Asee peer logo

BYOE: A Desktop Apparatus for Demonstrating Convective Heat Transfer

Download Paper |


2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies: BYOE Session

Tagged Division

Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies

Tagged Topic


Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Gerald W. Recktenwald Portland State University

visit author page

Gerald Recktenwald is an Associate Professor in the Mechanical and Materials Engineering Department at Portland State University. His current research interests are in improving engineering education, and in the numerical simulation and measurement of fluid flow heat transfer in electronic equipment, energy efficient buildings, and other industrial applications.

visit author page

Download Paper |


We describe a low-cost, desktop-scale apparatus to demonstrate forced convection heat transfer. The device is designed to be useful at different levels of the undergraduate engineering curriculum. Using manual controls, students in an introductory heat transfer class can perform measurements to help them learn about convection and heat transfer coefficients. Both the power input and fan speed are controlled with PWM signals from an Arduino. Temperature measurements are performed with a thermocouple signal conditioning board that sends the temperature readings as a digital values to the Arduino. The device is simple to operate so that no detailed knowledge of data acquisition, electrical power control or fan speed control is required. Students in an instrumentation or controls course could use the USB interface to the Arduino to collect data and/or reprogram the Arduino to perform feedback control.

Six of the devices with varying sized heat sinks were used in a trial homework assignment in an undergraduate heat transfer course with 75 students in Spring 2015 and in another section of the same course with 57 students in Winter 2016. At this point, we have no quantitative assessment data.

Recktenwald, G. W. (2016, June), BYOE: A Desktop Apparatus for Demonstrating Convective Heat Transfer Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26420

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2016 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015