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Balancing Theory, Simulation, and Physical Experiments in

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Mechanical Engineering Laboratories II

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.275.1 - 22.275.8



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Paper Authors


Anthony William Duva Wentworth Institute of Technology

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Anthony W. Duva has been a faculty member in the Mechanical Engineering and Technology Department at Wentworth Institute of Technology since 2001 with 14 years of prior industrial experience. He has worked with various technologies from advanced underwater propulsion systems to ultra high altitude propulsion for research aircraft. He has also worked with printing systems and automated wafer measurement systems. He currently holds six patents in propulsion and fuel related technologies.

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Ali Moazed Wentworth Institute of Technology


Xiaobin Le Wentworth Institute of Technology

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Assistant Professor Xiaobin Le, Ph.D., P.Eng., specialization in Computer Aided Design, Mechanical Design, Finite Element Analysis, and Fatigue Design and Reliability, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Technology, Wentworth Institute of Technology, Boston, MA 02115, Phone: 617-989-4223, Email:

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Richard L. Roberts Wentworth Institute of Technology

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Associate Professor,
Department of Mechanical Engineering and Technology,
College of Engineering and Technology,
Wentworth Institute of Technology, 550 Huntington Ave.,
Boston, MA 02115

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Balancing Theory, Simulation and Physical Experiments in Heat Transfer EducationAbstract: Some big problems for students studying heat transfer are (1) difficulty in visualizingboth basic and complex theoretical concepts, (2) unsure how to design changes effect heat flowor temperature distributions, (3) unclear how to apply theoretical concepts in the development ofcomponents / systems and (4) confusion with how to extend single point experiments to genericapplications. It is impossible for students to solve complex heat transfer problems throughtheoretical hand calculations or execute real experiments when the boundary conditions arecomplicated because of time and laboratory equipment cost constraints. During the laboratoryexperience, students are guided in the use of SolidWorks/Simulation for conducting virtualexperiments and comparing them to theoretical concepts presented in lecture along with simplephysical measurements in the laboratory. Thru the use of virtual experiments in the SolidWorksenvironment, students have full control of the experiment by having the ability to change virtualboundary conditions and running the virtual experiments as many times as needed until theyunderstand the concepts. The applications of virtual experiments which include geometricsensitivity studies help students to visualize the application of concepts in simulated designapplications. From our direct observations in several classes, students gain a betterunderstanding of both the theoretical concepts and application to design refinement by creatingvirtual components in addition to gaining hands-on experience directly applicable to industrialapplications. With the introduction of true 3D CAD and associated simulation software such asSolidWorks/SolidWorks Simulation, the concept of balancing virtual simulations for comparisonto theory and physical experiments are presented in this paper for effectively teaching heattransfer in a mechanical curriculum.

Duva, A. W., & Moazed, A., & Le, X., & Roberts, R. L. (2011, June), Balancing Theory, Simulation, and Physical Experiments in Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17556

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