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Theory, Simulation, and Hardware: Lab Design for an Integrated System Dynamics Education

[+] Author Affiliations
Jonathan E. Clark

University of Pennsylvania

William R. Provancher

University of Utah

Paul Mitiguy

Stanford University

Paper No. IMECE2005-80879, pp. 147-153; 7 pages
  • ASME 2005 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Innovations in Engineering Education: Mechanical Engineering Education, Mechanical Engineering/Mechanical Engineering Technology Department Heads
  • Orlando, Florida, USA, November 5 – 11, 2005
  • Conference Sponsors: Mechanical Engineering Education
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4232-0 | eISBN: 0-7918-3769-6
  • Copyright © 2005 by ASME


This article describes a series of experimental and simulation laboratory sessions that are designed to support a system dynamics course. A novel hardware setup is used in different configurations throughout the eight-lab sequence. The labs incrementally build upon themselves and culminate in the final lab with the stabilization of a coupled dynamic system. The labs augment the fundamental theory taught in class with hands-on experience using hardware and software simulations. We find that the labs that most effectively create and resolve tension between the results of physical experiments, simulation, and theory yield the most satisfying and effective lab sessions. The absence of any one of these three elements diminishes the educational value of the course. End-of-quarter lab surveys are used to quantify our findings.

Copyright © 2005 by ASME



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