic Breadboards and common electronic design components (e.g wires, resistors, capacitors, inductors, standard integrated chips such as op-amps) are available to students. The lab also houses a PC at each station for simulation and general purpose work.

An Instron Material Testing machine is also located in this room, which is used in Engineering Materials (ENGR 4341). An Objet Scholar (polyjet) 3D printer is housed in the prep room attached to this space, and it supports various student design projects on an as-needed basis.

Thermal-Fluids/Chemical Engineering Laboratory

This space is used principally for the Fluid Mechanics Laboratory (ENGR 3123) and Heat Transfer Laboratory (ENGR 4126). In addition, the lab is used for chemical engineering electives Unit Operation (ENGR 4366) and Chemical Reaction Engineering (ENGR 4357). This lab contains ten computer stations for students to reduce their experimental data and analyze the results. The north facing wall, coined by an EYP architect as “the wall of opportunity,” has chilled water lines, air lines, unistruct supports, and more than enough 120V/220V electrical outlets for a variety of experiments to be performed. A significant amount of new equipment was purchased for the fluids and heat transfer labs through the CSI Equipment Budget (viscometer, fluid friction measurements unit with hydraulic bench, multi-pump test rig, subsonic wind tunnel, linear/radial conduction unit, external forced convection unit, computer controlled heat exchanger service module, and radiation exchange unit).

Chemical Engineering Laboratory

The back of the lab is designed for chemical engineering experiments, which contains a fume hood and benchtops. The chemical engineering section also has a gas absorption module (ENGR 4366), continuous distillation module (ENGR 4366), and a tubular flow reactor (ENGR 4357).