Asee peer logo

A Mathcad Application For Teaching Energy Economics And Efficiency In Undergraduate Electric Machines Courses

Download Paper |


2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Novel Applications of Computers/Software in Energy Education

Tagged Division

Energy Conversion and Conservation

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.61.1 - 12.61.9



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Carl Spezia Southern Illinois University-Carbondale

visit author page

Carl J. Spezia received his Ph.D. degree in Engineering Science from Southern Illinois University Carbondale in 2002. From 1980 to 1988, he was a power system planning, protection, and control engineer in the utility industry. He is presently an assistant professor in Electrical Engineering Technology at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

visit author page

Download Paper |

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

A Mathcad Application for Teaching Energy Economics and Efficiency in Undergraduate Electric Machines Courses


A novel use of Mathcad designed for undergraduate electric machines courses bridges existing knowledge and skill gaps in the study of engineering economics and energy efficiency. Combining economics, efficiency and machine theory with detailed computer-based examples prepares students for employment where these principles must be applied to make design decisions. Mathcad supports custom designed documents called electronic handbooks that explain complex topics and provide reusable computational templates. This work uses Mathcad electronic handbook tutorial format to present economic and machine theory for finding the life- cycle costs of induction motors driving general industrial loads. The developed material provides the basis for a design project that includes technical and economic aspects.

I. Introduction

Generally, engineering economics topics have been de-emphasized in engineering programs and replaced with other material. Some electrical engineering programs have eliminated the requirement for engineering economics in favor of other discipline-specific courses. While the trend is to eliminate this material, a need continues to exist for economic decision making in electric power conversion courses as well as other areas of engineering.1

Deregulation of electric utilities introduced significant energy price volatility especially for industrial users. Electric machine efficiency and energy costs are a significant component of an industrial consumer’s operating expenses. The lifetime of electric machines is long. Incorrectly specified machines are inefficient, costly to own, and unprofitable.

Combining motor theory and engineering economics provides students with the necessary tools and relevant context for learning these topics. Emphasizing the efficiency-load relationship promotes the proper motor sizing and industrial energy conservation. Introducing typical electric rate structures and computing power costs connects machine theory with current energy policies. Including machine reliability, energy costs, and system power losses gives students a systems view of economic decision-making, a valuable asset in industrial practice.

This paper proposes to supplement currently available material with an electronic book, written using Mathcad software, that introduces three-phase induction motor theory, demonstrates how efficiency relates to machine load, and reviews engineering economic principles. Electric rate structures are discussed, and finally, a life cycle cost analysis is conducted comparing two alternative machines.

Spezia, C. (2007, June), A Mathcad Application For Teaching Energy Economics And Efficiency In Undergraduate Electric Machines Courses Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1720

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: © 2007 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