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Enhancing Student Learning through Extracurricular Energy Projects

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Thermodynamics, Fluids, and Heat Transfer I

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

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Paper Authors


Caitlyn Clark University of Notre Dame

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Caitlyn Clark is a first year graduate student pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of Notre Dame. Her research involves using particle image velocimetry techniques for various flow analyses. She is also a recent alumni of Western Kentucky University where she served as a thermo-fluids research assistant. During her undergraduate career she carried out multiple research projects funded through internal grants and industry sponsorships.

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Robert E. Choate III Western Kentucky University

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Robert Choate teaches thermo-fluid and professional component courses in Mechanical Engineering, including Thermodynamics, Fluid Mechanics, Sophomore Design and the ME Senior Project Design course sequence. Prior his appointment at WKU, he was a principal engineer for CMAC Design Corporation, designing thermal management solutions for telecommunication, data communication and information technology equipment.

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Jimmy Sandusky Halton Company

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Jimmy Sandusky is the Research and Development Manager at Halton Company located in Scottsville, KY. Halton is an international manufacturer of products that deliver comfortable and energy efficient indoor environments. Mr. Sandusky is a graduate of the Western Kentucky University Mechanical Engineering program.

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During the past academic year, the Institution has involved itself with better understanding how energy is being consumed in commercial, industrial and residential arenas. An Institution student has partnered with a Company Sponsor, a manufacturer of kitchen ventilation systems, to create a platform utilizing the capabilities of aerodynamic assessment. This platform was designed to ensure that their products minimize energy consumption associated with ventilation of convective heat and effluent.

Secondly, an internal student grant was awarded to allow a student researcher to develop a relationship between leakage areas, pressures, and flow rates. Understanding how these elements correlate will provide an understanding of energy consumption in residential, commercial and industrial settings due to building envelope construction and maintenance/aging flaws.

The Company Sponsor manufactures kitchen ventilation hoods, which are sized for commercial kitchen use. This being the case, it was impractical to obtain a hood sized for use in the university laboratory. Therefore, a scaled-down model was designed and built so that the results from laboratory research could be correlated to commercial sized applications. All kitchen ventilation systems require two main parts; an exhaust air moving device (AMD) and effluent collection hood. In order to recreate these items, before testing of the scaled–down hood could begin, an air flow bench was developed and characterized to replicate the exhaust AMD system, which was then coupled to the scaled down version of the kitchen ventilation hood.

To study the effects of leakage areas on energy consumption in building envelopes, a “blower door” simulation test bed was purchased with the grant funds. This test bed included “windows” or “apertures”, which allowed for various leakage geometries to be placed in the envelope of the structure. Along with this, the exterior structure and its cover included different pressure taps so that the internal static pressure within the structure may be determined at various locations. To complete the test bed, all of the instruments required to conduct a blower door test - an air moving device, differential and flow measuring device, blower door frame and covering - were included in the performance measure.

An important aspect of these projects was the Institution was able to provide an undergraduate student valuable learning experiences by managing and executing these projects as an extracurricular activity. The learning experiences, present throughout the projects, consisted of both project management and technical aspects. Assessment of outcomes of student learning from these real world energy applications was also performed.

Clark, C., & Choate, R. E., & Sandusky, J. (2016, June), Enhancing Student Learning through Extracurricular Energy Projects Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26710

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