Asee peer logo

Exposing High School Students To The Role Of Engineering And Advanced Materials In Developing Alternative Energy Sources

Download Paper |


2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Creating 'Materials' Awareness

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

12.726.1 - 12.726.9



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Gukan Rajaram North Carolina A&T State University

visit author page

Gukan Rajaram is a Post-doctoral research scientist in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. He received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from North Carolina A&T State University. His research is in the area of electrode and electrolyte synthesis and characterization for solid oxide fuel cells. He also teaches senior level mechanical engineering laboratory and actively involved in K-12 outreach activities.

visit author page


Devdas Pai North Carolina A&T State University

visit author page

Devdas M. Pai is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at NC A&T State University and Associate Director of the Center for Advanced Materials and Smart Structures. He teaches manufacturing processes and tribology related courses. A registered Professional Engineer in North Carolina, he serves on the Mechanical PE Exam Committee of the National Council of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors and is active in several divisions of ASEE and ASME.

visit author page


Jagannathan Sankar North Carolina A&T State University

visit author page

Jagannathan Sankar is a University Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering at NC A&T State University and Director of the Center for Advanced Materials and Smart Structures (CAMSS). He is a recipient of the White House Millennium Award for Teaching and Research Excellence in Mathematics, Science, Engineering and Technology at Historically Black Colleges and Universities and his area of research is advanced materials.

visit author page

Download Paper |

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

Exposing High School Students to the Role of Engineering and Advanced Materials in Developing Alternative Energy Sources Introduction

There is an unprecedented need to foster a new awareness of and interest in engineering careers in the American workforce of tomorrow currently in the K-12 pipeline. The American College Testing organization reports that in the decade from 1992-2002, its surveys indicate a precipitous drop (from 9% to 6%) in US high school students interested in majoring in engineering. Additionally, there is the recurring problem of the lack of math and science preparedness among US students. Many programs have been started to address these problems. One of these is a growing movement towards teaming college faculty with K-12. The ASEE Engineering K-12 Center seeks to promote awareness and knowledge of engineering and technology as tools for advancing achievement in K-12 science and mathematics teaching and learning. As an active part of this effort, the College of Engineering at North Carolina A&T State University operates a summer camp-based Engineering Starters Program, with each camp lasting two weeks. It is well known that laboratories and demonstrations add information and interest to science and engineering courses 1. Laboratory exercises provide a great opportunity to expose students to ‘real materials’ in an active learning environment. Such exercises also provide a mean to satisfy important learning objectives and the ability to conduct experiments, analyze and interpret data 2. Our program centers on a series of interactive lectures in a lab setting, with relevant experiments immediately following. There are extensive pre-experiment discussions and comparison with actual results in post-experiment discussions. These are supplemented by lab tours of graduate and faculty research labs and interactions with those researchers, who also provide them with additional simple experiments to give them a feel of the scope and value of the research problem being investigated. Our paper discusses a specific module and an experiment to expose the students to electrical and electro-chemical engineering concepts and the challenges and opportunities of alternative energy sources such as fuel cells. In the summer of 2006, this camp was offered to a batch of about 25 high school students (9th – 11th grade) and about 25 middle school students (7th – 8th grade).

Introduction of Energy Concepts

The module begins with a detailed overview of the different sources of energy and their impact on the environment was discussed. Before the instructor presents, we ask the students about the chief sources of environmental pollution. High school students readily identify automobiles and chemical industries as major sources, showing their general awareness about the environment. The presentation discusses the major role of petroleum-based energies (gasoline and diesel, for instance) in transportation and the manufacturing and utility sectors. The gasoline energy cycle and its effect on the environment are illustrated with an easy-to-grasp slide (Fig. 1). The cycle explains the process of oil extraction from wells, followed by crude oil processing and finally distribution of the refined products (gasoline, diesel, natural gas, etc). The engineering operations behind these stages are explained to the students. Fig. 1 shows tailpipe emissions at the end of the gasoline cycle. The typical chemical analysis of tailpipe gases is presented, and their environmental impact is discussed.

Rajaram, G., & Pai, D., & Sankar, J. (2007, June), Exposing High School Students To The Role Of Engineering And Advanced Materials In Developing Alternative Energy Sources Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2734

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2007 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015