The Purdue University North Central College of Engineering and Technology recently welcomed area business and community leaders to its new Fluid Mechanics and Heat Transfer Lab.
This lab, designed by College of Engineering and Technology Dean Dr. Larryl Matthews provides students with a state-of-the art facility that provides Mechanical Engineering students with a hands-on learning experience using the same equipment and materials they’ll find on the job.
The Engineering Reception attracted 27 guests representing 12 businesses who were introduced
to the PNC Mechanical Engineering juniors and seniors. Students showed the new lab to their guests and served as first-hand examples of the quality students in the PNC Mechanical Engineering program. The guests left with resumes of the nine graduating seniors in hand.
Nationally, mechanical engineering is the number one engineering pursuit, said Matthews.
“Mechanical engineering is the broadest of the engineering disciplines,” said Matthews. “The breath of possibilities for someone pursuing a career in mechanical engineering his high.
“Look around, everything you see has been touched by an engineer,” he continued. “If it moves, a mechanical engineer was involved.”
The Fluid Mechanics and Heat Transfer Lab will allow students to perform experiments, test concepts and theories as they learn the science of mechanical engineering.
The students also have the benefit of learning in a lab that was customized for their use.
Matthews and Rodger Veatch, College of Engineering and Technology lab technician, worked together to adapt and modify the equipment to suit the PNC curriculum and needs.
The two spent their summer planning and designing the lab, installing equipment and ensuring it worked. Some items were purchased, some made on campus by Matthews and Veatch.
The end result was a lab that now only saved the campus a considerable amount of money, but perfectly suited to the PNC students and their professors.
“We have very specialized equipment made from very specific parts,” said Matthews. “The pieces can be used to perform multiple experiments. It would be difficult to purchase a system like this because we made it specifically the way we wanted it.”
All of the equipment, the tables and chairs in the labs are on wheels so they can be moved around to suit each class’s learning activities.
Even the walls of the labs were custom designed. They feature large photos of the Mechanical Engineering students at work in their classes
The first Bachelor’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering will be awarded to PNC students in May. The National Association of Colleges and Employers reports that Engineering degrees account for four of the five most highly paid majors among the college class of 2010. The average starting salary for a Mechanical Engineering major is $58,392. In addition, the number of jobs in mechanical engineering is expected to grow by 6 percent through 2018.
Graduating senior James Feltz took part in the Mechanical Engineering reception. “Being part of the first group of Mechanical Engineering students was a great experience. We had a part in the formation of the program.”
“I don’t think you could find a program like this at any other school,” said Sean Kunzman, another graduating senior. “The program is built around the students. You get to know the material and know it well. You can develop a close relationship with the professors and the other students so that everyone has a commitment to success.”
Derek Tucker admitted that Mechanical Engineering is a challenging subject and the PNC classes often test the mettle of the students. “Dr. Matthews makes sure that we know our material and understand it, remember it and know how to apply it. We have a great learning experience here at PNC.”