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Improvement Of An Undergraduate Thermal Fluid Laboratory Through Innovative Laboratory Design Projects

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Unique Laboratory Experiments & Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.701.1 - 9.701.14

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Paper Authors

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Hyun Kim

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

Session 2756


H. W. Shawn Kim Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering Youngstown State University


An innovative method was employed to create a number of experimental design projects through which students learn conceptualization of experiment, fundamental mechanisms, experimental process, data analysis, verification of physical laws, principles or phenomena. The Mechanical Engineering Program at Youngstown State University offers MECH 4835L, Thermal Fluid Applications Laboratory, in the Fall Semester. The laboratory is a companion course to a required senior-level course, MECH 4835, Thermal Fluid Applications. The laboratory deals with topics in the areas of fundamental and applied thermodynamics, fluid machinery and power, basic and applied heat transfer, and instrumentation and measurements. The laboratory is equipped with a number of commercial bench-top and wall-mounted experimental equipment which include temperature measurement, calorimetry, heat conduction, forced and free convection, condensation heat transfer, radiation heat transfer, refrigeration systems, internal combustion engines, flue gas analysis, pump operation, heat exchangers, and turbo machinery.

Although the experimental equipment has been well maintained, many devices have been in use for more than twenty five years. Consequently, some devices do not provide the results reliable enough for students to make positive observations on physical phenomena in order to draw a meaningful conclusion on the primary objectives. Moreover, some equipment was manufactured with inherent design flaws which might have been caused by over simplification of the design, poor construction, and inaccurate information on the design specifications provided by manufacturers.

Some of these troublesome experiments were identified and students were asked to select one of them for design modification with verified results obtained from the improved hardware and new experimental process. Students were also asked to present their new design and findings orally and by written reports to share the acquired knowledge to fellow students. The new method yielded very positive results related to students’ learning and strengthened the ability of students in designing experiments, analyzing the experimental data, verifying the hypothesis, and observing the entire experimental process for in-depth conclusion.

“Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright ©2004, American Society of Engineering Education”

Kim, H. (2004, June), Improvement Of An Undergraduate Thermal Fluid Laboratory Through Innovative Laboratory Design Projects Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah.

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