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Examining Student Misconceptions of Conservation of Mass and Energy in Pipe Flow using Very Low Cost Experiments

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Conference

2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Thermodynamics, Fluids and Heat Transfer II

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count

21

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/28318

Download Count

103

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Paper Authors

biography

Robert F. Richards Washington State University

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Dr. Robert Richards received the Ph.D. in Engineering from the University of California, Irvine. He then worked in the Building and Fire Research Laboratory at NIST as a Post-Doctoral Researcher before joining the faculty of the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at Washington State University. His research is in thermodynamics and heat and mass transfer. Over the last five years he has become involved in developing and disseminating research based learning methods. He was a participant in the NSF Virtual Communities of Practice (VCP) program in Spring, 2013, learning research based methods to instruct thermodynamics. More recently he introduced the concept of fabricating very low cost thermal fluid experiments using 3-D printing and vacuum forming at the National Academy of Engineering’s Frontiers of Engineering Education in October, 2013. He is presently a co PI on the NSF IUSE: Affordable Desktop Learning Modules to Facilitate Transformation in Undergrad¬uate Engineering Classes, High School Recruitment and Retention.

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Fanhe Shamus Meng Washington State University

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Mr. Fanhe Meng received his B.S in school of materials science and engineering in Nanjing University of Science and Technology. He is working towards a PhD degree in Mechanical Engineering in Washington State University. He has been involved in fabricating low cost fluid experiments combining computer-aided design, 3D printing and vacuum forming since 2014. He speaks both English and Chinese.

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Bernard J. Van Wie Washington State University

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Prof. Bernard J. Van Wie received his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D., and did his postdoctoral work at the University of Oklahoma where he also taught as a visiting lecturer. He has been on the Washington State University(WSU) faculty for 34 years and for the past 20 years has focused on innovative pedagogy research and technical research in biotechnology. His 2007-2008 Fulbright exchange to Nigeria set the stage for him to receive the Marian Smith Award which was given annually to the most innovative teacher at WSU, and in 2016 he received the inaugural WSU Innovative Teaching Award based on the development and dissemination of hands-on desktop learning modules and their use in an interactive learning environment.

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Paul B. Golter Ohio University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-8959-6899

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Paul B. Golter obtained an M.S. and Ph.D. from Washington State University. His research area has been engineering education, specifically around the development and assessment of technologies to bring fluid mechanics and heat transfer laboratory experiences into the classroom. He is currently a Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering at Ohio University.

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Arshan Nazempour Washington State University

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Arshan Nazempour completed his undergraduate study at University of Tehran in Tehran, Iran in Chemical Engineering. Currently, he is a PhD candidate in Chemical Engineering at Washington State University and working under Professor Van Wie's supervision on two projects, synergistic influences of oscillating pressure and growth factor on chondrogenesis in a novel centrifugal bioreactor and hands-on learning solution for students.

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Abstract

Misconceptions concerning how to apply conservation of mass and energy to engineering systems plague many of our undergraduate students. For example, many students struggle with understanding how to use conservation of mass to predict fluid velocity in a pipe or how to use conservation of energy to predict pressure drop in a pipe. In this study, the use of very low cost fluids experiments is investigated to examine and correct student misconceptions connected to Conservation of Mass and Energy in pipe flow. The approach documented here takes advantage of simple, inexpensive, easy to use experimental hardware to enable students to make measurements and observations that directly challenge their misconceptions. In particular, this paper looks at the implementation of very low-cost pipe flow experiments in large Mechanical Engineering lecture classrooms to examine how hands-on active learning can supplement more traditional lecture classes to deepen student understanding of engineering principles.

The low-cost pipe flow experiment was fabricated using a four step approach: (1) the geometry of the pipe flow experiment was defined using CAD software, (2) A plastic mold of the experiment was 3-D printed using rapid prototyping, (3) the experimental geometry was molded in thin plastic sheets using vacuum forming, and (4) the final experiment was assembled from the vacuum formed sheets to produce multiple copies of the experiment. The resulting experimental hardware was simple, robust and inexpensive enough to distribute individual copies to groups of three students with the cost to each student in the class much less the price of a textbook.

The pipe flow experiment was implemented in junior-level fluid mechanics classes with about 70 students. The students were divided into two groups, one of which worked with the low-cost experiment, the others received a lecture presentation of the same material. The efficacy of the hands-on experiments in clarifying student understanding of the conservation laws was assessed via several mechanisms. First, pre and post quizzes were given to all students before and after either they did the hands-on experiments or they attended the equivalent lecture. Second, test questions answered by students who did the hands-on experiments were compared to those who received the lecture presentation. Finally, a number of students were interviewed about their perceptions.

Richards, R. F., & Meng, F. S., & Van Wie, B. J., & Golter, P. B., & Nazempour, A. (2017, June), Examining Student Misconceptions of Conservation of Mass and Energy in Pipe Flow using Very Low Cost Experiments Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/28318

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