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Educational Outcomes Embedded Within Energy Conservation Projects

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Capstone Projects and Experiential Learning

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.525.1 - 22.525.13



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Paper Authors


Cliff R. Mirman Northern Illinois University

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Cliff R. Mirman received his Ph.D. degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1991. From 1991 until 1999, he was a faculty member in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Wilkes University’s. He is currently the Chair of the Department of Technology at NIU. His research areas are CAD, finite-element-analysis, and kinematics, both securing grants and writing publications. Dr. Mirman is actively involved in ASEE and SME.

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Educational Outcomes Embedded Within Energy Conservation Projects By Cliff Mirman, Chair, Department of Technology and Promod Vohra, Dean, College of Engineering and Engineering Technology Northern Illinois University, Dekalb, Ill 60115AbstractDuring the summer of 2008, the NIU College of Engineering and Engineering Technologyreceived funding from the United States Department of Energy to study modes of energyconservation in the railroad industry. Specifically, the projects looked at reducing the usage ofdiesel fuel in the operation of today’s modern locomotives. The project lasted one and a halfyears, and five tasks examined unique aspects energy conservation of the locomotive. The teamstudied the usage of alternate fuels as a suitable alternative to using straight diesel fuel, wherecost, availability, emissions, and material wear are key considerations. The team also studied theusage of fuel cell power systems in the propulsion of the train. The team examined many safetyand power issues that centered on this form of energy source. In addition to energy sources, theteam examined the thermal and emission reduction of the locomotives. With new federalregulations coming in the future, this area will not only reduce the energy consumption, butcompanies will be required to comply with federal regulations. The research and design teamalso studied the usage of energy efficient materials in the railroad industry. It was found thatcomponents can be made lighter and have longer life spans if alternative materials are used.Finally, the team examined tribology issues. Friction issues constitute many energy inefficienciesof the locomotive, from the wheels rolling on the tracks, to the friction of the massive 16cylinder engines, to the other wear surfaces of the locomotive; friction issues greatly reduce theefficiency of the train.Much work was completed in developing new energy efficiencies in this important industry,however, more importantly, the work completed was interdisciplinary and the faculty membersinvolved included a large group of both graduate and undergraduate students. Ten facultymembers from four different areas were involved in this work. In addition, the project used theexpertise of over 20 undergraduate and graduate students. In addition to the work which wasdeveloped, the project management was an important portion of the project, from an overallperspective down to each student component. Students in all areas made positive impacts on theproject and much was accomplished towards energy improvement in the railroad industry.

Mirman, C. R. (2011, June), Educational Outcomes Embedded Within Energy Conservation Projects Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17806

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