Labs

The success of the experimental program at MAE relies heavily on the quality of the laboratories available to do research. This area outlines the main capacities of our laboratories. These laboratories are operated by Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) and are concentrated on the Evansdale Campus of the University.

Most undergraduate facilities are in the Engineering Sciences Building (ESB), where most engineering classrooms, faculty offices, and other student facilities are found.

Aerodynamics Laboratory

Aircraft Simulation Laboratories

Our aerospace program has a strong emphasis on simulation. Our students are trained throughout the entire curriculum to use simulation tools. Most simulation software can be used in our dedicated computer classroom (953) and on college-wide computer classrooms.

Some simulation tools require special hardware and they are used intensively for specific courses. Such is the case of D-Six. For this, we have dedicated teaching classroom 953. It is used primarily for teaching Aircraft Simulation. It includes 12 aircraft simulations workstations with D-Six software, etc.

Furthermore, we use a 6 degree of freedom full-motion simulator located in the AERO Lab, next to the low speed wind tunnel. This unique facility is described in the next section.

WVU 6 DOF Flight Simulator

The Motus 600 Flight Simulator manufactured by Fidelity Flight Simulation, Inc., Pittsburgh, PA offers a very realistic flight environment with extremely low operational and maintenance costs.

The system includes the following components:

The motion platform provides adequate six-degrees-of-freedom translational and rotational motion cues. Motion drive algorithms convert the motion of the aircraft as resulting from the dynamic model into motion of the platform such that the perception of the pilot is optimized within the physical limitations of the ground based simulator. For example, constant linear accelerations that can only be sustained as such for a very limited time, are simulated by tilting the cockpit at an angular rate below the pilot's perception threshold. Gravity is thus used to simulate the inertial force associated with constant linear acceleration.

Automotive and Engine Test Laboratory

MAE has a major research effort in engines and emissions testing. The primary laboratories at WVU for testing engines and emissions are the Engine Research Center, and the Mobile Emissions Laboratory.

Automotive Engineering: All terrain vehicles/Baja Shop

Baja is a senior design project car competition sponsored by SAE. Each vehicle is judged on acceleration, top speed, braking, land maneuverability, deep water maneuverability, tractor pull, suspension, traction, and endurance. Students have a dedicated Automotive Shop with the following major equipment:

Automotive Engineering: Hybrid Vehicles/EcoCAR

The EcoCAR Challenge is a three-year competition that builds on the 19-year history of Department Of Energy (DOE) advanced vehicle technology competitions by giving engineering students the chance to design and build advanced vehicles that demonstrate leading-edge automotive technologies, with the goal of minimizing the environmental impact of personal transportation and illustrating pathways to a sustainable transportation future. Students have a dedicated automotive shop located in G15-ESB. Major equipment includes:

Computational Fluid Dynamics Laboratory

The MAE Department has a Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) Laboratory which is used to promote research at West Virginia University in the field of fluid mechanics with emphasis on turbulent flows with combustion and multiphase turbulent flows, through the use of high performance computers.

Computer Aided Design Laboratory

The MAE Computer Design Laboratory applies computer simulation tools and techniques to the design of modern aerospace and mechanical systems. The laboratory has 24 PC's and a server on a Linux platform. Software available includes:

Dynamics and Strength Laboratory

The Dynamic and Strength Laboratory is located in B42. It is used primarily for teaching MAE 244. Here is a list of available experiments:

Engine and Emissions Research Laboratory

The Engine and Emissions Research Laboratory is equipped to perform engine tests according to Federal test procedures. The goals of the laboratory include increasing the utilization of alternative fuels, reducing polluting exhaust emissions, improving engine testing procedures and increasing the efficiency of engines.

The Engine and Emissions Research Laboratory (EERL) has a state-of-the-art engine test equipment for operating light and heavy duty engines over both transient and steady state test cycles. The EERL has a 550 hp and 400 hp engine dynamometers for performing the U.S. EPA heavy-duty engine emissions certification tests and numerous water brake and eddy current dynamometers for the broad range of engine sizes and types. Emissions are measured in accordance with the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR 40) requirements for engine certification.

EERC related projects are listed under Alternative Fuels, Engines, and Emissions.

Materials and Structures Laboratories

Materials and Structures Laboratories are located in G86-ESB and G07/G07B/123-ERB.

G86 TEST WALL AND FLOOR
The specially designed test wall and slotted floor essentially make the laboratory a large testing area. The 40 x 40 foot concrete floor slab is built to transmit the load through concrete pilings to the rock sub strata. This enables the floor to withstand 75,000 pounds of force normal to any 4 x 10 foot section and a shear force parallel to the surface of 20,000 pounds on a 2 foot high test wall is embedded in concrete and to these same pilings. It is made of seven wide flange steel columns spaced 2 feet apart, capable of carrying 150,000 pounds axial load and 75,000 transverse load. This facility provides for static and dynamic testing of a wide variety of structural configurations with span lengths of 40 feet.

Mechanical Electronics Shop

The department counts with an electronics shop and a mechanical shop equipped with state of the art tools. Full time technicians are in charge of these shops. Also, shop technicians train selected students before granting them access to equipment.

Major Equipment

Major Equipment for the Machine Shop

Safety training is mandatory for all students participating on student design projects and all graduate students with access to research laboratories. Safety training is coordinated by the shop supervisor, a full time position. Training is delivered by WVU Environmental Health and Safety on a periodic basis. All labs are audited by EVHS periodically.

Mechatronics

Located in 903, this lab is used primarily for teaching MAE 211. This is a hands-on laboratory where students design experiments with components and measurement equipment used in the design of mechatronics products. Students select mechanical and electronic components and integrate them into complex systems.

Advanced Mechatronics

Located in 953, this lab is used primarily for teaching MAE 411. The Advanced Mechatronics component includes instrumentation and measurements emphasizing systems that combine electronic and mechanical components with modern controls and microprocessors, first and second order behavior, transducers and intermediate devices, measurement of rapidly changing engineering parameters, microcontrollers, and actuators.

Microscopy Laboratories

Microscopy and Spectroscopy Laboratory

The microscopy and spectroscopy facilities include various optical microscopes, electron microscopes, scanning probe microscopes and Energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). These facilities extensively serve for education and research in materials science, biomedical engineering and nanotechnology.

Multifunctional scanning probe microscope (SPM)

This instrument is located in Nanoscale Imaging & Characterization Laboratory under the direction of Nick Wu in the College of Engineering The multifunctional scanning probe microscope (Molecular imaging, PicoSPM ® II) possesses the following capabilities: contact and non-contact mode AFM, force measurement and force array imaging, Acoustic AC mode AFM (tapping mode AFM), Electrostatic force microscopy (EFM), Scanning Kelvin Probe microscopy, Magnetic force microscopy (MFM), Scanning tunneling microscopy (STM), current sensing AFM (Conductive AFM), Electrochemical AFM (EC-AFM), AFM-based nanolithography. The universal microscope base permits easy integration with an environmental chamber or an inverted optical microscope. This SPM can be extensively applied to measurement of materials, devices and biological molecules.

Leitz Optical Microscope

The Leitz optical microscope used here is coupled with a CCD camera and an image grabber run from a PC. These micrographs are then viewed and evaluated using various image analysis software. Such data as grain size, precipitate volume fraction, and precipitate morphology are obtained from the pictures taken.

3-D Hi-Scope Microscope

The 3-D Hi-scope enables 360 degree dynamic rotation with oblique viewing. Tilted lightening and zoom lens make it versatile for both macro and micro examination. All digital imaging system is easy for operation and image processing. Software is equipped for dimension measurement.

Accu-scope Phase contrast optical microscope

The Accu-scope 3016 microscope, which is equipped with a CCD camera and the imaging analysis software, offers exceptional value, versatility and performance to meet the requirements of materials science and biology. It is capable of imaging under multiple modes such as phase contrast, polarization, bright field and dark field.

Hitachi S-4000 scanning electron microscope (SEM)

HITACHI S-4000 SEM is conventional electron microscope, which is used for daily sample examination and periodic class. Its features include 20x - 300kx magnification, 0.5 to 30kV Accelerating voltage, 4 position click stop heated aperture, 25mm x 25mm stage with -5 to 45 degree tilt, 12" built in TV monitor x 2, Digital frame store, Polaroid Camera and 4x5 film back.

Hitachi S-4700 field emission scanning electron microscope (FE-SEM)

The S-4700 FE-SEM is a shared facility located in Chemical Engineering Department. It combines the versatility of PC control with a novel electron optical column to give exceptional performance on large and small specimens. High resolution at 15kV is guaranteed at the EDX and specimen exchange position of 12mm working distance.

JOEL-100CX transmission electron microscopy (TEM)

JOEL-100CX is a shared facility located in Chemical Engineering Department. It is capable of accelerating voltages from 20-100kv. It can provide magnification from 100x to 600000x and a resolution of 0.2nm. It is primarily used in analysis of solid materials.

X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS)

The new XPS instrument is a WV Nano shared facility, which serves the users cross the campus and outside campus. It has the following capabilities:

  1. Identification of the elements and the chemical status of elements
  2. Quantification of chemical composition
  3. Destructive depth profiling using an ion gun (with Zalar rotation)
  4. Non-destructive depth profiling by the angle-resolved analysis
  5. Neutralization of surface charging with the flood guns
  6. Capable of performing ultraviolet photoelectron spectroscopy (UPS)
  7. XPS imaging
  8. Automated acquisition of XPS spectra
  9. Automated depth profiling
  10. Automatic peak fitting, elemental identification, depth profile calculation, as well as curve smoothing, and background removal with the loaded software

Mobile Emissions Measurement System

WVU developed the Mobile Emissions Measurement System (MEMS) capable of measuring the emissions of a heavy-duty vehicle's emissions operating on a highway. It is the only system capable of conducting in-use brake-specific mass emissions of gaseous pollutants from heavy-duty diesel powered vehicles. The system is designed to provide real-world emissions data to engine and vehicle manufacturers and the US EPA.

Thermo-Fluids Laboratory

Located in B05, this lab is used primarily for teaching MAE 322. Here is a list of available experiments:

Transportable Emissions Laboratory

Emissions measurement is a complicated affair and to ensure repeatability and consistency across the nation, mobile emissions testing laboratories were developed at WVU. These laboratories travel around the country and measure the emissions from heavy duty buses and trucks.

West Virginia University's two Transportable Heavy Duty Emissions Testing Laboratories gather emissions data from vehicle fleets operating on conventional and alternative fuels throughout North America. The Laboratories are fully self contained units that can be transported to and set up at or near the home base of the vehicles to be tested. Emissions tests are performed on site and the vehicle tested is returned to the fleet, usually within one day. The emissions data collected are stored in a data base maintained by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The data are also analyzed and published in technical papers and presented at professional society conferences.

Research projects related to the Mobile Lab are listed under Alternative Fuels, Engines, and Emissions

Ultrasonics Laboratory

The Ultrasonics Lab is focused on developing non-invasive quantitative ultrasonic characterization and in vivo imaging of tissues and cardiovascular system. Research activities combines theoretical modeling, experimental measurements, and system design for in vivo clinical diagnosis.

The Ultrasonics Laboratory has a well established research collaboration with the WVU Health Sciences Departments and Research Centers. The collaborators are The Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Cardiovascular Sciences, Department of Orthopedics, and The School of Dentistry. These collaborations aim to strengthen and unite basic engineering and translational research in Biomedical Engineering research and teaching activities at West Virginia University.

The ultrasonics lab has state of the art equipment which includes:

Underground Mining Engine Emissions Field Laboratory

The National Center for Mining Engines and Safety (NACMES) at West Virginia University exists to improve the working conditions in West Virginia mines through the development of safe, efficient, and economically-viable technologies that reduce engine emissions, while enhancing productivity and operating efficiency.

The Center was founded to continually develop and carry out need-based R&D programs in consultation with the WV Diesel Commission, mining industry, and UMWA. Through its efforts, the Center strives to assist in providing enhanced economic security for West Virginia through development of viable technologies for clean and efficient engines' usage in the mineral industry.

Since its founding in 1998 by Dr. Mridul Gautam, NACMES has been supported continuously by the State of West Virginia, through the West Virginia Diesel Commission. This university-based research center is uniquely qualified to conduct technology evaluations and certification tests on engines in adherence to the latest federal regulations, as well as cutting-edge research concerning engines and related safety issues.

NACMES performs research on engines, including the development of emissions control technologies and measurement systems for exhaust streams and mine atmospheres, and provides evaluations of alternative fuels (liquid and gaseous fuels) as potential candidates for mine usage. The Center also conducts program focused on improving the health and safety of mine workers who are exposed to exhaust from mine equipment, including characterization of mine atmospheres to determine specific pollutant control needs.

NACMES employs West Virginia University's extensive engine testing and research facilities, operated by the Center for Alternative Fuels, Engines, and Emissions (CAFEE).

The Center provides technical assistance and reliable quantitative information to the WV Diesel Commission, the stakeholders and policy makers regarding emissions control and performance of engines in mines.

NACMES assists the State of West Virginia, the mining industry, and equipment and engine manufacturers by serving as an engine testing/certification center for emissions from engines earmarked for mine usage.

In addition, it provides technical assistance and training to personnel involved in the operation, testing and maintenance of engines in West Virginia mines. Future endeavors include creation of a pool of trained personnel in West Virginia for employment in the mineral and off-road engine industry for engine research and development and emissions control.