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Development Of A Slow Speed Engine For Educational Purposes

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.451.1 - 10.451.10



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Paper Authors

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Timothy Cooley

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Terrence O'Connor

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

Session 1526

Development of a Slow-Speed Engine For Educational Purposes Tim Cooley, Terry O’Connor Purdue University, College of Technology at New Albany

Introduction This paper presents accomplishments resulting from the National Science Foundation’s support of project DUE-0231299; Educational Materials Development for Enhanced Understanding of Thermodynamics Concepts.

Thermodynamics is not an easy topic for students to learn. Likewise, inexpensive and easy-to- use equipment demonstrating its principles is not readily available for classroom use. In an attempt to improve this situation, the authors developed a slow-speed engine system suitable for classroom use that can demonstrate and measure several parameters important to an engine’s operation, and therefore the underlying thermodynamics that govern them. This system utilizes a highly modified 5hp, overhead valve, 4-stroke engine operating on propane. By operating at 30 rpm this system can continuously measure and display in real-time combustion gas and exhaust temperatures, cylinder and intake manifold pressures, crankshaft torque, and spark timing using low-cost commercial sensors and data acquisition equipment in any classroom environment, without expensive and sophisticated auxiliary equipment or facilities.

After development of the above system the authors designed lecture-style laboratory exercises for a range of high school and college student classes in order to assess its ability to improve learning of fundamental thermodynamics over current approaches to which the students had previously been exposed.

This paper discusses the most important design modifications required for proper functionality of this slow-speed engine system, the data it generated during testing, laboratory exercises that were developed to test its impact on student learning, and the results obtained from these assessments.

Design The system began as a commercially available 5 horsepower Kohler engine with a horizontal crankshaft and overhead valves. From this starting point the final design would have; a self- contained propane-based fuel delivery system for safe, controllable, classroom operation; a ½ horsepower induction motor to insure a constant 30 rpm output speed regardless of the direction and magnitude of power flow; and real-time measurement, display, and storage of all important variables. These features were all contained within a 30” by 17” by 14” envelope weighing approximately 100 pounds, allowing the system to be safely operated in any typical classroom1.

Three major modifications were required in order to operate at 30 rpm; the piston sealing system, the carburetion system, and the spark system. In each case the original system could not be modified to achieve the required performance.

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society of Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society of Engineering Education

Cooley, T., & O'Connor, T. (2005, June), Development Of A Slow Speed Engine For Educational Purposes Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15397

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