Development of a Methodology to Visualize and Conduct a Physical Experiment as a Web-based Virtual Experiment

S.K. Chaturvedi, S. Bawab, H. Khan, and T. Abdel-Salam (USA)


Virtual Experiment, Visualization, Web based Engineering Education


A methodology is developed and described to convert a physical experiment from the undergraduate thermo fluids engineering laboratory into a web-based virtual experiment. Several important characteristics of the physical experiment are identified so that they can be preserved in a physical to virtual domain mapping of the experiment. Six unique aspects that will eventually be included in web-based virtual experiments are: the use of computer generated (virtual) data for recreating physical phenomenon; virtual measurement on a computer screen; virtual assembly for positioning virtual probes prior to commencement of the experiment; coupling of the virtual experiment with data acquisition software; real time collaboration in the virtual domain and virtual reality laboratory environment. The present work combines three of these aspects simultaneously: use of simulated data for recreation of physical phenomenon, virtual measurement, and data acquisition and analysis. A modular structure with three district sub-modules is proposed for the web-based virtual experiment currently being developed. The web-based module is currently intended for use by students as a practice tool before they conduct the physical experiment is the thermo-fluids laboratory course. It is also expected to impact the development of virtual engineering laboratories for web based distance learning undergraduate programs.

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