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Design, Fabrication And Testing A Heat Exchanger As A Student Project

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.171.1 - 4.171.8

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Paper Authors

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M. Mavromihales

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K. Sherwin

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

Session 1613

Design, Fabrication and Testing a Heat Exchanger as a Student Project

K Sherwin, M Mavromihales University of Huddersfield, UK

1. Introduction

This paper describes the design-fabrication-test of a simple heat exchanger as a final year design project for undergraduate engineering students. Design can be defined as the use of imagination, knowledge, experience and judgement to define a particular end project (1). Much of this activity cannot be taught as a body of knowledge, like an engineering science. Students can only learn to design and gain experience by being actively involved. Hence the need to teach design through projects.

It is important that students realise that they are aiming at the definition of an end product. Many undergraduate design projects end up as paper studies. This is inevitable, owing to the constraints on time and finance within the curriculum. Unfortunately, paper studies do not provide students with the feedback on how well their designs work, or whether they will work at all. Therefore, at Huddersfield, a conscious effort is made to include some projects of a design-fabrication-test nature so that students do have direct feedback on the success, or otherwise, of their designs. One such project, used in the first year of the course, was the design of a compressed air engine (2).

Design is open-ended and the present project reflects this by allowing a wide range of geometries. The type of heat exchanger chosen simulates a car radiator in which hot water flows through a staggered bank of tubes and is cooled by a cross-flow of air. Even when the tube geometry is fixed the students must still determine:

exchanger height exchanger width tube pitch number of rows

The educational goals are to provide a challenging iterative design analysis which is combined with a simple form of construction, that can be built in a short space of time and allowing the integration of CAD/CAM into the design project.

When the project was originally started, the final year design course was based on two major group projects and students were allowed two ‘design weeks’ to concentrate solely on each design project without any other formal teaching commitments. The design weeks provided the ideal opportunity for students to concentrate on the construction of their particular heat exchanger. Over the years, constraints on time and teaching meant that design weeks were reduced. With courses now operating within a modular and semester structure, the luxury of design weeks has disappeared completely. Nevertheless, the heat exchanger project still continues with the specification having been modified to take into account the limited time available for construction.

Mavromihales, M., & Sherwin, K. (1999, June), Design, Fabrication And Testing A Heat Exchanger As A Student Project Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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