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Introduction of Zhejiang University Experimental Research Center of Mechanics

     Following the university motto “Seeking the Truth and Pioneering New Trails” and the education philosophy “Enhance Basis, Focus on Quality, Cultivate Ability, and Encourage Innovation”, Zhejiang University Experimental Research Center of Mechanics has built an experimental teaching platform that plays an exemplary role, with a certain influence in the country.In 1997, Zhejiang University began to set up the Experimental Research Center of Mechanics, which combines the Theoretical Mechanics Lab, Mechanics of Materials Lab, Hydraulics Lab, Hydrodynamics Lab, Solid Mechanics Lab and Structural Mechanics Lab that were founded in the 1950s. The center covers the experimental teaching of the 4 basic mechanics courses including theoretical mechanics, mechanics of materials, hydrodynamics and solid mechanics. Via the cross-faculty construction, it breaks the discipline boundaries of the traditional experimental courses of mechanics, and gradually creates the multi-level experimental teaching course system on the interdisciplinary level.        Since 2002, accompanied with the construction of Zijingang Campus of Zhejiang University, the labs of Experimental Research Center of Mechanics have successively transferred to the new campus. With the concentrated distribution and unified management, the re-integration of experimental teaching resources is achieved.        By taking advantage of the platform of Zhejiang University — National Basic Engineering Courses — Mechanics Teaching Base, the Experimental Research Center of Mechanics has successively obtained the special funds of National "211" projects, "985" Revival Action Plan and the supportive university funds, with a total investment of 10,78 million Yuan. The center now has an area of over 4200 sq.m, the teaching equipments with a total value of 12.80 million Yuan, and more than 440 sets of laboratory equipments, among which over 250 sets are self independently developed, with the intellectual property rights. There are 51 experimental instructional staff members, who deliver 117 experimental projects. Every year the student participation in the experiment reaches up to 5 million hours, involving 6 schools, 21 majors.   1. Establish the New Experimental Teaching System of Basic Mechanics of Research-Oriented University       Zhejiang University Experimental Research Center of Mechanics started its attempts to reform the mechanics experimental teaching course system for undergraduates early at the beginning of reform and openness, and achieved significant effects. In 1993, the “Comprehensive Reform of the Experimental Teaching of Hydraulics and Engineering Hydrodynamics” was awarded the First Prize of National Outstanding Teaching Achievement. In 1997, in the construction of Zhejiang University “National Basic Engineering Courses — Mechanics Teaching Base”, the center began to implement the 21st century-oriented basic mechanics experimental teaching reform. Based on the talent cultivation requirements that attaches equal importance to knowledge, ability, and quality, the center on one hand consolidated and strengthened the basic experiments, on the other hand developed the designed, comprehensive, and researching experiments, forming the basic type – improved type – independent type multi-level experimental course system. Besides, the center has compiled and published two experimental textbooks for universal use, ten self-compiled experimental handouts, and chiefly edited the content of more than thirty sets of teaching CDs. In 2001, the “Construction of Innovative Experimental System of Mechanics of Materials” was awarded the Second Prize of Zhejiang Province Outstanding Teaching Achievement.    2. Develop the New Content of Innovative Experimental Teaching      The development and innovation of teaching experiments are always regarded as the focus of reform carried out by the Experimental Research Center of Mechanics. The center has taken the lead in implementing the innovative mechanics teaching, and successively established the innovative labs of theoretical mechanics, mechanics of materials and hydrodynamics. The theme of the Innovative Lab of Theoretical Mechanics is “Develop Innovative Thinking, Explore Cognitive Law”, and most of the content of lab is from engineering projects, research projects and the “mechanics problems in our life”. It is a fully open lab, which is highly praised by foreign experts, known as the "pioneering work of basic mechanics teaching". In 2001, the “Teaching Reform of Theoretical Mechanics Courses” was awarded the Second Prize of National Outstanding Teaching Achievement.      The center is continuously introducing the high-level research achievements into the experimental teaching, and has developed a batch of innovative experimental projects, such as “Determination of Osteoarticular Biomechanical Parameters”, “Stress and Displacement Monitoring Model for the Construction of Steel Arch Bridge”, “Performance Test of Nano Composites”, “Determination of the Dynamical Variables of Cervical Multi-degree of Freedom”, “Flow Field Current Simulation Experiment of West Lake”, “Design and Experiment of Sand Flushing Cyclone”, and “Experiment of Flow Monitoring and Control”. It newly develops more than forty comprehensive, researching and designed teaching experiments, as well as seventeen virtual simulation experiments. On May 7 of 2005, the Guangming Daily reported the outstanding achievements of Zhejiang University’s innovative experimental teaching of hydrodynamics on the front page. The “Course Construction and Achievement Radiation of Engineering Hydrodynamics” was awarded the Second Prize of National Outstanding Teaching Achievement in 2005.      In order to create a strong innovative atmosphere among undergraduates, the Zhejiang University Experimental Research Center of Mechanics encourages the students to move from the teaching lab to the “second classroom” to actively participate in various discipline competitions; it combines the experimental teaching with research and project practice, sponsored or co-organized several national and Zhejiang "Structural Design Competition for College Students", Zhejiang University "Competition of Innovative Application Design of Engineering Mechanics for College Students" and other teaching practice activities, obtaining excellent results and good response. 3. Experimental Teaching Team that Combines Teaching and Research      Zhejiang University Experimental Research Center of Mechanics lays emphasis on the talent team construction, adopts the experimental teaching staff employment mode that combines the full-time and part-time staffs, fixed and mobile staffs, and has established a center leading group–based layer-by-layer responsible system. It fully plays the guiding role of academicians and senior professors in the construction and planning of the center, attracts a batch of high-level talents and overseas returnees to participate in the construction. In the recent 5 years, in the aspect of scientific research, the center has won one National Natural Science Award, nine scientific research prizes above provincial and ministerial level, published over three hundred research papers, among which one hundred and thirty-seven are cited by SCI and EI, twenty-six patents, ten software copyright licenses, assumed thirty-three national projects, one “973” project, and two "Ninth Five-Year" key projects; in the aspect of teaching research, it has won the two Second Awards of National Outstanding Teaching Achievement, three provincial or ministry level teaching achievement awards, and two provincial renowned teacher awards, published seventy-two research papers about educational reform in the core journals like Research in Higher Education of Engineering, won one National Quality Course, one Zhejiang Quality Course, assumed three provincial or ministry level educational reform projects. A great number of equipments and instruments are independently developed, as well as the innovative experimental projects. An experimental teaching staff team that owns the reasonable structure of titles, academic degrees and ages, holds advanced concepts, dare to innovate has formed.   4. Advanced Experimental Equipments and Modern Experiment Management System      Zhejiang University Experimental Research Center of Mechanics possesses the advanced network-based apparatus sharing platform, open teaching management platform of lab, and advisory navigation system of lab. The software, hardware, and experimental teaching environment all reach the domestic advanced level, providing good conditions for the development of the center.      The center adopts the open experimental teaching management mode. The students can independently choose experiments and time, search the corresponding experiment materials, and prepare the experiment content via the website of the center. The students can complete the experiments under the assistance and guidance of the instructional staffs, and choose flexible forms of assessment.      Zhejiang University Experimental Research Center of Mechanics has independently developed and manufactured several series of experimental teaching equipments and devices with independent intellectual property rights, and the experiments using self-manufactured equipments accounts for 60% of the total number, which greatly improves the experimental teaching conditions. In addition, combined with the disciplinary construction, the center also introduced some advanced testing equipments such as Nano composite testing system, temperature controlled impact testing machine, high-frequency fatigue testing machine, electro hydraulic servo structure dynamic loading system, providing a good platform to aid the experimental teaching, broaden the students’ horizons of discipline, and foster the students’ engineering practical competence. 5. Wide Radiation and Demonstration Effect      Zhejiang University Experimental Research Center of Mechanics has a several years’ history of promoting the self-manufactured experimental teaching equipments. Via the long term teaching research and practice, the developed equipments are proved to have unique design and high practicability, and welcomed by many domestic universities, which makes the radiation network of the center continuously expand, creates good social benefit, and becomes one of the features of the center. So far, the experimental teaching equipments and the experimental teaching software independently developed by the center have been used by over 250 domestic universities, including Tsinghua University, Peking University, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Harbin Institute of Technology, with the total number reaching up to 4000 sets. Every year the center receives the visits of nearly 50 institutes domestically and internationally, and the total clicks of its website in the past four years since its establishment has exceeded 1.18 million. The center not only plays the demonstration role of experimental teaching, but also becomes the radiation center of educational reform achievements.       After over two decades of construction and development, Zhejiang University Experimental Research Center of Mechanics has formed distinct characteristics: (1) through taking the advantages of the discipline and optimizing the resource distribution, the center forms the teaching staff team that combines the experimental teaching and scientific research, and improves the comprehensive strength; (2) the center transforms the research achievements into teaching resource, effectively improves the design, research and innovative qualities of experiments, and forms the new course system of mechanics experimental teaching for research-based university; (3) the center develops a batch of experimental teaching equipments and devices with independent intellectual property rights, and promotes to over 250 domestic universities, playing the good role of demonstration and having the radiation effect on improving the overall level of experimental teaching of basic mechanics.      The staff of the center fully understand the challenges that they are faced with and the responsibilities that they assume, and with the spirit of “Being Enterprising, Seeking the Truth, Acting Pragmatically” and depending on the comprehensive interdisciplinary advantages of Zhejiang University, they keep on the way of deep reform, so as to construct the Experimental Research Center of Mechanics as a research talent cultivation base and a national model of experimental teaching center.