Montana State University

Contact Me

Robb Larson, PE
Mechanical & Industrial Engineering
220 Roberts
Montana State University
P.O. Box 173800
Bozeman, MT 59717-3800

Tel: (406) 994-6304
Fax: (406) 994-6292
Office Address: 306B Roberts, MSU

ETME360 Measurements and Instrumentation Applications

Spring Semester 2014

Instructor:  Robb Larson, Associate Professor, M&IE
Office:  306B Roberts Hall
Phone:  994-6420


Class Meeting Times & Locations:
Section 01 - 1:10 - 2:00 PM, Wednesday and Friday, Roberts Hall room 301
Section 02 - 10:00 - 11:50 AM, Tuesday, EPS8F
Section 03 - 9:00 - 10:50 AM, Wednesday, EPS8F
Section 04 - 2:10 - 4:00 PM, Friday, EPS8F

A. Wheeler & A. Ganji, Introduction to Engineering Experimentation, 3rd Edition, Pearson/Prentice Hall

Catalog Entry:

S 3 cr. LEC 2 LAB 1
PREREQUISITE: EELE 250, or equivalent.

-- Theory and application of engineering technology measurement concepts including function and operation of transducers; temperature, pressure, displacement and flow sensing; sensor system calibration; statistical and uncertainty analysis; sampling theory fundamentals; signal conditioning; 1st order response; emphasis on applications involving computerized acquisition of data.

General Information:
Measurement and Instrumentation techniques are among the most important tools used by Engineers and Scientists. Experimental methods and the proper use of various types of measurement systems provide the basis for the design, evaluation and control of many engineering components and systems. An engineering test is often the only substitute for analysis of new designs in cases where a purely analytical approach would be difficult, inaccurate or impossible. Even  in cases where analysis provides a starting point for evaluation, standard engineering practice includes validation testing - e.g. using measurement and instrumentation techniques - to confirm engineering analysis results. Thus, a good working knowledge of this area of study is critical to effective engineering implementation.

This area of study is multi-disciplinary in nature: The theory considered can involve solid mechanics, fluid mechanics, dynamics, mathematics, electronics, material science and other engineering subjects. Mathematical derivations often utilize calculus, but many course calculations can be reduced to algebraic expressions that must be correctly applied to derive accurate results. Adherence to all course pre-requisites and a positive, inquisitive attitude are necessary to ensure success in ETME360.

The objective of this course is to give students baseline knowledge of measurements & instrumentation theory and practice, in order to support their present and future needs in engineering testing and research.


  • Learn basic measurements and instrumentation theory & practice
  • Understand common measurement applications and be able to specify appropriate test equipment
  • Develop useful instrumentation and measurement laboratory skills
  • Set up and conduct prepared experiments
  • Design and conduct (final) laboratory project experiment.
  • Apply engineering math & science knowledge to instrumentation-specific homework & test problems
  • Analyze and interpret data gathered during weekly lab exercises and final laboratory project experiment
  • Utilize computer applications to gather, interpret & present experimental data
  • Create awareness of capabilities and limitations of measurements & instrumentation in engineering
  • Utilize standard laboratory instruments (oscilloscopes, voltmeters, etc.) for gathering experimental data
  • Utilize graphing and plotting programs to develop graphical results
  • Utilize solver programs for generating analytical solutions to lab exercises and homework problems
  • Utilize word processing programs for creating lab reports & memorandums
  • Utilize data acquisition software for gathering experimental results
  • Improve ability to utilize the computer to solve engineering problems
  • Improve team working skills through group assignments
  • Maintain level of honesty and integrity, and adherence to assignment deadlines
  • Improve written and oral communication skills through lab project written reports

Course Format: Labs & Lecture

ETME360 consists of separate Lecture (twice weekly) and Lab (once weekly) meetings. The lecture
provides measurement system background & theory, and the lab provides an opportunity to apply
methods in a hands-on laboratory environment.

Scheduling of lecture topics is coordinated with lab exercises to provide "just in time" delivery of subject
matter. A good cross-section of commonly used transducers and representative manual and
computerized data acquisition and measurement techniques will be discussed in lecture and utilized in laboratory exercises.  

Proper instrument usage is emphasized in the laboratory, as is the proper acquisition, handling and
processing of gathered data.  There is a significant communication emphasis since all experimental results
are documented in formal laboratory reports.

Assessments and Evaluation:
Reading assignments and homework problems from the text will be announced weekly. Solutions will be discussed  after problems have been collected. Quizzes may be given on topics covered in lecture and homework. Lecture-based grades (homework, quizzes and tests) will account for 50% of the course grade,
and Lab-based grades will account for the remaining 50%. Note that proper execution of each laboratory
exercise requires application of topics from lecture. Grade breakdown is as follows:

Grading Percentages:

Laboratory Lecture

Lab activities and reports = 40%

Homework = 15%

Lab Final = 10%

Mid-term exams: 2 @ 10% = 20%

(Total lab grade = 50 % of course grade.) Final written Exam     15%

Exam dates will be announced about two weeks before the exam. Examinations missed due to
unexcused absences cannot be made up except in highly unusual cases. If you know in advance that
you must miss any exam, let me know PRIOR to the week of the exam and I will discuss options with
you. All instructors are directed to administer final exams at the time scheduled by the registrar. See the
official schedule of classes for final exam times.

Point totals required to receive a particular letter grade will utilize the traditional scale:

A: 90 – 100%
B: 80 – 90%
C: 70 – 80%
D: 60 – 70%
F: <60%

Plus and minus grading will be used at the discretion of the instructor. A curve may be applied to assignments to account for nconsistency in performance of students or instructor. Inappropriate conduct, late arrival to lecture, cheating or plagiarism will affect the final grade.

It is important that students understand MSU's C- Grade Policy which is presented on-line at .

Lab Format, Rules and Preparation:
Labs meet weekly per the semester Laboratory schedule. Electronic Laboratory Handouts describing each lab exercise will be posted prior to each lab exercise. Each student is responsible for preparation prior to the beginning of the lab period. Some lab exercises will require that pre-lab calculations be prepared: If assigned, these calculations will be collected at the beginning of the lab period, and will
constitute 10% of that lab exercise grade. Preparation always includes review of any handouts and references, preparation of a group data sheet, etc.

Labs will be divided into groups of 2-4 students for most lab experiments. The labs generally involve setting up apparatus and gathering data in a cooperative group effort. For most labs, data can be obtained well within the two hour lab period. Once all required data is acquired, students may leave the lab. Lab reports are to be written as a group effort, by the original members of the laboratory team. Each group member is responsible for contributing to lab report sections including memorandum, presentation of results, sample calculations, graphs, etc. Memorandums and all report sections are to be credited to the individual (or persons) who authored that section. Lab reports are to be considered the property of the authoring group, and are not to be copied, transcribed, plagiarized, etc. Grade penalties will be given if these problems are found! 

Lab reports:
Laboratory reports will be collected at the beginning of the lab period following execution of the experiment.  Graded reports will be vailable 1-2 weeks later. All contributing group members (identified clearly in the report) will receive the same grade. No Late reports will be accepted unless prior arrangements have been made. Lab reports should conform to the attached Report Format Guidelines.

Student Conduct, Students with Disabilities:
Professional, courteous behavior is expected of students in this course. The best learning environment is found in a low-stress atmosphere where students and instructor are respectful of each other, with a focus on learning. Lets keep it that way!

Consistent late arrival to class or disruptive behaviors will not be tolerated. The use of cell-phones during class time is not permitted; please mute your phones during lecture.

All students are encouraged to review MSU's student conduct policy, as linked above. If you have a documented disability for which you are or may be requesting accommodation, you are encouraged to contact your instructor and Disabled Student Services as soon as possible.    

Come to the laboratory dressed for work! That means no open toe shoes, sandals, or bare feet. As a professional engineer or scientist, laboratory safety will be one of your primary responsibilities; practice it now. Failure to demonstrate standard laboratory safety protocols can directly impair your lab performance and your final grade. Additional safety measures for the laboratory and group projects will be detailed during the lab sections and may include dealing with hazards such as hot or cold (cryogenic) objects, high pressures, large forces, etc. BE ON YOUR GUARD FOR HAZARDS!