Case Studies | Fluid Mechanics | 6th May 2022

For the love of Fluid Mechanics – Review by Josh Wyrick from York College of Pennsylvania

‘Wow, look at this cool equipment!’ is often heard from the students who come to York College of Pennsylvania whether they're prospective, or actual students, as they enjoy using the big equipment like the pipe wall, rainfall apparatus and flume with their ease of use and impressive features.

In this video we talk with Josh Wyrick, Lecturer within the department of Civil & Mechanical Engineering at York College of Pennsylvania about his experience working with and using TecQuipment products.

So why did Josh choose to buy products from TecQuipment?

In my previous institution I had used equipment provided by TecQuipment, so when I joined York College of Pennsylvania and had to purchase equipment, I knew that they were a good company to use, who made good equipment and when I was looking for specific products, TecQuipment had everything that I needed. When researching the products, they all seemed user friendly which is really helpful when I’m teaching a class or getting the students to work the equipment themselves as equipment needs to be user friendly and not confusing, and this has been true for TecQuipment’s products.

What was your experience of the people at TecQuipment?

As we are in America my point of contact were your representatives there, Bill and Cheryl. Bill was my primary contact person so whenever I had questions or wanted to order materials, they were very responsive and did a great job of setting up or helping me with the equipment.

When I bought equipment Bill and Cheryl would help me get it set up and working to check that everything worked properly, and if I needed a repair or had an urgent question, they were very quick at replying and helping me. A few times I also wanted to order a second product; I did that a couple of times on some smaller pieces. I really enjoyed the personal contact, responsiveness, and care that they, and TecQuipment brought to this process.

What is your experience of using the equipment?

Everything has been working great, I haven't had any issues and the lab sessions with students have gone well. The data that comes from the equipment used actually make sense which saves precious lab or discussion time as we don't have to really talk too much about apparatus error or equipment error, which is good. I’ve been really satisfied with everything that we have.

How useful do you find the user guides?

The user guides that come with TecQuipment’s products are so helpful. What I enjoy is that they offer you multiple options for using the equipment for various tasks. The equipment offers more than one experiment: it’s not one set thing, you can do three different things or more with this equipment, and I think the user guide does a good job at explaining and providing examples.

I like the fact the guide gives you some kind of sample results so you kind of know what to expect from the equipment, and it sets you up with a bit of a template on how to collect the data as well. So that provides a way for me to tell the students, here's how you should set up your data collection table and I can show them the kind of expected results and graph shape they should get. By being able to see the template in the user guide is really useful.

What is your favourite piece of equipment?

Well, I actually prefer the flume because that’s more of what my background is in. I have TecQuipment’s two-and-a-half-meter flume and I love creating hydraulic jumps and putting the different weirs in there and just seeing that visualization through that open channel flow, to me that's my favourite and it becomes a great visual for students and really for prospective students too. When we have tours coming in that's an easy one to set up and show the students the kind of cool things that we can do in this lab. That's my favourite piece, the flume, because I’m an open channel person!

How is the student experience using the equipment?

The students who come in, whether they're prospective or actual students, you know they've enjoyed the equipment demos because everything works well, and the bigger equipment like the pipe wall, rainfall apparatus and flume are big and impressive which always makes a mark. I think that helps sell the course and college to some of the prospective students when they come in, or on a tour, as the equipment makes them go, wow, look at that cool thing!

What is the history of engineering at the college?

York College of Pennsylvania has been around for a long time: the engineering programs started in the late 90s with mechanical engineering, then they added on electrical and computer engineering. About five years ago they started the civil engineering program, and I was the second faculty member hired. My specialty is in the water resources area of civil engineering, and as we had no equipment yet, it was part of my job to outfit the labs for our classes and for our students.

Can you tell us about the labs you use?

So unfortunately, we are a bit space confined at this institution, we have basically one big lab room that I share with some geotechnical and structural lab equipment. I kind of have a little corner partitioned off for us, so that's where I keep the big stuff like the rainfall apparatus, pipe wall apparatus and the flume, as they are harder to move around so I keep them there. I also have the hydraulic bench and the smaller stuff that I can place to the bench, so that is much more mobile and easily movable, but I'll store them there too. It means I can easily bring those pieces into the classroom for demos during lectures as well as the lab experiments during the lab periods, so I don't have to stay in the actual lab room.

How is the civil engineering course structured?

It's a generic civil engineering course, so the students will graduate with an introduction to all the sub-disciplines of civil engineering, which includes structures, Geotech, environmental, construction, surveying, transportation and then water resources as well.

There's a required course where they take fluid mechanics, then there's a required course where they take a hydraulics and hydrology course and then there's an elective course if they are interested to take a more advanced water resources engineering course, so it's built into the curriculum of a civil engineer.

How does this course apply in the real world?

Stormwater, particularly here on the east coast of America, is the big story, so no matter what kind of project that a civil engineer would get into building and designing, they always have to think about storm water. So, when it rains on whatever project you're designing you have to think about rainwater and removing it from places where you don't want it to be, but not just putting it directly into the stream you create some kind of detention for that. So TecQuipment’s rainfall apparatus is a great tool for those students because that's going to be useful whether they specialize in water resources when they graduate or not.

For those who actually want to specialize you can get more into depth on that subject and get into the design of those detention basins, the design of the outlet structures which TecQuipment’s discharge over a notch apparatus is great at putting on those different weird shapes to measure the flow - that's been a great tool for us, looking at the pipe connections from the storm water detention to the creeks. Those are the kind of designs that a civil engineer could do with water resource.

There's also just the water supply, so once water gets cleaned at the treatment plant then, you have to distribute it to all of the users, and that pressurized pipe that goes to all of those residences and industry, so there has to be a design of that and that's a complicated pipe design because it's not just a simple straight downhill, you have to make a whole grid of pipes and keep them pressurized for everyone. Those are the main ones here on the east coast that for us that students would get into, but you could get into river restoration as well. So, you know looking about how do streams erode their banks and how that's going to affect property boundaries or ecological parameters in the river, those are going to become more important where that's a bigger issue.

Our thanks go to Josh Wyrick for this interview, and if you are interested in any of the products mentioned links can be found below:

For more information about York College of Pennsylvania click here

2.5 Meter Flume = 2.5 Metre Flume (FC50-2.5)

Pipe wall = Losses in Piping Systems (H16)

Rainfall Apparatus = Hydrology and Rainfall Apparatus (H313)

Hydraulic Bench = Digital Hydraulic Bench (H1F)