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A Thermal Fluid Science Course For Ee And Ce Students

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

TIME 3: Thermal Systems

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.116.1 - 9.116.11



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Paper Authors

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Robert Choate

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

Session 2266

A Thermal-Fluid Science Course for EE and CE Students

Robert E. Choate Department of Engineering Western Kentucky University


Mechanical Engineering (ME) faculty members are often called upon to teach service courses to non-ME majors. In courses such as statics and strength of materials, existing ME courses work well to satisfy student needs from other departments. However, the traditional ME thermal-fluid science courses are often not a good match for the non-major. Special courses are then used to present the material to these students.

This paper documents the creation of such a hybrid Thermal-Fluid Sciences course at Western Kentucky University (WKU) that has been developed to satisfy the needs of Civil (CE) and Electrical (EE) Engineering students. The four-hour course offered each fall presents a blend of thermodynamics, heat transfer, and fluid mechanics.

The course has been offered twice, and is still evolving. The paper also presents some of the struggles to balance a solid engineering science experience with a perceived need for coverage for the FE exam materials only. In addition, lessons learned with respect to various student- learning styles in the course are shared. The results of faculty self-assessment and student course assessment are presented and compared.

1. Introduction

In the traditional ME curriculum, the study of thermal fluid sciences is categorized into three major subject areas: thermodynamics, heat transfer and fluid mechanics, where they are commonly taught as four separate three credit hour courses over three or more semesters. This approach is administratively convenient but not necessarily pedagogically effective since it creates the false impression among the students that the design of a thermal system is simply a combination of these loosely related disciplines and requires student integration of these difficult subjects. To address these issues, the integration of the traditional thermal fluid sciences curriculum has been implemented at numerous institutions and discussed in the literature.1,2 This integration typically consolidates the traditional topic-specific courses into a two course sequences each consisting of four credit hours, often representing a reduction of credit hours in the curriculum. More importantly, it provides vertical integration of the thermal fluid sciences curriculum so the student does not receive these experiences as loosely related topics. Thermal

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Choate, R. (2004, June), A Thermal Fluid Science Course For Ee And Ce Students Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13498

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