Asee peer logo

A Laboratory Experience With Thermal Gradients

Download Paper |


2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.60.1 - 8.60.13



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Daniel Walsh

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session __1526___ A Laboratory Experience with Thermal Gradients

Daniel W. Walsh, Ph. D., College of Engineering, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

Abstract An understanding of the behavior of materials at elevated temperatures is a critical component of the education of engineers. Engineers of most disciplines will encounter elevated temperature environments in either the performance aspects of systems they employ and deliver or in the processing of components of systems they are attempting to produce. Sadly, few laboratory experiences that treat elevated temperature behaviors are available, fewer yet really treat the thermal gradients present in these environments or their inherently dynamic nature. This paper describes the development and implementation of a laboratory experience to improve undergraduate students understanding of complex issues related to mechanical behavior in the presence of thermal gradients. Laboratory procedure for the experiment is described in detail.

The laboratory allows students to observe changes in the mechanical properties of materials as a function of temperature, thermal gradient and strain rate. Those rare experiences with materials at high temperatures previously available to students typically stress the need for uniform temperatures throughout test samples. This obfuscates critical information, as there are few, if any, processes or applications operating at elevated temperatures where thermal gradients are absent. Students are able to observe materials in the dynamic and non-equilibrium environments encountered in actual service and processing conditions, rather than in the equilibrium or otherwise artificial contexts discussed in the classroom or specially created in the laboratory. The laboratory discussed presents theory and application in a linked fashion. The paper discusses the exceptionally positive impact that this immediacy has an on student learning.

I. Introduction Structured educational laboratories are a key component in student learning, and underpin subsequent independent project based learning. Laboratories, are expensive, but are an efficient vehicle to accomplish student learning. They are refreshing for many students, a welcome counterpoint to lecture as they provide the challenge as they teach their lesson, rather than in a deferred quiz. Laboratories allow students to demonstrate outcomes mandated by ABET’s Engineering Criteria 2000. In well conceived laboratories students demonstrate an ability to: 1. Apply the tools of modern engineering and science to solve relevant problems. 2. Implement appropriate experimental procedures. 3. Handle data, draw and articulate conclusions. 4. Make “Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education”

Walsh, D. (2003, June), A Laboratory Experience With Thermal Gradients Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11659

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2003 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015