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University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

Aerospace Engineering (AERSP)

AERSP 405 Experimental Methods and Projects (3) Experimental methods involving a variety of aerospace engineering topics; teams of students focus on adanced measurement techniques and project engineering.

AERSP 405 Experimental Methods and Projects (3)

This is a senior-level elective laboratory course that builds on AERSP 305W “Aerospace Technology Laboratory.” The first part of AERSP 405 addresses the engineering of typical data acquisition systems through a series of lectures and laboratory experiments. Data acquisition and processing are covered as they relate to a broad range of engineering experiments. Several sessions in the laboratory provide students with hands-on experience with data acquisition, followed by computer program exercises to complete the assignments. Initially the lectures are twice a week (75 minutes each). This activity comprises approximately 20 % of the total course.

The major portion of the course introduces students to “real-world” projects in engineering and laboratory research. Students work in teams to identify, formulate, plan and solve engineering problems associated with a design or system, the completion of an experiment, or an extensive computational simulation requiring a team of students. Teams of 2 to 4 students are assigned, following student input on preferences from a list of proposed projects. Students learn, through practice, the methodology of team project engineering. The teams each develop goals for the semester’s project, performed following a careful work breakdown analysis with realistic time estimations and scheduling. Many of the projects involve the design and completion of an experiment. As part of the project, students will assemble, analyze and interpret relevant data, and prepare progress and final reports (written and oral). The reports should contain graphs that go with the text to provide the necessary data interpretation. The topics in the projects have application to a variety of research programs currently underway at Penn State. At the initiation of the project activity, lectures on principles of project planning including Gantt chart preparation, work breakdown structures and critical path considerations are presented. Common best practices for the preparation of project proposals, reports, presentations and general record keeping are discussed.

Overall meetings with the course instructor become bi-weekly once the projects are underway. Many of the projects also have knowledgeable graduate student or faculty consultants to assist with project planning and implementation. Project consultants conduct occasional individual review meetings with each team. Much of the project coordination work is undertaken within the regularly scheduled hours for the course. The class meetings include a combination of informal presentations by the students and, occasionally, the instructor on important technical issues. Considerable class time is spent discussing the goals and progress of individual tasks, and each student gives several brief oral presentations.

General Education: None
Diversity: None
Bachelor of Arts: None
Effective: Summer 2012
Prerequisite: AERSP 305W

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.


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Course descriptions are stored in LionPATH, the University-wide student information system. Please visit the LionPATH Course Catalog to access current course descriptions. At that point, you will be leaving the University Bulletin website.

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