ME 411 - Instrumentation and Measurement


Lecture:                      Tuesday & Thursday 10:00-11:50 am

Lab Sections:                        Wed    10-11:50am                 Fri       2-3:50pm;

Mon    2-3:50pm                     Wed 2-3:350 pm                    

Wed    12-1:50pm      

                                    Attendance in lectures and your lab section is required.

Location:                   Lectures: CH 171                    Labs: EB 360

Textbook:                  Theory and Design of Mechanical Measurements, 5th edition, by Figliola and Beasley, Wiley, 2006. (The 4th edition can be used as an alternative) 

Instructors:                This course will be team-taught by:

Evan Thomas, EB 301k                               Derek Tretheway, EB 402H

                                    email:                               email:

Office Hours:             By appointment                                               Mondays 2-3pm & by



When contacting instructors or the TAs via email please include “ME411” at the start of the subject line.

Prerequisites:                        Circuits–ECE 221 or 241 or equiv. and senior standing.

Description:              Principles and applications of measurement methods and instrumentation techniques, as used in various engineering disciplines, are studied. Examination of general measurement concepts and instrumentation characteristics. Specific devices for measuring such parameters as displacement, force, strain, pressure, flow, temperature, motion, time, and frequency are discussed. Testing and verification of theory, design, and laboratory evaluation of mechanical components and systems are also made. Lecture and laboratory. 

Course Objectives:   Students who successfully complete this course will:

1.     gain an understanding and familiarity with modern methods and instrumentation for making engineering measurements,

2.     learn to analyze and communicate results of experiments,

3.     be able to design and implement experimental solutions to engineering problems, including static and dynamic mechanical, electrical, flow and thermal measurement 

4.     understand the roles that cost, performance and system complexity play in the design of an instrumentation system 

5.     be able to identify sources and types of uncertainty, combination and propagation of uncertainties, and application of appropriate statistical models for uncertainty analysis.  

Late Policy:               As a general rule, late assignments will not be accepted.


Labs:                          Students will work in groups (of their choosing) of 2 or 3 on laboratory assignments. 



HW:                            HomeWork assignments (denoted HW1, HW2, etc) are to be completed individually by every student must be your own work and are due at the beginning of the class period. Homework should be completed neatly on lined, graph, or engineering paper. All answers should be circled/labeled.

LA:                             Lab Assignments (denoted LA1, LA2, etc) are to be completed by each lab group and are due at the end of the lab in which they are assigned. These typically involve a check-off sheet that the TA or lab instructor will complete for each group. Specifically, if the assignment is to create a Labview “virtual instrument” with certain features the group will need to demonstrate these features for the instructor.

REPORTS:                Lab #3 and Lab #6 will require group reports, generally due the week after the experiment. These reports are to be stapled NOT bound. Each report must contain a title page that indicates, title, date, group member names, a description of the workload division, and the name of the class. Reports (not including the title page, and any appendices) must be no longer than 7 pages (11pt or larger font, line spacing of 2.0). Figures/Tables are included in this limit. Every report should contain Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion sections (actual names of sections can vary). A sample (no more than 2 pages) of carefully documented raw data should be included (if appropriate) as an appendix. All pages must be numbered. All figures/tables must be numbered, referred to in the text, and have complete captions. See the link to the course website at for further guidelines and a grading template. 


Groups will design and conduct final experiments as a team, and continue to work as a team on data analysis and report writing. These teams MAY be different than the teams constituted for the other laboratory assignments and do not need to be limited to a single lab section (as long as team members can find suitable time slots to work together on the final project).  Each ME411 team will turn in a single group final report for this project. 

The report format should conform to that described above under REPORTS, but can be up to 12 pages in length (including figures/table, but excluding the title page and raw data appendices). Again, please DO NOT BIND your reports.

EXAM:                      An exam will be given near the end of the term in the regular class meeting. This exam will be comprehensive covering topics discussed in lecture, homework assignments, and principles learned in the lab.  It will be a closed book exam, but students can bring 1 one-sided 8 ½ by 11 inch sheet of notes. There will be NO final exam during the university-scheduled exam period.



                                    Category                                              Type of Effort                         Value


Homework (HW)                                individual                                 15%    

                                    Lab assignments (LA)                         group                                       15%

                                    REPORTS                                          group                                       25%

                                    FINAL REPORT                                group                                       25%

                                    EXAM                                                 individual                                 20%


ME 411: Course Schedule



Tuesday Lecture (Instructor)

Thursday Lecture (Instructor)

Lab Meetings  (Instructor)


Jan 5

Course overview and basic concepts. Read Ch 1.1-1.4. (Tretheway, Thomas)

Labview; HW #1 assigned (Tretheway)


No lab (TA Meetings)



Signal manipulation, bridge circuits, filters. Read Ch 6.3-6.4, 6.8. (Tretheway)

Signal Analysis and data acquisition.  Read Ch 2.1-2.4; Ch7.1-7.2 and 7.5-7.8; HW #2 assigned. Intro to LAB2; (Thomas)

Form lab groups, discuss safety.

LAB1 – Intro to Labview (Tretheway)

HW 1 – due Thurs. Jan 15 (at start of lecture); LA1 – lab assignment due at end of lab

Jan 19

Measurement System Behavior and Infinite Statistics. Read Ch 3.1-3.3 and Ch 4.1-4.3 (Tretheway)


Strain Measurement. Read Ch11.1-11.6.


Pressure measurements. Read Ch9.1-9.6; 9.8-9.9. (Tretheway).


HW #3 assigned.

LAB2 – Labview expt. –acquiring, manipulating & saving data (Tretheway)

HW 2 – due Thurs. Jan 22 (at start of  lecture); LA2 – lab assignment due at end of lab

Jan 26

Uncertainty Analysis and Propagation of errors. Read Ch5.1-5.6.


Discussion of lab report format/requirements and grading. Technical Writing Rd 1 (Tretheway)

Introduction to satellite data acquisition and remote sensing (Thomas) HW #5 assigned.


HW #4 assigned.

LAB3 – Mounting strain gages, static and vibration testing of a cantilever beam. (Tretheway)


HW3 – due Thursday Jan. 29 (at start of lecture)

Feb 2

Temperature measurements. Read Ch8.1-8.8) (Thomas).



Flow Measurements (10.1-10.6) (Tretheway)


LAB4 - Land Surface Temperature deduction with LandSat 8 Imagery. (Thomas


HW 4- due Thursday Feb. 5 (at start of lecture)


REPORT1 – based on LAB3 due week of Feb 2 (in lab mtg.)

Feb 9

Data acquisition, MySQL data storage, Calibration with R Script (Thomas).

Finite Statistics, Regression, and Outlier analysis. Read Ch 4.4-4.7 (Thomas)


LAB5 – Transient measurements with thermocouples, data acquisition, MySQL data storage, Calibration with R Script (Thomas)

HW 5 - Land surface temperature derivation due Tuesday (Due Feb. 10 at start of lecture.)

Feb 16

Data aggregation and correlation between data sets (Thomas).

Technical Writing Rd 2; Final Project Discussion (Tretheway and Thomas). HW#7 assigned.

LAB6 – Collection of field data, correlation of field data to remote sensing data (Thomas).

HW 6 – Temperature measurements (Due Tuesday Feb. 17 at start of lecture.) 


Feb 23

Open time for final project team meetings (no lecture)

Technical Writing Rd 3: Discussion of Report 2. (Tretheway)

Lab open for final projects

HW 7 - Field Data collection with geo-tagged thermocouple data acquisition systems – due Tuesday  Feb. 24 (at start of lecture) 



REPORT2 – based on LAB6 due Tuesday Feb 24 (at start of lecture).

Mar  2

Exam – in class period. Closed book, 1 one-sided sheet of notes (Thomas)

Open time for final project team meetings (no lecture)

Lab open for final projects

HW 8 (final project overview) – due Tuesday March 3 (in lecture) --- one per group only

Mar 9

Open time for final project team meetings (no lecture) 

Open time for final project team meetings (no lecture)

Lab open for final projects

FINAL REPORTS due Monday March 16 by noon (turn in to Tretheway)