Syllabus for ME 315

Fall 2017

Course description

Introduces students to the subject of engineering measurements, placing special emphasis on the fundamental aspects of engineering measurements, experimental techniques, sensors and measurement systems, computer-aided measurement systems, research methods and design of experiments and measurement systems. Course includes open-ended design project of mechanical parameter measurement systems, experimental testing, data analysis, uncertainty analysis and error propagation, and report-writing. Prerequisite: PHY 172. (Adapted from the course catalog.)

General information

Office Hours
MWF 10–11, 2:20-3 CH 103C

Cebula 105
MWF 3:00–3:50 am
ME 315 Website
ME 315 Moodle



Figliola, R. S., & Beasley, D. E. (2014). Theory and design for mechanical measurements. Sixth edition. ISBN 978-1118881279.


Partial notes will be posted on the Measurement: an introduction page. They are being constantly updated, but I will let everyone know via Slack when each lecture is ready to be printed. Please print each lecture before class and bring it. There are fill-ins and such.


The following schedule is tentative.

week topics introduced reading assignment due
introduction to measurement FB Ch 1
signals FB Ch 2 homework
signals FB Ch 2 homework
measurement systems as dynamic systems FB Ch 3 homework
measurement systems as dynamic systems FB Ch 3 homework
probability and statistics FB Ch 4 homework
probability and statistics FB Ch 4 homework
uncertainty analysis FB Ch 5 homework
analog electronic measurement FB Ch 6 homework
Midterm Exam
digital electronic measurement FB Ch 7 homework
temperature measurement FB Ch 8 homework
pressure and velocity measurement FB Ch 9 homework
flow measurement FB Ch 10 homework
strain measurement FB Ch 11 homework
sensors, actuators, and control FB Ch 12 project focus
finals week Final Exam


Assignment #1

  1. Do the assigned reading.
  2. FB Problems 1.2, 1.5, 1.10, 1.21, 1.46.
  3. Take the weekly homework quiz.

Assignment #2

  1. Do the assigned reading.
  2. FB Problems 2.5, 2.7, 2.11, 2.17, 2.18, 2.20, 2.28.
  3. Take the weekly homework quiz.

Assignment #3

  1. Do the assigned reading.
  2. Do the exercise of Lecture 02.07 (encoding and decoding with DFTs) from the Measurement notes. Here are two hints. (1) using a window function makes things better … but you’ll need to scale by a factor (e.g. hanning must be rescaled by 2 because its “gain” is 1/2) and (2) we only want a one-sided spectrum (positive frequencies), so multiplying by another factor of 2 and selecting the first “half” of the fft output is necessary.
  3. Take the weekly homework quiz.

Assignment #4

  1. Do the assigned reading.
  2. FB Problems 3.4, 3.7, 3.10, 3.16, 3.24, 3.29, 3.45.
  3. Take the weekly homework quiz.

Assignment #5

  1. Do the assigned reading.
  2. FB Problems 3.26, 3.31, 3.33, 3.47, 3.48.
  3. Take the weekly homework quiz.

Assignment #6

  1. Do the assigned reading.
  2. Write a MATLAB, Python, or Mathematica program that finds and plots (via a partial sum) the steady-state solution for a second-order measurement system characterized by damping ratio $\zeta = 0.707$ natural frequencies $f_n \in \{50,150,450\}$ Hz subjected to an input triangle wave of amplitude $3$ and period $0.05$ s. Why are these results so different?
  3. Take the weekly homework quiz.

Assignment #7

  1. Do the assigned reading.
  2. FB Problems 4.19, 4.22, 4.30, 4.37, 4.58.
  3. Take the weekly homework quiz.

Assignment #8

  1. Do the assigned reading.
  2. FB Problems 5.9, 5.14, 5.21, 5.31, 5.42, 5.51, 5.61.
  3. Take the weekly homework quiz.


Class resources will be posted here throughout the semester.

Video lectures

Most lectures will be available online on my YouTube channel. I recommend subscribing and familiarizing yourself with the playlist for this course.


Everyone is required to join the messaging service called “Slack.” We’ll use it to communicate with each other during the semester. The Slack team you need to join is called me315-2017F. That was a signup link, right there.

Homework, quiz, & exam policies

Homework & homework quiz policies

Weekly homework will be “due” on Wednesdays, but it will not be turned in for credit. However — and this is very important — each week a quiz will be given that will cover that week’s homework.

Quizzes will be available on moodle each week (as early as I can get them up), and must be completed by Sunday (before midnight). Late quizzes will receive no credit. Multiple attempts may be made on the quizzes (you will receive your mean grade).

Working in groups on homework is strongly encouraged, but quizzes must be completed individually.

Exam policies

The midterm and final exams will be in-class. If you require any specific accommodations, please contact me.

Calculators will be allowed. Only ones own notes and the notes provided by the instructor will be allowed. No communication-devices will be allowed.

No exam may be taken early. Makeup exams require a doctor’s note excusing the absence during the exam.

The final exam will be cumulative.

Grading policies

Total grades in the course may be curved, but individual homework quizzes and exams will not be. They will be available on moodle throughout the semester.

Homework quizzes
Midterm Exam
Final Exam


Academic integrity policy

Cheating or plagiarism of any kind is not tolerated and will result in a failing grade (“F”) in the course. I take this very seriously. Engineering is an academic and professional discipline that requires integrity. I expect students to consider their integrity of conduct to be their highest consideration with regard to the course material.

Correlation of course & program outcomes

In keeping with the standards of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, each course is evaluated in terms of its desired outcomes and how these support the desired program outcomes. The following sections document the evaluation of this course.

Desired course outcomes

Upon completion of the course, the following course outcomes are desired:

  1. students will have a clear and thorough understanding of concepts, principles, and methods of measurement, instrumentation, and experimental design;
  2. students will be familiar with the operation and uses of a number of measurement systems, including the following:
    • electrical (e.g. thermistor, strain gage, transducer, displacement indicator, tachometer),
    • fluid mechanic (e.g. pitot tube, flowmeter),
    • optic (e.g. anemometer, velocimeter, IR detectors), and
    • thermoelectric (e.g. thermocouple);
  3. students will understand basic signal conditioning, processing, and recording;
  4. students will understand instrumentation calibration and response;
  5. students will be able to analyze design-stage uncertainty;
  6. students will understand signal characteristics, the Fourier transform, and digital signal analysis;
  7. students will understand the basics of probability, statistics, uncertainty analysis, regression, and correlation;
  8. students will be able to write a technical report; and
  9. students will understand and be able to communicate the broader context of the course material.

Desired program outcomes

The desired program outcomes are that mechanical engineering graduates have:

  1. an ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering;
  2. an ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data;
  3. an ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs;
  4. an ability to function on multi-disciplinary teams;
  5. an ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems;
  6. an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility;
  7. an ability to communicate effectively;
  8. the broad education necessary to understanding the impact of engineering solutions in a global and social context;
  9. a recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning;
  10. a knowledge of contemporary issues; and
  11. an ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice

Correlation of outcomes

The following table correlates the desired course outcomes with the desired program outcomes they support.

desired program outcomes
desired course outcomes 1