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Development Of Electric Machine Live Computational Modules For Classroom Use

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Computer Applications in Energy Courses

Tagged Division

Energy Conversion and Conservation

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.429.1 - 13.429.10



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Paper Authors

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Clayton Hochstrasser The Ohio State Univ.

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Joseph Werner The Ohio State Univ.

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Donald Kasten Ohio State University

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

Development of Electric Machine Live Computational Modules for Classroom Use


Live computational and graphical capability in engineering lecture classes can provide an effective tool to illustrate cause-and-effect relationships. The computational process must not over-shadow the concept to be illustrated, but must provide an easy means to clearly demonstrate results of the calculations. Visual Basic was used to develop calculation modules that would be very portable within the current classroom IT capabilities. The course that was used as the foundation for this development was an undergraduate course in electric machines and power systems. This paper will discuss the rationale motivating the effort, illustrate the capabilities of the software and report on the response of the students to the use of this as a teaching tool.


Many times in the electrical engineering lecture classes, the derivation of equations and subsequent use of these derived equations to illustrate cause-and-effect relationships are somewhat limited in the class-room environment due to the calculation overhead. For example, in the power systems area of electrical engineering, consider the per phase equivalent circuit of a three-phase induction machine. Having developed the equivalent circuit, it is rather mathematically tedious to determine the effect on the input quantities (e.g., current and power) as a function of motor speed or horse-power loading. Certainly simplifications can be made to expedite the calculations; however in some cases these simplifications may limit the realism of the result. By developing some digital interactive modules, these kinds of cause-and-effect relationships can be demonstrated during lecture using the facilities currently available in most classrooms. This will require interactive capability, calculating capability, as well as graphing functionality. Thus, rather than just illustrating the mechanics of the solution for a specific operating point, a number of operating points can be calculated and results displayed in an organized fashion. Tools such as this can make the instructional process investigative in nature, by addressing what-if scenarios. Visual Basic was chosen as the software to do this development work.

Visual learning

“Visual learning is an important method for exploiting students’ visual senses to enhance learning and engage their interest.” 1 Though this reference focuses on underrepresented students in the technical fields, the concepts are applicable across the range of the student population. Ref. 1 was part of a special issue of the IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications society on “innovative ways in which people were teaching computer graphics and ways in which people were using computer graphics to teach other topics.”2 The authors of a paper entitled “Learning About Fields and Waves Using Visual Electromagnetics” developed both stored-solution mode and generated-solution mode computer graphics to attract students into the field of electromagnetics.3 Their generated-solution mode is similar to the live computational modules as described in this paper. Interactive visual activities were utilized for teaching engineering

Hochstrasser, C., & Werner, J., & Kasten, D. (2008, June), Development Of Electric Machine Live Computational Modules For Classroom Use Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--4098

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