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In Class Demonstrations For Fluid Mechanics Lectures To Encourage Student Participation

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Advancing Thermal Science Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.676.1 - 8.676.7



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Paper Authors

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Charles Forsberg

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Two very important segments of an undergraduate fluid mechanics lecture course deal with flow in piping systems and pump operating characteristics. A portable demonstration unit has been designed and constructed to enhance the presentation of these topics and encourage active student participation in the learning process. The demonstration unit is mounted on a small cart that can be readily moved to the lecture room. The unit consists of a pump, a water tank, and instrumentation to measure water flow rates and pressure drops. It also includes specimens of different types of piping/tubing (steel, copper), and different types of valves (gate, globe, and ball). A major feature of the demonstration unit is the easy interchange of test specimens through the use of quick-disconnect couplings. The demonstration unit is run concurrent with lectures on friction factors and pressure drops in piping systems. During the class period, the students perform calculations and predict the pressure drops which should occur across lengths of piping for different water flow rates. Then the students operate the demonstration unit, and the actual pressure drops are measured. The students compare the pressure drops they have predicted using the text material with the actual pressure drops indicated by the demonstration unit. Similarly, measured pressure drops across different types of valves are compared to the pressure drops calculated using reference data from the textbook. Pump performance characteristics; (i. e., head-flow curves) can also be determined in class for the two pumps included in the demonstration unit. The measured performance characteristics are then compared with the manufacturers specifications for the pumps. Use of the demonstration unit along with lectures encourages active student participation in the learning process and improves the students’ comprehension of the material. This paper describes the demonstration unit in detail and includes a parts list. It also includes examples of class exercises which may be used in conjunction with the unit.

Forsberg, C. (2003, June), In Class Demonstrations For Fluid Mechanics Lectures To Encourage Student Participation Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12650

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