Fall 2017 Mobile Diagnostic Lab Update!

The Mobile Diagnostic Lab (MDL) was completed by the end of August 2017. Interior finishes have been installed and new research is under development by Graduate Student Glenn Viegas and Prof. Behrouz Shafei by the end of the semester.

The MDL is designed as a mobile lab to be able to travel to different cities or locations and collect performance data. The lab was designed with the purpose of flexibility in research use, so as new students work with it, they can develop their own research. The structure consists of two rooms: A lab which consists of two offset windows for air ventilation, a Removable Wall Section (RWS), and open space for future research. The second room is the mechanical room holding the HVAC duct work, a work table, and sensor data logging equipment. 


Remaining tasks to complete for the MDL:

  • Programming sensors to collect data
  • Complete MDL User Manual. 


The MDL is filled with thermosters which collect temperatures within the entire structure. There is one section per wall, ceiling, or floor which contains a gradient of sensors tracking the thermal transfer through the wall. We also designed the interior finishes and wall materials to be removable to allow materials to be changed out and make repairs. This proved to be a useful method as we learned how to construct the lab! The floor in the lab space is made out of click-lock bamboo with a layer of radiant flooring below it. In the mechanical space we have a durable gray tile. (Pictures are posted near the end of this post.)

The team is excited for the completion of this phase of the MDL and the upcoming research opportunities it will bring!


Continuing Research:

One of the walls in the lab is designed to be a Removable Wall Section (RWS) where we can remove a section of a wall, create a new wall section and reinsert it to see how it compairs to the other walls. The other walls are predetermined to be our "Standard" for which we base our measurements and compare the new wall section to. Taking lead on this section is Grad. Student Glen Veigas. 

More information about Prof. Behrouz Shafei will come later. 


Photos of the lab completion:


Mobile Diagnostic Lab Exterior Image Mobile Diagnostic Lab exterior. Removable wall section can be seen on the right side of the image.


Mechanical Room Setup Mechanical Room Set up. Wires on left side of image connect to the sensors in the lab and mechanical spaces and then relay information to the data logger.


Air Intake Image from inside of lab looking toward mechanical room. This shows the air intake for the space. The interior wall panels are white polycarbonate sheets bolted onto painted, wooden seam guides. The metal boxes you see are radiation shields for the sensors throughout the space. These were made by cutting and bending sheet metal. 


 Detail of polycarbonate connections to the wall using bolts. Flooring material is click-lock bamboo.



 Polycarbonate piece being removed. The back side of the polycarbonate is lined with weather stripping to prevent air movement. 



 Image of the polycarbonate removed, exposing the interior layer of insulation.



 Insulation removed, exposing the plywood layer. Behind this plywood layer includes u-line channel with insulation between each space, and wooden spacers between the insulation and exterior finish to create an air gap.


 Ceiling with light and sensors.


 Interior door and window corner condition.


Entrance to MDL Mechanical and Lab spaces.


The MDL runs by using a generator. It also has capabilities to attach to equipment similar to camp grounds.


 Removable Wall Section from the exterior.


 Entrance to lab space and interior view of RWS. The RWS is covered with clear polycarbonate so viewers may see how the wall is put together and sensor placement. Note: The sensors are not yet in place in this image.


For more information, leave us a comment below or send us an email!