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Creation of an Undergraduate Engineering Laboratory with Minimal Funding

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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

Using Laboratories for Instruction in Mechanical Engineering

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

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Paper Authors


Amanie N. Abdelmessih California Baptist University Orcid 16x16

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Before joining California Baptist University fall 2013, Dr. Abdelmessih taught in several universities, starting with Northrop University at the beginning of her career, and spent the last 16 years at Saint Martin’s University, where she was the director of the Thermal Engineering Laboratory, which she founded and developed. She led the efforts to start the Master of Mechanical Engineering program, which started fall 2012 at Saint Martin’s University. She developed and taught these courses: Thermal Design of Heat Exchangers; Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning; Energy Systems; Computational Heat Transfer & Thermal Modeling; Heat Transfer in Electronics and Micro-electronic Packaging; Solar Thermal Engineering; and Heat Transfer and laboratory. She also enjoyed teaching Thermodynamics I, II.
In addition to her teaching experience Dr. Abdelmessih worked several years in industry. She performed research at NASA Dryden and Marshall Space Flight Research Centers, Argonne National Laboratory, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, receiving five certificates of recognition for her research contributions at NASA. She received the 2001 Outstanding Faculty Award from the Monks of Saint Martin’s Abbey, the 2005 Academic Engineer of the Year from Puget Sound Engineering Council, Washington State, and the 2009 Distinguished Engineering Educator from the National Society of Women Engineers.
Dr. Abdelmessih is a member of ASME, AIChE, ASHRAE, SWE, and ASEE; and several honor societies: the Society of Fellows, Omega Chi Epsilon, and Pi Tau Sigma. She is nationally and internationally active with ASME, she served numerous times as track organizer for the K-16 Heat Transfer in Electronic Equipment, at the Heat Transfer Conferences, and chaired numerous sessions during conferences. She reviews numerous articles for refereed Journals and Conferences. Dr. Abdelmessih’s areas of research are mixed convection, conduction, heat exchangers, high temperature calibrations, drying in the paper industry, and absorption refrigeration. She has over 40 publications.

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Founding of new engineering laboratories requires large funding. Small liberal arts teaching universities, usually have limited funds particularly for engineering programs. This article details how a thermal engineering faculty member founded and developed a thermal engineering laboratory, in a small liberal arts university. Over the years the faculty member used the students’ laboratory fees that varied from $300 to less than $1000 a year for small projects involving undergraduate students. Also, that faculty wrote and acquired numerous micro grants for equipment, instruments, and software. These micro grants ranged from $500 to $25,000. Creative methods were used to create unique hands-on learning opportunities for undergraduate mechanical engineering students. The undergraduate senior students designed, manufactured, assembled, and built unique thermal engineering experiments, with instruction and advising from the author. These activities met numerous of ABET criteria for accrediting undergraduate engineering programs. The projects that were designed and built by the senior mechanical engineering students were used in educating the following cohorts of mechanical engineering students. Many of these thermal projects were published in refereed journals and conferences. The undergraduate students who were involved in these projects ended up being co-authors for the work they were involved with. The total number of publications involving undergraduate students so far is eight refereed articles published in refereed journals and refereed conferences. In addition undergraduate students were co-authors in a poster session. This article details the projects, and the progress of developing the laboratory over sixteen years. Also, the author discusses the environment and settings that help creative development and founding a laboratory, with limited budget, in small universities.

Abdelmessih, A. N. (2016, June), Creation of an Undergraduate Engineering Laboratory with Minimal Funding Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26592

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