June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
Computers in Education
15.146.1 - 15.146.12
An Efficient Way to Increase the Engineering Student’s Fundamental Understanding of Thermodynamics by Utilizing Interactive Web Based Animation Software Animation software for an introductory Thermodynamics course has been developed, which is intended to be part of the WileyPLUS platform (John Wiley and Sons, Inc.). This interactive software is unique because each animation is directly linked to a homework problem and no programming is required of the user. The animations are web- based (hard-coded in Adobe® Flash Action Script), so no external computer programs are needed.
This software is visually similar to web-based Dynamics software, which has been developed by the principal author of this publication. The Dynamics software has been explained and assessed in several previous ASEE conference proceedings and journal articles.
In this paper, the software functionality will be detailed. The results of student surveys will be analyzed and the pedagogical advantages will be evaluated.
In typical Thermodynamics courses, most homework problems require the student to solve for a specific entity, which may be a property (temperature, pressure, specific volume, etc.), energy (heat transfer or work), efficiency, etc. The professor typically assigns a set of homework problems and the students solve each problem by hand. The student knows that his or her calculations are correct by checking answers in the back of the book.
Thermodynamics problems are often time-based. For instance, a student may be asked to solve for the work and/or heat transfer of a process that begins at known state #1 and ends at known state #2. In reality, though, the work and heat transfer vary with time as the system moves from state #1 to state #2. This dynamic nature of many Thermodynamics problems is probably lost in the traditional classroom. It is the authors’ opinion that computer animations are necessary in order for the students to fully understand the transient nature of the subject of Thermodynamics.
Numerous commercial thermodynamics packages are available, many of which may be found at the website “Process Register”1. Most of these packages are used as standalone applications and are not developed specifically for educational purposes. For educational purposes, several animation programs have been developed in the recent past2,3,4,5,6. While these programs provide animations and have useful tools, the animations are not directly linked directly to homework problems of texts.
Several papers have been published by the principal author in the past, which describe web-based animations software for Dynamics7,8,9,10,11,12. The same “look and feel” has
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