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A Simple, Economic Refrigeration Lab for Thermal/Fluids Courses

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Conference

2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Experimentation and Laboratory-Oriented Studies Division Technical Session 4

Tagged Division

Experimentation and Laboratory-Oriented Studies

Page Count

9

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/31995

Download Count

11

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Paper Authors

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Jason Howison The Citadel

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Jason Howison is an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at The Citadel. His research areas include computational fluid dynamics, wind turbine aeroelasticity, and engineering education.

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Robert J. Rabb P.E. The Citadel

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Robert Rabb is an associate professor and the Mechanical Engineering Program Director at The Citadel. He previously taught mechanical engineering at the United States Military Academy at West Point. He received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the United States Military Academy and his M.S.E. and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. His research and teaching interests are in mechatronics, regenerative power, and multidisciplinary engineering.

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Emily Kate Bierman The Citadel

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Dr. Emily Book is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at The Citadel. She received her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University, her M.B.A. from Clarke College, her M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from University of Wisconsin, and her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from North Carolina State University. Her research and interests’ areas include high pressure combustion, internal combustion engines, and engineering education.

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Nathan John Washuta The Citadel Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-4575-0564

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Dr. Nathan Washuta is an Instructor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at The Citadel in Charleston, SC. He received both his B.S. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Maryland – College Park. His primary research interests include Hydrodynamics, Free Surface Flows, and Experimental Methods.

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Abstract

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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