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Integration And Implementation Of A Thermodynamics Instructional Software

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1997 Annual Conference


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Publication Date

June 15, 1997

Start Date

June 15, 1997

End Date

June 18, 1997



Page Count


Page Numbers

2.252.1 - 2.252.4

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Karim J. Nasr

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

Session 2666

Integration and Implementation of a Thermodynamics Instructional Software

Karim J. Nasr Mechanical Engineering Department GMI Engineering & Management Institute Flint, MI 48504


This paper presents the integration and implementation of Mathcad’s Electronic Book titled “Thermodynamics for Engineers” into a first course on Engineering Thermodynamics at GMI Engineering & Management Institute. This instructional computer software utilizes Mathcad tools and exhibits worked-out problems in Thermodynamics. The purpose of such implementation is to enhance students’ understanding of fundamental concepts by interactively retrieving thermodynamic properties, performing parametric investigations, and creating models of thermodynamic systems. The process of integrating the software into the course, supported by students experiences and comments, is outlined and helpful practices for its implementation are presented.


Computer tools have become an integral part of engineering education (Gidh and Hanyak,1993; Braun et al., 1996; and Bowman, 1996). Such tools have gained general acceptance and have been implemented and integrated into various engineering courses. Pattee (1995) states that “In engineering schools throughout the country, students are now being introduced to Maple, Mathematica, Mathcad, Matlab, and other mathematical software as early as their freshman year.” The Thermal Sciences Committee of the Mechanical Engineering Department at GMI Engineering & Management Institute purchased Mathcad modules in Engineering Thermodynamics to be implemented in the classroom targeting design-oriented problems and enhancement of students’ understanding of fundamental concepts in Thermodynamics. Traditionally, students in a first course on Engineering Thermodynamics get frustrated with phase diagrams and finding thermodynamic properties for compressible pure substances (superheated vapors, compressed liquids, and mixtures of liquid and vapor), ideal gases, and incompressible substances (solids and liquids). Instructors, on the other hand, allocate a sizable and valuable amount of time explaining the retrieval process of these properties and the establishment of a thought process. Students who get proficient in properties finding, have no trouble dealing with the first and second laws of Thermodynamics and often cruise through cycles analysis focusing on fundamental concepts. Thus, the objective is to utilize Mathcad modules in speeding the process of retrieving properties, in expanding students’ knowledge base, and in adding a design flavor to the course. The goal of this paper is to outline the process of integration and implementation of the software and to present some of the lessons learned.

Nasr, K. J. (1997, June), Integration And Implementation Of A Thermodynamics Instructional Software Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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