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Development Of Experimental Apparatuses To Be Used In Two Sequential Thermal Science Courses

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Energy Laboratory Development

Tagged Division

Energy Conversion and Conservation

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.475.1 - 11.475.12



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Paper Authors

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John Reisel University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

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Kevin Renken University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

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



Integration of concepts throughout a curriculum can aid in student understanding and retention of difficult concepts. One area that is ripe for such integration is the Thermal Sciences, where Thermodynamics, Heat Transfer, and Fluid Mechanics courses all share some common ground. In this paper, the development of experimental apparatuses, which can be used for experiments in both Thermodynamics and Heat Transfer courses, is discussed. By having undergraduate students perform laboratory experiments focused on appropriate topics for each course using the same setups, the students can relate the course materials more effectively.

Four different experimental apparatuses that have been developed for use in both a basic thermodynamics course and a heat transfer course are described. In addition, the laboratory exercises developed for each course using the apparatuses are discussed. The experiments were developed using simple, practical devices. The experiments developed center around (a) a dorm-sized refrigerator, (b) a small industrial heat exchanger, (c) a cooking wok, and (d) a high- intensity commercial light fixture. These are all devices that students have either encountered in everyday life, or can easily connect with. The experiments build upon this basic familiarity by applying engineering experiments to the equipment to demonstrate fundamental principles of Thermodynamics in the Basic Thermodynamics course. With this background, the students will then see the same experimental hardware in their Heat Transfer course, but will perform experiments that use the apparatus to elucidate the concepts of conduction, convection, and thermal radiation. In this way, vertical integration of pre-existing experiences, principles of thermodynamics and heat transfer concepts through the curriculum is achieved.

The experiments described in this paper were developed and built by undergraduate students in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM). This opportunity allowed our students to gain a greatly increased knowledge of thermodynamics, heat transfer, and experimentation. The use of students in designing and building the experiments also aided the faculty involved, as the students were able to design experiments that better addressed the needs of students in understanding course content.

Introduction and Background

Mechanical Engineering students at UWM, like most other schools, are required to take several courses in the thermal sciences. These required courses are Basic Engineering Thermodynamics (ME 301), Introduction to Fluid Mechanics (ME 320), and Basic Heat Transfer (ME 321.) Traditionally, the Thermodynamics and Heat Transfer courses have been almost exclusively lecture-based, while the Fluid Mechanics course has had some experimental content. Several years ago, the experimental component of the Fluid Mechanics course was transferred into a new course, Fluid Mechanics Laboratory (ME 323), so that additional time could be spent on the experimental aspects of Fluid Mechanics. The Thermodynamics and Heat Transfer courses

Reisel, J., & Renken, K. (2006, June), Development Of Experimental Apparatuses To Be Used In Two Sequential Thermal Science Courses Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--191

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