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Adapting The Mit Stirling Engine Project At The University Of Idaho, A Land Grant Institution

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Conference

2002 Annual Conference

Location

Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Use of Labs to Introduce Students to Engr.

Page Count

13

Page Numbers

7.147.1 - 7.147.13

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/10180

Download Count

421

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Paper Authors

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Nathaniel Allen

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Mike Klein

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Matthew Cunnington

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Levi Westra

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Ronald Smelser

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Edwin Odom

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

Main Menu Session 2426

ADAPTING THE MIT STIRLING ENGINE PROJECT AT THE UNIVERSITY OF IDAHO, A LAND GRANT INSTITUTION

Nathaniel B. Allen, J. Matthew Cunnington, Levi J. Westra, Michael K. Klein, Edwin M. Odom, and R. E. Smelser

University of Idaho Mechanical Engineering Moscow, ID 83844-0902

Abstract

Retention of students after completion of the sophomore year in Mechanical Engineering is a problem. Students who remain often display low enthusiasm which is evident in class and on school work. Our goal is to introduce an engineering project in the sophomore year that generates a high level of student interest and aids student retention. To address similar issues, MIT includes the assembly and analysis of a Stirling engine by their sophomore students. Our challenge is to adapt the MIT Stirling engine project into the curriculum of a land grant university with a different fee structure. The Idaho Engineering Works, a group of mechanical engineering graduate students, modified the MIT Stirling engine to allow fabrication in the department machine shop. We introduced the fabrication and assembly project into the Sophomore Laboratory course and designed new laboratory exercises around the Stirling engine. The first iteration of the Stirling engine project was in the spring of 2001. Student response was very positive.

Introduction

The Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Idaho is similar to other departments in seeking ways to improve recruitment and retention as well as ideas that improve the educational experience for our students. The premier issue of “Mechanical Engineering Design” magazine included an article that described how MIT students fabricate and assemble a miniature Stirling engine.1 The article reviewed the educational objectives of the project. These included assembly, designed in tolerances, concepts of power and energy transfer, analysis of engine power output, and efficiency. Additionally, we reviewed nearly 300 student-developed web pages on the project.2 Our conclusion was that this project captured the interest and imagination of the MIT students.

We decided to incorporate a similar experience into our curriculum. Figure 1 shows the present UI Stirling engine design and Figure 2 displays a labeled cut-away solid model. The critical dimensions of our design are equivalent to the MIT design. However, we made changes based on material availability, manufacturability, and improved aesthetics.

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Allen, N., & Klein, M., & Cunnington, M., & Westra, L., & Smelser, R., & Odom, E. (2002, June), Adapting The Mit Stirling Engine Project At The University Of Idaho, A Land Grant Institution Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. https://peer.asee.org/10180

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