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Development Of A Tutorial Software To Serve As A Teaching Aid For Power And Refrigeration Cycles

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.206.1 - 3.206.8

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Paper Authors

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Muhammad M. Rahman

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Antonio J. Bula

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

Session 2520

Development of a Tutorial Software to Serve as a Teaching Aid for Power and Refrigeration Cycles

Muhammad M. Rahman and Antonio J. Bula Department of Mechanical Engineering University of South Florida 4202 E. Fowler Avenue, ENB 118 Tampa, Florida 33620-5350

ABSTRACT The paper presents the development and application of a computer based tutorial software to aid instruction and improve problem solving skills in undergraduate “Thermal Systems and Economics” course offered by the Department of Mechanical Engineering. This course is a required design course in the Mechanical Engineering curriculum and an approved technical elective in the Chemical Engineering curriculum. It is offered during both fall and spring semesters with a class size of about 40 students. The expert tutor serves as a concise data base for key concepts learned in the course, and houses property tables and basic equations to interactively solve problems. The benefits of using this computer based instructional aid include: enhanced use of multimedia course materials, more creative thinking exercises for students, reduced time to master new concepts, and coverage of more materials in the course. The application of computer technology to facilitate interactive learning greatly enhances the instruction process. The concept of an expert tutor can be extended virtually to any engineering or science course at the undergraduate level.

INTRODUCTION Thermodynamics is a core course in engineering curriculum throughout the nation. All engineering students are required to take the Basic Thermodynamics (usually known as Thermodynamics I) irrespective of their major discipline. Students majoring in Mechanical Engineering are required to take the Applied Thermodynamics (usually known as Thermodynamics II or Thermal Systems) where they apply the principles of thermodynamics to design power plants, reciprocating internal combustion engines, gas turbines and aircraft engines, and refrigeration and air-conditioning machinery. The design exercises usually require repeated calculations using properties of the working fluid (or fluids). The fluid properties are usually provided in a tabulated form and listed as a function of temperature and pressure. Equations correlating the properties are available only for simple substances such as an ideal gas. Calculation of fluid properties for different thermodynamic states usually sum up to a major portion of time needed to solve any problem. Hand calculations are tedious because of interpolation of tabulated data. Therefore, there is a great need for a computer-based property data bank where once a thermodynamic state has been defined by two independent properties, all remaining properties of the state can be readily obtained. In addition, if a student can set up a problem interactively in the computer and can execute the solution steps in an interactive fashion without tedious hand calculations, that definitely increases productivity on the part of the student as well as the instructor.

Rahman, M. M., & Bula, A. J. (1998, June), Development Of A Tutorial Software To Serve As A Teaching Aid For Power And Refrigeration Cycles Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington.

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