ME 240:
Fundamentals of Instrumentation & Measurement

U of R shield Department of Mechanical Engineering
University of Rochester
Fall 2022 | Douglas H. Kelley

Lab Lectures will meet once per week for 75 minutes (two sections, 14:00-15:15 Mondays and Wednesdays in Meliora 203, with each student attending just one section). Required for ME majors. 2 credits. Labs will meet synchronously and in person for three hours each week (with each student attending just one lab meeting):

Section Time Location Instructor(s)
240-8 M 10:30-13:30 Hopeman 124 Anushika Athauda
240-2 W 10:00-13:00 Hopeman 124 Anushika Athauda
240-3 R 11:00-14:00 Hopeman 124 Alex Prideaux
240-5 R 15:00-18:00 Hopeman 124 Colin Blake and Keelin Quirk
240-6 F 09:00-12:00 Hopeman 124 Samantha Kriegsman and Athan Sanders
240-4 F 13:00-16:00 Hopeman 124 Samantha Kriegsman and Athan Sanders
240-7 F 13:00-16:00 Gavett 114 Colin Blake and Keelin Quirk

Course Goals

Opening the upper-level laboratory sequence in Mechanical Engineering, this course introduces students to contemporary techniques for data acquisition and analysis, focusing on measurements commonly made by mechanical engineers. Students measure quantities like force, position, velocity, temperature, flow rate, elastic modulus, and viscosity. Students learn about analog and digital signals, frequency analysis, measurement system models, statistics and uncertainty analysis, filters, sampling, and data visualization. Matlab is the primary software environment for acquisition and analysis.

Successful students in this course will also gain


PHY 122, ME 226, ME 260.


Sharing material generated for this course by the instructor is prohibited.

Assignments & Grading

All assignments and activities associated with this course must be performed in accordance with the University of Rochester's Academic Honesty Policy. In this course, students are allowed to collaborate on homework and laboratory reports — provided that each collaborator takes the time to fully understand the material, then write and submit their own assignment. Services like are uniformly prohibited. Facilitating dishonesty is dishonesty. Procrastination is a major source of dishonesty, so start assignments early and keep yourself organized. On quizzes and exams, neither collaboration nor outside aids are permitted unless the instructor explicitly states otherwise. Students must write and sign the Honor Pledge on all exams: “I affirm that I will not give or receive any unauthorized help on this exam, and that all work will be my own.”

Reading Quizzes - 5%
Each lab exercise will begin with a reading quiz consisting of three short questions taken directly from the procedure for that lab exercise.
Lab reports - 50%
Lab reports are to be submitted via GradeScope, due at the end of the Friday of the subsequent week, except for the last lab report, which is due at the end of the last day of class. Late submissions will not be accepted.
Homework - 10%
Homework is to be submitted via GradeScope, due 15 minutes before the beginning of your lecture section. Late submissions will not be accepted.
Midterm exam - 15%
One midterm exam will take place in person, in lecture sessions, during the week of 31 October.
Final exam - 20%
Cumulative. In person, 19 December 16:00-19:00, Hoyt Auditorium.
All assignments will be graded using GradeScope, and regrade requests will be handled through the GradeScope interface. Each student's work will be graded anonymously and by different people as the course proceeds.

Feedback & Availability

I will distribute evaluations periodically to collect feedback. Announcements will occasionally be made by email. I typically check email frequently but cannot guarantee immediate response at all times. Quick questions can be effectively and efficiently addressed by email, but for in-depth questions a face-to-face discussion usually works better, so consider requesting a meeting. Or, when classes are in session, come to office hours:

Time Location Instructor
Mondays 15:30-16:30 Hopeman 218 Doug Kelley
Tuesdays 14:00-15:00 Hopeman 215 Anushika Athauda
Wednesdays 16:00-17:00 Hopeman 215 Anushika Athauda
Thursdays 11:00-12:00 Hopeman 112 Athan Sanders
Fridays 11:00-12:00 Hopeman 305 Keelin Quirk

Course Schedule

This schedule may evolve as the course progresses. Reading assignments specified as section numbers below come from the seventh edition of the text by Figliola and Beasley. Links to many assignments are in Resources.

Week of Topic Reading Due
31 August No class.
5 September No class.
12 September Lecture: Measurements, signals, continuous vs discrete, analog vs digital 1.1-1.6, 2.1-2.3 Laboratory Safety Training (search for "standard chemical"), Prerequisites quiz on Blackboard, Laboratory safety quiz on Blackboard
12 September Lab: Newton's law of cooling (week 1 of 2) Newton's law of cooling Reading quiz: Newton's law of cooling
19 September Lecture: Spectra and Fourier decomposition 2.4-2.5 Bonus: Beliefs & Goals
19 September Lab: Newton's law of cooling (week 2 of 2) Newton's law of cooling
26 September Lecture: Measurement system models, response times, and dynamics 3.1-3.3, 3.5-3.8 Homework 1; Deliverables: Newton's law of cooling
26 September Lab: Particle tracking velocimetry (week 1 of 2) Particle tracking velocimetry Reading quiz: Particle tracking velocimetry
3 October Lecture: Mean, standard deviation, histograms, probability density functions, normal distribution, central limit theorem 4.1-4.3 Homework 2
3 October Lab: Particle tracking velocimetry (week 2 of 2) Particle tracking velocimetry
10 October No class.
17 October Lecture: Statistics of finite-sized data sets, Student's t distribution, degrees of freedom, hypothesis testing, χ2 distribution, Monte Carlo simulations, required measurement count 4.4-4.6 Homework 3; Deliverables: Particle tracking velocimetry
17 October Lab: Music, vibrations, and frequency analysis (week 1 of 2) Music, vibrations, and frequency analysis Reading quiz: Music, vibrations, and frequency analysis
24 October Lecture: Writing abstracts and captions (Prof. Whitney Gegg-Harrison) 4.7-4.10 Homework 4; Come to class with data and a draft figure from the vibrations lab exercise
24 October Lab: Music, vibrations, and frequency analysis (week 2 of 2) Music, vibrations, and frequency analysis
31 October Midterm exam; Deliverables: Music, vibrations, and frequency analysis.
31 October Lab: Repeatability and statistics (week 1 of 1) Repeatability and statistics Reading quiz: Repeatability and statistics
7 November Lecture: Chi-squared fitting and testing, curve fitting 4.6-4.7 Deliverables: Repeatability and statistics
7 November Lab: Modulus from sound speed (week 1 of 2) Modulus from sound speed Reading quiz: Modulus from sound speed
14 November Lecture: Uncertainty analysis, voltage measurements, Wheatstone bridge circuit 5.1-5.10, 6.1-6.4 Homework 6
14 November Lab: Modulus from sound speed (week 2 of 2) Modulus from sound speed
21 November No class.
28 November Lecture: Filters, grounding, loading errors, sampling and quantization 6.5-6.9, 7.1-7.2 Homework 7; Deliverables: Modulus from sound speed
28 November Lab: Translation stage design (week 1 of 3) Translation stage design Reading quiz: Translation stage design
5 December Lecture: Nyquist criterion, aliasing, binary numbers, data types, image processing 7.3, 7.6-7.8 Homework 8
5 December Lab: Translation stage design (week 2 of 3) Translation stage design
12 December Lecture: Final exam review Homework 9; Deliverables: Translation stage design (end of the last day of class)
12 December Lab: No labs.

Accessibility Accommodations

The University of Rochester respects and welcomes students of all backgrounds and abilities. The University employs professional staff committed to assisting students with disabilities in the classroom, residence halls, libraries, and elsewhere on campus. In the event you encounter any barriers to full participation in this course due to the impact of a disability, please contact the Office of Disability Resources (, 585-276-5075). The access coordinators in the Office of Disability Resources can meet with you to discuss the barriers you are experiencing and explain the eligibility process for establishing academic accommodations. It is a personal decision to disclose the existence of a disability and to request an accommodation. A decision not to disclose will be respected. Students who request an accommodation must provide appropriate documentation to the Disability Coordinator. The University remains flexible regarding the types of reasonable accommodations that can be made. Students with disabilities are invited to offer suggestions for accommodations.

Title IX

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