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Laboratories and Research

Biomedical Engineering

The Department of Biomedical Engineering's teaching laboratories provide students with hands-on experiences using state-of-the-art equipment. One laboratory is equipped to teach cell and molecular methods used in biomedical engineering, as well as a range of other analytical methods. The other major laboratory is equipped for teaching bio-electric circuits, transducers and measurements devices, data acquisition and clinical instrumentation, as well for the development of senior capstone design projects. Students also have access to computers and servers for continuous virtual access to a range of engineering and analytical software (Matlab, Mathematica, Python, Solidworks, various engineering modeling programs). Maker spaces for student use in Biomedical Engineering and in the Grove School of Engineering provide an array of 3D printers for plastic and metal printing, as well other manufacturing equipment. In addition to these teaching labs and manufacturing facilities, students have access to a wide variety of technical training opportunities through the nationally renowned research laboratories in the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

Chemical Engineering

The Chemical Engineering Department provides six laboratories as part of it teaching facilities. These are the Chemical Engineering Science Laboratory, the Unit Operations and Control Laboratory, the Particulate Science Laboratory, the Interfacial Chemistry Laboratory, the Bioprocessing Laboratory, and the Computer Laboratory. Safety procedures and training are emphasized in all laboratories.

In the Chemical Engineering Science Laboratory students make measurements of various thermodynamic properties such as vapor pressure and of transport properties such as viscosity, thermal conductivity and gas diffusivities. The data is then used to estimate the parameters in the appropriate constitutive equations using the methods learned in the statistics course. Students also study the mechanism of conductive, convective, and thermal radiation heat transfer.

In the Unit Operations and Control Laboratory students get hands on experience operating and characterizing the behavior of a wide variety of the types of equipment used in chemical plants. Among these are several heat exchangers, pumps, a piping network for studying fluid flow, flow meter apparatus, a distillation column, a chemical reactor, a packed column, a fluidized bed, a mixing tank, a drying oven, and a gas membrane separator. Most equipment is of pilot plant scale. Many experiments have computer interfaces. The distillation column is equipped with a control module that gives the students experience with the use of feedback control in the operation of equipment. Students also learn how to use a process chromatograph in conjunction with some of the other experiments.

The Powder Science and Technology Laboratory is attached to the course with the same name (ChE 45200) and is given together with it as demonstration of theoretical principles presented in class. The students are first introduced to powder characterization such as particle size, size distribution (using standard sieves and a light scattering instrument) and shape and surface structure using optical and electron microscopes. Instruments to measure powder specific surface area and pore volume using gas adsorption (BET and gas pycnometry) and mercury intrusion are also presented. Characterization of bulk powders properties is achieved in the Jenike Shear Cell used to measure powder-yield loci at different initial compression levels. This is a special instrument, characteristic of powder engineering, used to determine powder flowability as well as for the design of powder storage vessels such as hoppers and bins. Finally, the MikroPul Hosokawa Micron Powder Characteristics Tester provides six mechanical measurements with one easy-to-use instrument, including 1) angle of repose, 2) compressibility, 3) angle of spatula, 4) cohesiveness, 5) angle of fall and 6) disperse-ability. Measuring such properties has great importance in the design of storage hoppers, feeders, conveyors and other powder processing equipment. The laboratory also has a significant research component dedicated to the measurement of dry powder flows in different geometries and the study of powder granulation (size-enlargement). Principles of these processes are also demonstrated to students using the existing research equipment.

The Interfacial Chemistry Laboratory provides students with exposure to some surface modification chemistry and the standard techniques used for the characterization of surface properties. Written and verbal reports are required. In addition to use of instrumentation, students will familiarize themselves with surface preparation and modification techniques, including self-assembly, evaporation, spin coating, and Langmuir-Blodgett techniques.

The Bioprocessing Laboratory is equipped with a bioprocess system that includes a fermentation bioreactor, an ultrasonic cell homogenizer, an isoelectric focusing prep cell, and, for final purification, a chromatographic separation system. Additional equipment includes Applikon 3 and 7 liter fermenters with an ultrasonic cell separator to permit cell recycle. On-line instrumentation includes an Aber Instruments live-cell probe and a methanol feed control system. All modules are computer accessible and capable of feedback control. This lab is used in conjunction with both the graduate and undergraduate courses in bioprocessing to provide hands on training. Typical experiments are introductory microbiology, bioreactor operation and control, and protein purification.

The computer laboratory provides students with access to approximately 24 PCs and two printers on a local area network Applications software including the Aspen Engineering Suite, SuperPro Designer, Visio, Mathematica, and Matlab are available on these machines as well as E-mail and Internet access capability. The lab also provides workspace so that student design or study teams can work together. This lab is available from 9 AM to 9 PM weekdays and on weekends by previous arrangement.

Civil Engineering

The Department of Civil Engineering has the following laboratories: Materials of Engineering, Soil Mechanics, Fluid Mechanics, Environmental Engineering, Highway and Airfield, and Traffic/Transportation Engineering.

The Materials of Engineering Laboratory houses an Instron 8500 Series Universal Testing Machine. This machine is digitally controlled and capable of applying 55 kips (250 kN) dynamic loads. Supporting electronic control, data acquisition and computer software systems are available. Additional equipment for the static, dynamic and fatigue testing of materials includes testing machines for tension, compression, transverse-bending and torsion investigation. The laboratory contains hardness testing machines, impact testers, electric strain gauge consoles, and assorted peripheral equipment. Facilities for casting, curing and testing concrete are also available and include the following: walk-in variable temperature and humidity control environmental chamber, diamond tipped saw for cutting concrete, computer controlled servo-hydraulic compression test machine for 600 kip load capacity, ultrasonic pulse-velocity meter, and maturity meters. Complete facilities for nondestructive evaluation of materials and structures are also available and include: ground-penetrating radar with 400 MHz antenna, ultrasonic transmitters, oscilloscopes, function generators and accelerometers.

The Soil Mechanics Laboratory is equipped to perform standard identification tests of soils, such as grain size distribution, liquid and plastic limits, shear strength, and compaction properties. In addition, facilities to perform detailed testing of undisturbed samples (consolidation and triaxial shear) are available and used regularly. A moist room is available for long-term sample storage.

The Fluid Mechanics Laboratory is equipped for studying both compressible and incompressible fluid media. Flow rates up to five cubic feet per second of water are provided by each of three independent high-pressure systems equipped with constant-head controls. Two low-constant-head supply tanks located in the laboratory provide lesser discharge capacities. The laboratory contains a 52-foot long tilting flume, a water tunnel, a subsonic wind tunnel, an air jet, pumps, turbines, a hydraulic bench, and various units for the study of frictional phenomena involving water and oil.

A one-dimensional Laser Doppler Anemometer (LDA) is used for the study of flow velocities in pipes and near the flow boundaries. In addition, the lab has a state-of-the-art wave tank, 6 ft. wide by 4 ft. high and 40 ft. long. It is equipped with a computer controlled five-paddle wave generator. This system can produce single waves, random waves, and angle waves. A two-dimensional Laser Doppler Velocimeter (LDV) equipped with computer controlled 3-D traverse and fully automated data acquisition system is used in the wave tank for studying beach hydraulics and off-shore similitudes. The lab is also equipped with a tilting sand flume for studying flow through highly porous media and groundwater contamination. A fully automated freeze and thaw machine is also available for graduate research work.

The Environmental Engineering Laboratory is equipped for experimental evaluation of unit processes and operations in water and wastewater treatment as well as analysis of all physical, chemical and microbiological water quality parameters. The experimental facilities include settling columns, suspended and attached growth biological reactors, computer-controlled bioreactor for kinetic studies, a bench scale UV chamber, a 12-gpm 15-foot bubble contactor for ozone studies complete with ozone generator, gas and liquid phase ozone residual monitors and off-gas destructor, a 1000-ft pipe loop system for water instability studies, and all conventional experimental devices used in determination of chemical dose requirements. An environmental chamber for temperature-controlled experiments is also available.

The analytical capabilities of the laboratory include gas chromatography-mass spectrometer with purge/trap, inductive-coupled plasma spectrometer (ICP) gas chromatograph with EC and FID detectors, total organic carbon analyzer, ion chromatograph, water quality autoanalyzer, UV-visible doublebeam spectrophotometer with stopped-flow device, and phase contrast/epifluorescence research microscope. Field monitoring equipment includes water quality monitors with multiple probes and fluorometers.

The Traffic/Transportation Engineering Laboratory has both personal computers and UNIX workstations with their peripherals to provide students opportunities to work with traffic and transportation software for course work and transportation research. The laboratory has a variety of software, including SOAP84, HCS, PASSER II-90, TRANSYT-7F, NETSIM, AAP, PRIMAVERA, AutoCAD, and software for GIS. The laboratory also contains basic equipment necessary to conduct traffic engineering studies such as traffic counters and measuring wheels.

The Highway and Airfield Laboratory offers facilities for investigating the properties of the basic materials and mixtures that comprise pavements. A variety of strength and stability equipment and other apparatus are available for determining rheological and physical properties and for experiments in designing and testing bituminous mixes. The additional facilities of the Soils and Materials Laboratories make possible the study of mineral aggregates and their blends, soil-stabilization phenomena, and mix-design and properties of Portland cement concrete. Other facilities in the Chemical Engineering Department’s Materials Research Laboratory extend the capacity to conduct thermoanalytic studies on standard and composite materials.

Computer Engineering

The Computer Engineering Program shares laboratory facilities in the Departments of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering.

Computer Science

The Department of Computer Science has substantial computing facilities, including two student PC laboratories, large Linux labs, and specialized laboratories for computer architecture, image processing, network protocols, operating systems, and parallel programming. A computer vision lab is under construction. Wireless and high-speed Internet connections are provided. All labs are equipped with laser printers.

The Linux labs are equipped with state-of-the-art Dell workstations running Red Hat Enterprise Linux. These labs provide software for graphics, image processing, numerical computation and logic design, and a variety of programming languages (such as C/C++. Java, Fortran, Scheme, Assembly, Python and Perl). The labs also provide database development environments, such as Oracle and MySQL. The PC labs utilize the Microsoft Windows XP environment, and provide a wide range of software for both students and faculty. The Computer Architecture Lab is equipped with high-end IBM, Dell and Sun workstations. Students use VHDL to program reconfigurable boards supplied by Altera. The Operating Systems Lab is equipped with Sun Blade workstations.

The Image Processing Lab features dual-processor Dell workstations with high-end Nvidia Quadro 4 graphics boards, running Linux. The Network Protocol Lab is equipped with the latest networking devices, such as CISCO switches, routers, ATM switches and a network traffic simulator/analyzer. Also deployed are high-end Sun Ultra workstations and video capture capability for studying video multicasting. The Parallel Programming Lab provides a small Beowulf cluster based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux. This lab provides students and faculty with a prototyping environment for development and study of high performance computing.

Earth System Science and Environmental Engineering

ESE students take advantage of teaching laboratory facilities in the respective departments where the laboratory course is offered. These include such facilities as the Hydraulic and Environmental Labs in the CE Department, EAS Department Geoscience and Analytical labs, etc. The Remote Sensing/GIS computer laboratory facility is open to ESE students for Remote Sensing and GIS courses as well as to conduct the Senior Design project, independent study, or research. Faculty participating in the ESE program also have state-of-the-art laboratories that are utilized for student research and design projects. These include the EE Department Optical Remote Sensing Lab, the CE Department Hydrology Lab, the NOAA CREST Satellite Receiving Facility, and the Chemistry and Analytical Labs in the CCNY Science Division. In addition to the NOAA CREST Satellite facility, the Center also operates an air sampling shed on campus, and a number of local and regional networks including lidar and radiometer networks, and the New York City Meteorological Network for air dispersion and micro-climate studies. Additional field work is supported through a number of research projects (from Navy, NOAA, NASA, etc.) and include coastal water studies, snow and ice studies, soil moisture studies, etc. at various locations nationally and internationally.

Electrical Engineering

The undergraduate EE laboratory facilities comprise the core teaching laboratories, advanced senior level design laboratories and computer support facilities.

The computer-controlled core laboratories are designed to give students hands-on experience on both analog and digital electronic circuits and in measurement devices currently used to characterize circuits and systems. Data acquisition using LabVIEW computer control software with GPIB interfaced measurement equipment is used to give the students hands-on experience in the fundamentals in communications, computer and control engineering.

The two introductory core labs consist of laboratory stations (2 students per station) which have the following computer and measurement equipment: personal computers running both LabVIEW and Electronics Workbench (analog and digital circuit simulation software); a GPIB plug and play controller card; a data acquisition-generation board with 8 analog input lines and 2 analog output lines, 24 digital scope with GPIB storage module; a Hewlett Packard GPIB and RS-232 interfaced Digital Multimeter; a Hewlett Packard Triple Output Power Supply, a Hewlett Packard GPIB and RS-232 interfaced 15 MHz function generator.

The Analog Communications Laboratory uses the Lab-Volt Company’s signal generators, receivers, noise generators, and spectrum analyzer for the analysis of the performance of AM, SSB, DSB, and FM communication systems.

The Computer Engineering Laboratory is designed to give students the capacity to perform high-level microcontroller programming and virtual emulation. The laboratory consists of 5 stations (2 people per station) each with: a PC; a Motorola Microcontroller Development System, a Motorola Emulator and specialized assembler software and C Cross compilers. In addition, the laboratory has a Hewlett Packard 16-channel logic analyzer and assorted electronics components for laboratory exploration.

The advanced design laboratories include Local Area Network (LAN), Photonics Engineering, and Advanced Electronics. The LAN laboratory consists of IBM Multimedia PC’s, Protocol Analyzers and several network design and simulation packages such as OPNET and COMNET. In addition, two ATM switches (2.4 Gbps) and a CISCO Router are available.

The Control Engineering Laboratory uses the Feedback Inc. analog servo-fundamentals trainer, which consists of an analog unit and a mechanical unit. The mechanical unit has a servomotor with position and velocity sensors. The analog unit allows students to wire the servomotor in a closed look configuration and independently vary the position and velocity feedback gains. The trainer is interfaced to a PC running LabView software to acquire and display signals on a virtual oscilloscope. The six stations are networked to a printer to allow students to print the virtual oscilloscope display.

The Photonics Laboratory is designed to give a variety of laboratory experiences in optics, lasers, spectroscopy and fiber optics. Equipment includes laser diodes, HeNe lasers, a white light source, a fiber optic spectro-radiometry system, single and multimode fibers, laser power meters and a variety of optical components.

The NASA Remote Sensing Computer Laboratory is designed to provide computer resources to students involved in environmental engineering and remote sensing.

The laboratory facilities are supported by significant computer resources which include the Department network comprising over 120 workstations.

Mechanical Engineering

The Department of Mechanical Engineering provides separate laboratories for the study of aero-thermal-fluid engineering, manufacturing, material science, mechatronics, dynamics and controls, and CAD. A Senior Design Projects Fabrication and Test Laboratory and a machine shop serve the entire department. A personal computer center, open all day, is available for the convenience of students. In the Aero-Thermal-Fluid Laboratory, major experiments involve a refrigeration unit, a water turbine unit, a wind tunnel unit, an air pipe flow unit, a fin heat transfer unit, and a heat exchanger.

The Engineering Materials Laboratory includes extensive facilities for the preparation of specimens for metallographic examination using modern digital imaging analysis system, testing machinery for tension, compression, hardness, impact, fracture, fatigue, stress relaxation, and ultrasound characterization; equipment for heat treatment; as well as recording and projection devices.

The Mechatronics Laboratory teaches the use of various electromechanical devices, sensors and actuators. The devices include strain gauges, thermocouples, piezoelectric accelerometers, LVDT’s, instruments for signal generation, filtering and amplification, stepper and DC servo motors, linear slides, and assorted electromechanical items (such as solenoids, relays, micro-switches, infrared proximity sensors, piezoelectric buzzers, strobe lights, fans, blowers, etc.). All these devices are controlled by PC-based data acquisition, microcontrollers, and programmable logic controllers (PLCs).

The Dynamics and Controls Laboratory contains equipment for dynamic balancing, vibration testing, and various feedback control units for rectilinear and torsional mechanical systems, level and flow, thermal and pressure systems and digital and analog servo-motor systems.

The Computer Aided Design Laboratory facility has twenty-six Dell OptiPlex 960 computers, a Dell PowerEdge 2500 server, two HP Color LaserJet 4700dn printers, an HP LaserJet P4015dn printer, and an LCD projector. The Department also has a Multimedia Learning Facility which includes twenty-six Dell Dimension PC’s, document camera, LCD projector, and whiteboard as well as a Nuclear Computation Lab with twenty Dell OptiPlex 960 computers running PCTRAN software. In addition, the Department maintains eighteen Sun UNIX workstations and fifteen Dell OptiPlex 9010 PC’s in its manufacturing laboratory. These systems are equipped with mechanism design, mathematics, finite element, boundary element and computer-aided manufacturing software, including Solid Works, LS-DYNA, ABAQUS, MathCAD, MATLAB, Mathematica, FLUENT; and NASTRAN-4D.

A modern Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) Laboratory facility contains four CNC machining centers and a computer-integrated manufacturing (CIM) system, 3-D printer, together with industrial grade robots: two articulate arm types and one SCARA.

Somewhat more specialized laboratories, established to facilitate advanced experimental research work, provide specific concentrations of apparatus and equipment to allow the study of various phenomena in such fields as solid mechanics, composites, turbomachinery, environmental and fluid sciences, aero-sciences, and micro/nano manufacturing.

The machine shop is well equipped for fabricating and maintaining all experimental facilities, both undergraduate and research.


In recent years, several million dollars in grants per year have been awarded to City College Grove School of Engineering faculty for conducting research projects that have attracted international attention. These faculty members are an integral part of the undergraduate teaching team. The grant agencies include NSF, NASA, ONR, U.S. Army, AFOSR, EPA, USDOT, NYCDOT, DOE, ARPA, and NIH. City College is also connected to ARPANET.

A brief sampling of the ongoing research activities follows.

In the area of Electrical Engineering: digital slow-scan video, packet voice video systems, spread spectra, semiconductors, integrated circuits, digital signal processing, image processing, material characterization, digital optical computing, machine vision, identification and control, microwave engineering, parallel processing, knowledge-based engineering, robotics, computer communications, and local area networks.

In Biomedical Engineering: cardiovascular engineering, including fluid and mass transfer aspects of arterial disease and microcirculatory heat and mass transfer; neural engineering, including analysis of nervous system function at multiple levels (single channel, single cell, tissue, whole animal, and human cognitive levels) and development of stimulation protocols to treat brain disorders; musculoskeletal biomechanics, including understanding the mechanism of musculoskeletal maintenance and adaptation and characterization of bone properties using ultrasound; and tissue engineering, including use of micro- and nanotechnology along with cell and molecular biology to address issues related to disease progression (cancer metastasis), development of replacement tissues, and high throughput assessment of cell death mechanisms.

In the area of Chemical Engineering: turbulence, low Reynolds number hydrodynamics, two- and three-phase bubble flow in capillaries, arterial fluid flow, cholesterol metabolism models, drug release polymers, tissue engineering, fluidized and trickle beds, coal liquefaction, conversion catalysis and hydropyrolysis, low-temperature electromagnetic properties of semiconductors and coal chars, extraction with mixtures of critical solvents, dynamic process simulation systems, dynamic modeling and control of FCC, coal gasification, municipal waste incineration and power generation systems, control of complex processing systems.

In the area of Computer Science: computer graphics, image processing, multimedia, virtual reality, computational geometry, mathematics of computation, cryptography, artificial intelligence, neural networks, mathematical fluid dynamics and simulation, networks, distributed computing, information management and virtual organization, economics of information, and social issues in computing.

In the area of Mechanical Engineering: fracture mechanics and crack propagation, composite materials characterization and ultrasound microscopy, random vibrations, turbomachinery, aerodynamic turbulence, gas dynamics and shock waves, aerostructures, climate change, MEMs, smart materials and moving phase change boundaries.

In the area of Civil Engineering: earthquake effects of structures and soil/structure interaction, fracture mechanics, creep effects in concrete, probabilistic methods in structural design, seepage of pollutants through soil/water systems, solid waste disposal, modeling and simulation in travel demand forecasting, value capture financing techniques in transportation, highway maintenance systems and load analysis for highways.