The mechanical engineering faculty at the United States Military Academy recently implemented an integrated, two-course thermal-fluid systems sequence that presents fundamental thermodynamics and fluid mechanics topics. Instructors introduce students to these topics by exploring operational aspects of five complex systems: a helicopter, a power plant, a total air-conditioning system, an automotive system, and a high performance aircraft. Additionally, both courses incorporate laboratories, demonstrations and hands-on educational aids, design projects, and self-learning opportunities to reinforce understanding of fundamental concepts. Results from the first year the sequence was taught indicate students prefer learning topics from a global perspective and integrating thermodynamics and fluid mechanics topics reinforces student learning and retention of fundamental concepts. Challenges to teaching an integrated thermal-fluid systems sequence include lack of availability of textbooks that present thermodynamics and fluid mechanics topics in a truly integrated manner and establishing equivalency of courses within the integrated sequence with courses taught at other universities for those students on semester exchange programs.
- Mechanical Engineering Education, Mechanical Engineering Technology Department Heads
Teaching the Fundamentals of Thermodynamics and Fluid Mechanics Through an Integrated Systems Approach
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Boettner, DD, Norberg, SA, Melnyk, RV, Highley, JL, Rounds, MJ, & Arnas, AO. "Teaching the Fundamentals of Thermodynamics and Fluid Mechanics Through an Integrated Systems Approach." Proceedings of the ASME 2006 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition. Innovations in Engineering Education: Mechanical Engineering Education, Mechanical Engineering Technology Department Heads. Chicago, Illinois, USA. November 5–10, 2006. pp. 81-89. ASME. https://doi.org/10.1115/IMECE2006-13815
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