Open water flume tanks with closed-loop circulation driven by centrifugal pumps are essential for hydro experimentation in academic settings as well as research centers. The device is also attractive due to its versatility and easy-to-maintain characteristics. Nevertheless, commercial open flume systems can be expensive and become less prioritized in engineering schools. This paper describes the design and fabrication of an affordable, medium-size water flume tank, suitable for education purposes. The central piece of the system is a transparent observation chamber where fluid experiments are typically conducted and observed. The expected maximum average water speed in the observation chamber of about 60 cm per second was achieved by the inclusion of a 3 hp centrifugal pump. The size and capacity of the current design were constrained by space limitation and available funds. The educational facility was assigned as a two-semester multi-disciplinary capstone senior design project incorporating students and faculty of mechanical, electrical, and computer engineering programs in our campus. The design process provides a training platform for skills in the area of Computer Aided Designs (CAD), Finite Element Analysis (FEA), Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), manufacturing, and experimentation. The multi-disciplinary project has contributed to the improvement of soft skills, such as time management, team working, and professional presentation, of the team members. The total material cost of the facility was less than USD 6000, which includes the pump and its variable frequency driver. The project was made possible due to the generous sponsor of the Vibration Institute.
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