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Three Point Bend Experiment - iLabs Simulator - University of Sheffield

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posted on 2024-01-08, 12:39 authored by Andrew GarrardAndrew Garrard, Harry DayHarry Day, Matteo Di BenedettiMatteo Di Benedetti

A virtual "digital twin" experiment using web browser based iLabs client of the 3 Point Bend test delivered at the department of Multidisciplinary Engineering Education at the University of Sheffield.

Stanford University has developed a platform referred to as “iLab”, which allows students to access data from real experiments in an interactive way. It is described as a “digital twin”. However, the system is not a true simulation, as the outcomes of physical processes are not produced in a dynamic way based on the inputs.  During a laboratory experiment, a number of independent variables are set and for each combination of these, an output state of the system is produced.  The iLabs system allows instructors to upload photographic images and numerical data for a large number of output states for any particular experiment. Following the upload to the system, students are able to retrieve individual output states by specifying a combination of inputs from an open access web based interface. In practice, this gives students control of the beam shape, beam material and applied load (and measurement of beam deflection), in the same way as the real experiment.

A semi-automated system using remotely controlled Raspberry Pi (RPi) based cameras was used to capture the photographs of the experiment in its many input/output states. Once the framing of each camera is established to capture critical viewpoints of the experimental equipment, a command line based UI is used to capture numerical data from instrumentation and remotely instruct the simultaneous capture of images from the cameras. The cameras do not need to be touched, so the framing is not changed and data, including the filenames of the digital images, is exported in the format required to directly upload to iLabs.



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