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Comparison Of Differing Credit Hour Allotments For Thermodynamics And Fluid Mechanics Courses

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Conference

2008 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Thermodynamics, Fluids and Heat Transfer - II

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count

19

Page Numbers

13.313.1 - 13.313.19

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/3902

Download Count

28

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Paper Authors

biography

Andrew Gerhart Lawrence Technological University

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Andrew Gerhart is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Lawrence Technological University. He is actively involved in ASEE, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and the Engineering Society of Detroit. He serves as Faculty Advisor for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Student Chapter at LTU and is the Thermal-Fluids Laboratory Coordinator. He serves on the ASME PTC committee on Air-Cooled Condensers.

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Philip Gerhart University of Evansville

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Philip Gerhart is the Dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science and a professor of mechanical and civil engineering at the University of Evansville in Indiana. He is a member of the ASEE Engineering Deans Council. He is a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and serves on their Board on Performance Test Codes. He chairs the PTC committee on Steam Generators and is vice-chair of the committee on Fans.

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Robert Fletcher Lawrence Technological University

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Robert Flecther is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Lawrence Technological University. He serves as the director of the LTU Alternative Energy Program, is establishing an alternative energy lab, and leads the establishment of a full energy engineering program that addresses both alternative and renewable energy systems, as well as energy conservation and optimization of traditional
energy systems. Dr. Fletcher and his student research team conducts fuel cell research for the U.S. Army and supports DTE Energy in the operation and optimization of their Hydrogen Power Park in Southfield, MI, a photovoltaic, biomass, water electrolysis, hydrogen storage,
hydrogen vehicle fueling station and fuel cell power demonstration project, funded by the Department of Energy.

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

Comparison of Differing Credit Hour Allotments for Thermodynamics and Fluid Mechanics Courses Abstract

Each institution determines how many credit hours will be allotted for each course. Thermodynamics and fluid mechanics in an undergraduate Bachelor of Science Mechanical Engineering curriculum in the United States typically are allotted three or four credit hours. For a semester system, this allows for 42-45 or 56-60 fifty-minute class sessions in three and four credit hour courses, respectively.

Opinions vary whether thermodynamics and fluid mechanics should each be three credit hours, each be four credit hours, or one should be three and the other four. Two universities have conducted a study to determine the advantages, disadvantages, and consequences of three vs. four credit hours. One university has a four credit hour thermodynamics and a three credit hour fluid mechanics, while the other university has exactly the opposite. Through student surveys, course objectives/outcomes, course syllabi, instructors’ experiences, and average grades, conclusions are drawn on the effects of course length. Other issues are examined such as challenges facing instructors who have previously taught a four credit hour course that now must cover the same material within a three credit hour allotment. Finally recommendations are given for instructors that are allotted less than desirable credit hours.

1. Introduction

Each undergraduate Bachelor of Science Mechanical Engineering program in the United States is free to determine how many credit hours are allotted for each course in the curriculum. Some institutions operate with semesters, others with quarters and still others with trimesters. For any one of these systems, some mechanical engineering (ME) curricula require two thermodynamics courses while others require only one. Most ME curricula only require one fluid mechanics course. This paper is applicable for institutions that operate on the semester system with ME programs that require only one thermodynamics course and one fluid mechanics course. For these programs thermodynamics and fluid mechanics are typically allotted three or four credit hours. Since a typical semester is 14-15 weeks, three credit hours allows for approximately 42- 45 fifty-minute class sessions, and four credit hours allows for approximately 56-60 fifty-minute class sessions.

Opinions vary whether thermodynamics and fluid mechanics should each be three credit hours, each be four credit hours, or one should be three and the other four. Mechanical engineering faculty at Lawrence Technological University (LTU) in Southfield, Michigan and at the University of Evansville (UE), Indiana have conducted a study to determine the advantages, disadvantages, and consequences of three vs. four credit hours. UE has a four credit hour thermodynamics course and a three credit hour fluid mechanics course, while LTU has exactly the opposite. This paper will draw conclusions as to the recommended course length for thermodynamics and fluid mechanics through various comparisons. First, course objectives/outcomes will be compared. Next, course content and number of classroom hours spent on each topic will be compared. Student surveys were administered and the opinions and

Gerhart, A., & Gerhart, P., & Fletcher, R. (2008, June), Comparison Of Differing Credit Hour Allotments For Thermodynamics And Fluid Mechanics Courses Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. https://peer.asee.org/3902

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