Asee peer logo

Critical Role of Computer Simulations in Teaching and Evaluating Thermal and Energy System Courses

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

Automation, Instrumentation, and Computer Simulations

Tagged Division

Energy Conversion and Conservation

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Kendrick T. Aung Lamar University

visit author page

KENDRICK AUNG is a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Lamar University. He received his Ph.D. degree in Aerospace Engineering from University of Michigan in 1996. He is an active member of ASEE, ASME, AIAA and SAE. He has published over 80 technical papers and presented several papers at national and international conferences.

visit author page


Jiang Zhou Lamar University

visit author page

Dr. Jiang Zhou is currently a professor with the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Lamar University, Beaumont, Texas. She received her Ph. D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maryland at Baltimore County (UMBC), Baltimore, Maryland, in 2003. Her research interests include mechanical applications in microelectronics, biomechanics, system dynamics, and system optimizations, etc.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Modeling and simulation exercises are an important component of engineering education. In thermal and energy system courses, design of a heat exchanger or solution of a piping network are common exercises assigned to the students as open-ended projects or design problems. However, the majority of these types of exercises are still limited to obtaining a satisfactory solution. The main benefit of simulation exercises for engineering students lies in numerical experimentation of the model that can determine an operational envelope of components such as a heat exchanger or systems such as a gas turbine.

The objective of the paper is to evaluate effectiveness and efficacy of modeling and simulations projects that are being used in two courses: Design of Thermal Systems and Energy Engineering, Design of Thermal Systems course is a required course for seniors whereas Energy Engineering course is an elective course for senior students. In Design of Thermal Systems course, two simulation projects, one on piping systems and another on power systems such as a land-based gas turbine system or an IC engine of an automobile, are used for this paper. In Energy Engineering course, a simulation project of renewable energy systems such as solar PV systems and wind farms is used for evaluation purpose. The criteria for evaluation is based on the performance indicators of student learning outcomes, outcome (c) an ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability and outcome (e) an ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems, that are being used in ABET accreditation of the department. Both direct method of assessment, performance indicators for student learning outcomes, and an indirect method of assessment, student survey, are used to determine effectiveness and efficacy of modeling and simulations projects.

Aung, K. T., & Zhou, J. (2016, June), Critical Role of Computer Simulations in Teaching and Evaluating Thermal and Energy System Courses Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26600

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