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The success of the experimental program at MAE relies heavily on the quality of the laboratories available to do research. These laboratories are operated by the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and are concentrated on the Evansdale Campus of the University.

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

Aerodynamics Laboratory

  • Subsonic Wind Tunnel (32 x 45 inch test section)

    32 x 45 inch test section single return type, low turbulence, speed variable from 0 to 250 ft/sec. Instrumentation- six component strain-gauge balance and recorders, model pitch and yaw control, smoke injector and generator, manometers, hot-wire anemometer. Data acquisition with PC-based systems and laser velocity meters.

  • Subsonic Wind Tunnel (6 x 6 inch test section)

    6 x 6 inch test section, single pass type, low turbulence, speed variable from 0 to 80 ft/sec. Instrumentation- three component strain-gauge balance and recorders, smoke injector and generator, manometers, hot wire anemometers. Single channel LDA.

  • Supersonic Wind Tunnel (4 x 5 inch test section)

    4 x 5 inch test section, continuous indraft type, fixed Mach number of 1.55. Instrumentation - three component strain-gauge balance and recorders, optical windows at throat and test section, black-and-white and color Schlieren system (continuous and pulse), angle of attack quadrant, manometers, special probes.

  • Supersonic Wind Tunnel (4 x 4 inch test section)

    4 x 4 inch test section, 30 second run blow down type, continuously variable Mach number from 1.8 to 3.8. Instrumentation - three component strain-gauge balance and recorders, Schlieren system, angle of attack quadrant, pressure transducers, 200 psi dry air pressure supply.

  • Shock Tube

    2-1/2 inch inside diameter, 35 ft. length in five interchangeable sections, plunger or pressure initiated diaphragm bursts in variable length driver, 2000 psi working pressure, shockwave Mach numbers from 1 to 10. Instrumentation - interval counters, oscilloscopes and cameras, amplifiers, time and voltage calibration equipment, filters, time delays, pressure and acceleration transducer systems, heat transfer, photomultiplier, and ionization gauges. Dump tank with windows and 1/2 microsecond pulse Schlieren system. 3500 psi air supply and 10 micron vacuum facility.

  • Shock Tunnel

    4 inch free jet nozzle attached to shock tube described above (item 5), flow Mach number of 7, test time of a few milliseconds.

  • Arc Tunnel

    A 78 kW, electric arc heated, hyper velocity continuous-running tunnel has been constructed for research in plasma diagnostic techniques and experimental research in low Reynolds number hypersonic drag, base pressure, wake and boundary layer studies. Capable of producing a simulated air plasma with up to 16,000 BTU/LB and 13,000 ft/sec.

  • Vistol Propeller Facility

    14 or 15 inch diameter, 11,200 rpm, three or four blade fiberglass propeller with 1.5 or 5 HP motor and variable frequency drive control. Four component strain-gauge nacelle balance and recorders, flow measurement probe.

  • Vistol Subsonic Static Thrust Stand

    Primary application is for determining exhaust system performance. Available test sections are 3" x 8-1/4" (rectangular) and 6" diameter (circular). System measures thrust and flow rate, both of which are adjustable. Air supply is from a radial blade blower rated at 5,800 CFM and 34.5" H20. Instrumentation includes traversing probe which measures exit flow pitch and yaw angles, and total and static pressures.

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., offers a very realistic flight environment with extremely low operational and maintenance costs.

    The system includes the following components: 6 DOF motion platform driven by electrical induction motors,  Laminar Research X-Plane flight simulation software, LCD Mosaic Wall four-monitor external visual display, Instructors operating station and computer and control cabinet.

    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.

    X-Plane is a commercial comprehensive aircraft simulation package featuring high capabilities and flexibility in selecting the simulation scenario. It includes a huge database of aircraft, airports, and scenery around the world. Weather conditions can be selected prior and during the simulation to include cloud layers, wind and turbulence, temperature, runway condition, and a wide variety of visibility, precipitation, and other weather parameters. Malfunctions of the aircraft systems can be simulated in the following categories: overall, instruments, equipment, engine, engine systems and flying surfaces. New aircraft models can be introduced into the database using the aerodynamic capabilities of X-Plane.

    The two-seat cockpit accommodates dual controls and instrument clusters. Visual information in the cockpit is provided by a total of six LCD visual displays. Two visual displays host the instruments clusters and four others provide the external visual cues.

    The instructors operating station is located on a platform next to the cabin. The instructor has two visual displays for monitoring the simulation and perform simulation scenario set-ups/changes. All five computers can be controlled using the keyboard on the instructor's desk. All functions of the motion base can be controlled through a separate motion control box.

    The large black aluminum cabinet next to the cabin houses all electrical and computing hardware. Five computers are used to operate the WVU Flight Simulator. Computer no. 1 drives the left 45 visual display. Computer no. 2 drives the left and right forward visual displays. Computer no. 3 drives the right 45 visual display. Computer no. 4 is the server computer and runs the core flight simulation software and the pilots' instruments. All simulation data to be used for analysis is stored on this computer. Computer no. 5 is the instructor's operating station.

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.

  • GE Direct Current Motor Generator dynamometer

    Used at the Engine Research Center to perform EPA certified tests on heavy duty engines. Completely instrumented.

  • Superflo Dynamometer

    500 HP high-speed water brake dynamometer complete with engine test stand and cooling provisions.

  • Motor-Generator Dynamometer (60 HP)

    60 HP DC motor-generator dynamometer. Used for testing the SAE Formula car engines.

  • Motor-Generator Dynamometer (15 HP)

    15 HP motor-generator dynamometer. Used for testing the student Baja vehicle.

  • Octane Research Test Engine

    Standard style for spark ignition knock testing. Currently heavily instrumented for fundamental research.

  • Mobile Emissions Laboratory

    Heavy-duty portable chassis dynamometer. A unique system incorporating eddy current absorbers and adjustable flywheels. Capable of testing heavy trucks and buses up to 600 HP and 70,000 pounds gross weight. This unit is mobile and can be moved to operational sites of the vehicles being tested. The emissions trailer uses a full scale dilution tunnel and full complement of instrumentation.

  • Gas Analysis Tunnel

    A mini-dilution tunnel (Mitsubishi) for vehicle exhaust gas conditioning prior to sampling and gas analysis. A sophisticated system which splits the exhaust flow and dilutes only a partial flow, thereby avoiding the need for a full scale tunnel.

  • Gas Analysis Bench

    An exhaust gas bench including laboratory grade HC(FID), CO, CO 2 and NO x.

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:

  • Two Lathes - Birmingham Model YCL 1340GH
  • Vertical Bridgeport mill
  • Drill press Powermatic Model 1200
  • Queen City Grinding Wheels
  • MIG Welder Lincoln 135
  • TIG Welder Miller Econotig
  • Belt Sander
  • Power Washer
  • Sheet Metal Brake
  • Band Saw
  • Miscellaneous Hand Power Tools

Automotive Engineering: Hybrid Vehicles/EcoCAR

The EcoCAR Challenge is a three-year competition that builds on the 19-year history of Department of Energy 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:

  • Clayton Chassis Dynamometer, 300 hp 8-inch rollers
  • ALM Vehicle Lift, Model# 7002A
  • Two PML Flightlink Motors, Experimental Hybrid electric motors, 20hp each
  • Maximat Standard Lathe/Mill, 8-inch capacity
  • Hobart Handler 175 Mig Welder

Computational Fluid Dynamics Laboratory

The Department has a Computational Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, which is used to promote research at WVU 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:

  • ProE
  • Fluent
  • Gambit
  • Open Office
  • BMI3
  • Other custom software authored by faculty
  • Additional software is being added all the time

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:

  • Instron Materials Testing
    Two 1,000 pound electromechanical testing systems capable of tension, compression, and bending testing are equipped with tensile testing grips, ASTM D790 bending fixture and SACMA94 compression fixture. An environmental chamber capable of 70F to +450F is soon to be installed. Both machines are computer controlled with integral data acquisition system.
  • Hardness Testing Equipment Wilson and Riehle hardness testing machines are available for material qualification tests.
  • Photoelasticity, Photostress and Moire Strain Analysis Equipment
    All the necessary equipment to prepare, calibrate and test specimens using these three visual methods of stress analysis is present in the laboratory. It enables overall analysis of structural members and materials under static loads by observing visually areas of stress concentrations and the complete distribution of stresses or strains over the structure. The stress optics bench has a load frame, photoelastic polariscope, Moire projecting equipment and photographic recording equipment.
  • Brittle Coating Kit
    A Tense-Lac brittle coating kit is available for rough, preliminary analysis of the complete stress field in statically loaded structures.
  • Holographic Laboratory Kit
    A HL-1 holographic kit made by Newport Research Corporation can be used for accurate measurements of elastic deformations in small structural specimens. It is based upon a functional building block design concept that allows a variety of experiments in different set ups, either for education or research.
  • Strain Measuring Systems
    Modular systems consisting of various strain indicators, strain gage signal conditioners, amplifiers and both digital and graphical readout equipment provide broad capabilities in strain measurement techniques. The supply materials and tools for specimen preparation, strain gage bonding and strain gage circuitry are all available in the structures laboratory.
  • Digital Data Acquisition Equipment
    A Keithley Series 500 Data Acquisition and Control System provides integrated hardware and software, which is easily configured, used to acquire, reduce, analyze, store and present large volume test data and control a broad range of laboratory experiments.
  • Dual-Channel Spectrum Analyzer
    A dual channel spectrum analyzer is available for the vibration tests performed in this laboratory. Various vibration actuators and associated control and measurement equipment is also available.

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 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 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 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.

    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 two-foot high test wall is embedded in concrete and to these same pilings. It is made of seven wide flange steel columns spaced two-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.
  • Universal Hydraulic Testing Machines
    Four physical testing machines permit static and dynamic testing of structural elements and materials over a wide continuous load range. They include 120,000 pound Baldwin, 20,000 pound Interlaken Series 3000 machines, and two 20,000 pound MTS 810, one equipped for high temperature fatigue testing. The Interlaken and both MTS are computer-controlled with on-line graphic displays. A number of fixtures are available including ASTM D790, etc. for tension, compression, bending, and shear of sheets, plates and bar specimens of metals, composites and so on.
  • Torsion Testing Machine
    A 10,000 pound-inch Riehle torsional testing machine can be operated either manually or electrically on specimens shorter than 12 inches and having almost any cross-sectional shape.
  • Fatigue Testing Equipment
    Fatigue specimens are tested using the Sonntag inertia type constant force universal fatigue testing machine. This machine can test standard fatigue specimens in tension-compression, flexure and torsion. For fatigue testing of structural models, variable amplitude electromagnetic shakers are available. The programmable hydraulic system mentioned above can be used for large amplitude long duration fatigue experiments.
  • Vibration Testing Equipment
    Dynamic characterization of either structural elements and materials or large scale structures can be performed by using free vibration or harmonic excitation techniques. The vibration facilities include a wide variety of signal generation and excitation devices ranging from 25 pounds to 500 pounds electromagnetic shakers. Acceleration, displacement and strain transducers are available for response pick-up over a broad frequency band. All the equipment necessary for data control, monitoring, acquisition and analysis is also available. This includes signal conditioning devices, frequency analyzers and Tektronix oscilloscopes with storage capability, and chart recorders.
    Our materials characterization labs (G07B&123-ERB) feature a Perking Elmer 7e combined Dynamic Mechanical and Thermo Mechanical Analyzer, Thermo Mechanical Analyzer and a Dynamic Scanning Calorimeter.

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

  • Programmable Power Supply
  • Fluke 45 Dual Display Multimeter
  • HP 500Mhz Oscilloscope
  • Fluke Scope Meter

Major Equipment for the Machine Shop

  • Enco Lathe
  • Bridgeport Mill
  • Alliant CNC Mill
  • Birmingham Lathe
  • Power Matic Drill Press Rockwell Belt Sander
  • Do-All Bandsaw

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.


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. Components include 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 and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. These facilities extensively serve for education and research in materials science, biomedical engineering and nanotechnology.
  • Multifunctional scanning probe microscope
    This instrument is located in Nanoscale Imaging & Characterization Laboratory under the direction of Nick Wu in the Statler College. 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 model electrostatic force microscopy (EFM), scanning Kelvin Probe microscopy, magnetic force microscopy, scanning tunneling microscopy , current sensing AFM (Conductive AFM), Electrochemical AFM and 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
    HITACHI S-4000 SEM is a conventional electron microscope that is used for daily sample examination and periodic class. Its features include 20x-300kx magnification, 0.5 to 30kV accelerating voltage, four position click-stop heated aperture, 25mm x 25mm stage with -5 to 45 degree tilt, 12-inch built in TV monitor x2, digital frame store, Polaroid camera and 4x5 film back.
  • Hitachi S-4700 field emission scanning electron microscope
    The S-4700 FE-SEM is a shared facility located in the Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering. 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
    JOEL-100CX is a shared facility located in Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering. 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
    The new XPS instrument is a shared facility that serves the users cross the campus and outside campus. It has the following capabilities:
    • Identification of the elements and the chemical status of elements
    • Quantification of chemical composition
    • Destructive depth profiling using an ion gun (with Zalar rotation)
    • Non-destructive depth profiling by the angle-resolved analysis
    • Neutralization of surface charging with the flood guns
    • Capable of performing ultraviolet photoelectron spectroscopy
    • XPS imaging
    • Automated acquisition of XPS spectra
    • Automated depth profiling
    • 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, which is 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 EPA.

Thermo-Fluids Laboratory

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

  • Impact of a Jet
    Fluid momentum principles are studied as water jets impart momentum on various shapes of targets as reaction forces are measured.
  • Flow Meter Calibration
    Various types of fluid flow meters including an orifice plate and variable area meters are calibrated against a positive displacement flow meter.
  • Bernoulli Principle
    The flow physics of a pitot-static tube and a venturi meter are examined and compared to standards of flow measurement.
  • Pressure Drop in a Pipe System
    Flow through a pipe network illustrates the principles of friction pressure loss as well as minor pressure loss through fittings such as elbows and valves.
  • Two-Stage Compression
    The thermodynamic principles of polytropic compression processes are examined in a two-stage air compressor with inter-cooling.
  • Heat Exchange Principles
    Convective heat transfer principles are studied as flow temperature and pressure measurements are acquired at the inlet and outlet of a heat exchanger that may is configured in counter flow or parallel flow.
  • Extended Surface Heat Transfer
    Steady state, natural heat convection principles of a heated fin are analyzed and compared to theory as various levels of energy are dissipated.
  • Linear Heat Conduction
    Fourier's steady heat conduction law is demonstrated and studied in various material specimen maintained at various fixed temperatures at each boundary.
  • Enthalpy Measurement
    Temperature and pressure measurements of air or gas flowing through an electrically heated tube permits enthalpy measurements and comparison to standard thermodynamic table data.
  • Feed Water Heater
    An energy balance is performed in an apparatus modeling a feed-water heater of an electric power-plant where steam mixes with a liquid water spray to heat the water.

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. 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, the Department of Orthopaedics 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:

  • Laser Ultrasonics System
  • SONIX RP Digital Ultrasound System
  • High Frequency Ultrasonic Biomicroscopy
  • Guided and Surface Wave System
  • Dental Ultrasound Imaging System