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An Inductive Approach To Teaching Heat And Mass Transfer

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.93.1 - 5.93.11



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Paper Authors

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Robert P. Hesketh

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Stephanie Farrell

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

Session 2213


Stephanie Farrell and Robert P. Hesketh Chemical Engineering Department Rowan University 201 Mullica Hill Road Glassboro, New Jersey 08028-1701

2000 ASEE Annual Conference Session 2213 ChE Instruction in the Future


This paper presents a method to teach heat and mass transfer courses that will appeal to the inductive learner. A deductive learner prefers to proceed from general to specific, while an inductive learner prefers to proceed from specific to general. Studies have shown that induction promotes deeper learning and results in longer retention of the information to students. Induction, in many cases, is also the method in which the original material was discovered! This style of teaching is relatively rare in engineering courses and is almost non-existent in textbooks.

Instructors can teach inductively by presenting familiar phenomena, practical issues, or experimental observations before presenting a general principle. Surprisingly, most textbooks still use an exclusively deductive approach, proceeding from first principles and governing equations to specific applications. Since there are relatively few textbooks that are written using an inductive approach; this makes implementation of the inductive method a challenge. Another challenge is that students typically will not have a wide range of experience or intuition needed to begin the inductive process. A simple laboratory experiment or demonstration will provide the foundation (observations or data) from which the inductive process is initiated.

We have integrated inductive learning into our coverage of heat transfer and mass transfer. In heat transfer, for example, simple heat exchanger design is the first topic addressed in the course. Discussion of the significance of the overall heat transfer coefficient provides a meaningful framework for introduction of topics such as conduction and convection, which are introduced later in the course.

In mass transfer, presented in the context of a transport phenomena course, students start with the design of a gas absorption tower. They are shown both laboratory equipment and pictures of industrial towers used to remove an impurity from a gas stream. If possible, they perform experiments on a laboratory gas absorption tower and observe the gas and liquid flowing

Hesketh, R. P., & Farrell, S. (2000, June), An Inductive Approach To Teaching Heat And Mass Transfer Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8449

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