Hands-on design and manufacturing in an undergraduate fluid mechanics course

Joseph J. Orlins, Eric Constans

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This paper presents an effort to combine design and direct application of fundamental principles in a basic fluid mechanics course. Civil Engineering students designed and manufactured pumps, then tested them to investigate head-discharge relationships. In this project, students in a junior-level introductory fluid mechanics class worked in teams to design and build simple reciprocating piston pumps. The project was assigned in the middle of a 15-week semester, and spanned a period of about five weeks. Students had to determine pump discharge as a function of piston size, stroke length, and speed of operation. Based upon specific design constraints, students had to select a particular motor to use with their pump. Students then worked in the machine shop, fabricating the pumps from stock materials. Completed pumps were then tested in a competition between teams to determine maximum discharge and pressure head. This project enabled students to apply basic fluid mechanics principles early on in their fluids-related coursework by designing and building working pumps. The early exposure to all elements of design, testing, and evaluation aided student understanding of the basic concepts of fluid mechanics, and familiarized students with design and fabrication techniques.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5329-5334
Number of pages6
JournalASEE Annual Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Dec 1 2001
Event2001 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: Peppers, Papers, Pueblos and Professors - Albuquerque, NM, United States
Duration: Jun 24 2001Jun 27 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Engineering(all)


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