June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
June 19, 2019
Experimentation and Laboratory-Oriented Studies
Commercially available laboratory equipment is often expensive, may have long acquisition times, and often serves a narrow or single purpose. In order to enrich the student learning experience with hands-on experiments, as opposed to computer based simulations and virtual experiments, engineering programs often dedicate considerable resources to obtain or modernize laboratory equipment. There are competing resources from budget administrators and lab space managers while constantly trying to provide the best learning environment for the students. Typical refrigeration training systems can cost well over $10,000 and require significant lab space. In this paper, a simple, low-cost, and portable refrigeration exercise for undergraduate thermal/fluids laboratories is presented. The purpose of the refrigeration apparatus is to elucidate thermodynamic processes and make connections to real-life systems which are essential to understanding the basic concepts of thermodynamics, such as the first and second laws of thermodynamics. This paper presents the concept and the design for an inexpensive experimental kit that makes the dynamic study of thermodynamic processes more accessible to undergraduate mechanical engineer students. The proposed laboratory device requires easy modification of inexpensive, commercially available consumer equipment. A portable icemaker, digital multimeter, and thermocouples are the only required equipment. Students are supplied with the multimeter and thermocouples and tasked to measure the temperature between all four components of a simple vapor compression system. They are required to use refrigeration tables to determine parameters such as coefficient of performance or refrigeration capacity. It allows the students to connect the theoretical equations and look-up tables used to model a process and the true performance observed experimentally. The hands-on nature provides a link between the mathematical representation and the physical experiment to increase student understanding. The total system costs less than $300, and the equipment can easily be stored from year to year. Sample lab data, analysis, and questions are provided for the interested reader. Lab exercise objectives are mapped to ABET student outcomes as well.
Howison, J., & Rabb, R. J., & Bierman, E. K., & Washuta, N. J. (2019, June), A Simple, Economic Refrigeration Lab for Thermal/Fluids Courses Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. https://peer.asee.org/31995
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