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Improving Thermodynamics Instruction: Hands On Experience With A Gas Turbine Engine

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Mechanical Engineering Poster Session

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.721.1 - 13.721.13



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Paper Authors


Messiha Saad North Carolina A&T State University

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Messiha Saad is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at North Carolina A&T State University. He received his Ph.D. from North Carolina State University. He taught mechanical engineering core courses for more than twelve years; he also teaches internal combustion engines, design of thermal systems, and related courses in the thermal science areas. He received numerous teaching awards including: “The Most Helpful Teacher of the Year Award” in 2005, “Procter & Gamble Student Choice Award – Favorite Teacher” in 2004, and “Teacher of the Year Award” in 1997. He is a member of ASEE, ASME, and SAE.

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

Improving Thermodynamics Instruction: Hands-On Experience with a Gas Turbine Engine


Thermodynamics offered by the Department of Mechanical Engineering at North Carolina A&T State University covered in two consecutive three-credit-hours courses, the first course covers the fundamental of thermodynamics principles. The topics include: energy, heat and work, thermodynamics properties of substances, real and ideal gases, first and second laws of thermodynamics, the basic Rankine power cycle, and the basic compression refrigeration cycle. The second course involves applications of basic thermodynamics principles to real systems. The topics covered include: gaseous mixtures, psychrometrics, combustion, power cycles and refrigeration cycles.

In an effort to give students a combination of theoretical background and hands-on experience, a new experiment on gas turbine engine was introduced. This paper describes the experiences the students gained in this experiment. During this exercise the students actually learned how to operate a gas turbine engine, collected and analyzed the output data including thrust and efficiency, and related the experimental result to the theory learned in the thermodynamics course. This experiment complemented the thermodynamics course and fully integrated some aspects of thermodynamics and enhanced the student’s learning process.

The gas turbine engine used in this exercise was a table top arrangement of a single-stage radial-flow compressor, a single-stage axial-flow turbine, and a reverse-flow annular combustion chamber turbojet engine. The engine is of a single shaft design. Both the compressor and turbine rotate on the same shaft at the same speed. The turbojet engine was equipped with a data acquisition system to monitor engine speed, exhaust gas temperature, fuel flow and thrust.


This experiment is designed to give the students a hands-on experience with a gas turbine engine and to directly relate the mechanical device to the theory learned in a typical thermodynamics course. This paper describes the experiences the students gained in the areas of propulsion and gas turbine engines. The experiment introduces the students to the basic principles of the gas turbine engine. During this experiment the students actually learn how to operate a gas turbine engine, collect and analyze the output data and relate the result to the theory learned in the thermodynamics courses. The broader educational objectives are to improve the students’ understanding of thermodynamics, to help them integrate this knowledge with other subjects, and to give them a better basic understanding of how a gas turbine engine works.

Saad, M. (2008, June), Improving Thermodynamics Instruction: Hands On Experience With A Gas Turbine Engine Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--4279

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