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Incorporating The Design Of Experiments Into A Heat Transfer Laboratory Course

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



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Page Numbers

4.309.1 - 4.309.9

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Paper Authors

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Robert Vance

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Gloria Elliott

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Craig W. Somerton

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

Session 1333

Incorporating the Design of Experiments into a Heat Transfer Laboratory Course

Craig W. Somerton, Gloria Elliott, Robert Vance Department of Mechanical Engineering, Michigan State University

I. Introduction

One of the recent trends in mechanical engineering curriculum is the move away from an instrumentation laboratory course towards a just-in-time delivery of instrumentation topics in the specific technical laboratory courses, such as fluid mechanics lab, vibrations lab, or heat transfer lab. This is indeed the case in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Michigan State University where during our transition from a quarter program to a semester program the instrumentation course was eliminated with the understanding that instrumentation associated with a technical area, for example thermocouples with heat transfer and pressure transducers with fluid mechanics, would be integrated into appropriate technical laboratory course. A downside to this approach is that several of the standard topics covered in an instrumentation course could be left out in the cold. In particular, the teaching of the experiment design is a prime candidate for this type of neglect. With the coming of Engineering Criteria 2000 and its specification in Criterion 3 that “engineering programs must demonstrate that their graduates have ... an ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data” [1] programs that have abandoned the instrumentation lab model must assure that the design of experiments is integrated into the technical laboratory courses.

This issue has been addressed in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Michigan State University by transforming a standard radiation heat transfer laboratory experiment (either one dealing with the measurement of emissivity or the measurement of transmissivity) in the heat transfer laboratory course into a design of experiment laboratory exercise. This exercise is shared in this paper starting with a description of the exercise, followed by some principles emphasized in lecture and some selected measures of the student’s success in achieving the learning objectives. Finally, a number of lessons learned in this endeavor are provided.

II. Description of Experiment Design Unit

The objectives of this experiment are provided to the students in the lab manual as follows:

1. To review the basic principles of radiation heat transfer. 2. To reexamine the basic tenets of the Scientific Method as related to research design. 3. To design an experiment and develop an experimental procedure.

To achieve these objectives the student team is to design an experiment that will permit the determination of transmissivity of several non-opaque materials. To provide additional motivation for the students the problem statement is actually posed in a more realistic setting.

Vance, R., & Elliott, G., & Somerton, C. W. (1999, June), Incorporating The Design Of Experiments Into A Heat Transfer Laboratory Course Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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