Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Practical lab measurements & instrumentation

Critique by Dr. Sergey Y. Yurish, International Frequency Sensor Association (IFSA)

The Handbook of Laboratory Measurements and Instrumentation is a practical oriented book which presents to readers experimental and laboratory activities with an approach as close as possible to reality, even offering remote access to experiments, providing to the reader an excellent guide and tool for learning laboratory techniques, instruments and methodologies including methods of measurements, results analysis and errors evaluation.
 
The authors are internationally recognized scientists from the University of Porto (P), Maria Teresa Restivo, Fernando Gomes de Almeida, Maria de Fátima Chouzal, Joaquim Gabriel Mendes and António Mendes Lopes. They confirm that instrumentation is vital for the design and implementation of measuring, monitoring and actuation systems and in data acquisition systems and processing, playing nowadays a fundamental role in many technological areas, as well as in those of certification, control and information. The increasing demand of experimental accuracy in all scientific areas makes instrumentation for measurement a crucial component, particularly in higher education curricula with a strong technological element, being also essential at research and development level.

The publication of this handbook, by the International Frequency Sensor Association, is well-timed because when dealing nowadays with large classes it is very difficult for universities’ teachers and professors to provide to the students direct contact with well-structured hands-on experimental measurements in real measuring laboratory. This well organised book presents to higher education students in engineering, physics, bioengineering and other related areas, a first overview of some of the most common measurement techniques, offering a close approximation to the real laboratory environments, which they may encounter at a later stage in their studies.
 
The handbook is organised in a logical and methodical way. The introduction is following by thirteen well-illustrated chapters on various aspects of measurement and instrumentation such as generic laboratory equipment, temperature, dimensional, force, strain, displacement, proximity and angular velocity measurements, data acquisition systems, web monitoring and control, bridge circuits for resistance, inductance and capacitance measurements, etc.
 
Each chapter is independent, self-contained and followed by useful references collected at the end of the book including basic books, articles and carefully selected web links. Each one presents a clearly defined learning objective, the essential concepts and a step-by-step guide for performing the experimental activity, various complementary multimedia contents and a final synthesis. The set of open questions that closes each chapter is intended to provide formative assessment. This unique book includes dozens simulations, animations and videos (see examples in the full-page [pdf]  review in Sensors & Transducers). It makes this title a very valued and different volume from existing books on measurements and instrumentation.

The Handbook of Laboratory Measurements and Instrumentation not only fills the existing gaps in the available literature on measurements but also simultaneously opening the excellent prospects for the dissemination of know-how, technologies and techniques among students, researchers and engineers.
 
The newly published book significantly contributes to the dissemination of experimental activity in engineering education and to facilitate the conception, tuning and exploration of experimental systems for laboratory training. The full technical description of the equipment is provided to make the setups easily reproducible. Engineers, researchers, technicians and students who are working in measuring laboratories will find plenty of practical information here for solving daily problems.

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