The objective of the Virtual Centrifugal Pump Lab or VCPL, is to familiarize students of pump maintenance related fields with some of the main concepts related to pump maintenance and operation. This course serves as a learning aid for pump maintenance and operation lecture and lab instruction. It will allow students to more quickly master the skills that are required to effectively operate and maintain pumps. And it will significantly reduce the cost and increase the accessibility and safety of centrifugal pump training.


The key elements of the VCPL system are:

  • Textured 3D photo-realistic virtual models of the pump and pump components.
  • Hierarchical knowledge-base for pump maintenance and inspection training.
  • Unstructured knowledge-base for lecture delivery.
  • Testing capability, with questions that may include multiple-choice, fill-in the blanks, check-boxes, and drag-and-drop.
  • Natural-language human-like intelligent virtual tutors. The tutors are lip and gesture synched. They can also answer the user's questions by searching the lecture knowledge-base.
  • Web-based framework. The VCPL runs inside a web browser. The VCPL uses the IVRESS (Integrated Virtual Reality Environment for Synthesis and Simulation) player and the LEA (Learning Environment Agent) engine. The interface consists of four windows: an instruction media window, a speech window, a hierarchical lecture outline window, and a hierarchical list of voice commands window. All the windows can be moved and resized to suit the user's preferences.

The VCPL fulfills the following education, training and research functions in a safe self-paced environment:

  • Education functions: Lecture Delivery: The VCPL includes a multimedia course on centrifugal pump operation theory, maintenance, and inspection.
  • Training functions: Hands-on training on pump maintenance and inspection (under development)


Minimum hardware: Pentium-4 2 GHz or Pentium-M 1.5 Ghz (or equivalent AMD processor); 512KB RAM; DVD drive or 4 GB free hard-disk space; and Nvidia GeForce (or equivalent) graphics card. Our software runs on most PC laptops (that are 1-2 years old) and most PC desktops (2-3 years old).

Software: Windows Vista/XP/2000 and Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 or 7.


The VCPL is a collaborative project with Virginia College Workforce Alliance and The project is funded by the Virginia Community College Workforce Alliance.