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Laboratory Experiment In The Free Convection Of A Vertical Heated Constant Temperature Plate Using Labview

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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

13.835.1 - 13.835.14



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Paper Authors


Erik Bardy Grove City College

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ERIK R. BARDY currently serves as Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Grove City College. His research interests include composite insulation design, orthopedic biomechanics and thermal regulation of the human body.

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Erik Anderson Grove City College

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ERIK J. ANDERSON currently serves as Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Grove City College. His research interests include biofluid dynamics and biomimetic robotics with applications to marine vehicles.

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

Laboratory Experiment in the Free Convection of a Vertical Heated Constant Temperature Plate using LabVIEW


The measurement and automation programming language LabVIEW features data acquisition (DAQ) toolboxes that interface with plug and play National Instruments (NI) DAQ hardware. Code can be compiled and packaged as executable files that can then be loaded on multiple PCs without additional licensing. The authors have developed a student laboratory exercise that uses LabVIEW to collect temperature data on and near a vertical plate (Polycarbonate) heated on one side by water (T =~100 ºC). Heat is conducted through the plate and then to the air by natural convection. Thermocouples connected to a NI-DAQ PC interface card measured temperatures on and near the plate at six vertical locations, generating temperature profiles within the thermal boundary layer. Students monitored and recorded temperatures on-demand using a LabVIEW program run from an executable file on the host PC. The objective of the lab is to introduce students to experimental and analytical methods of free convective heat transfer analysis including: the application of similarity solutions, experimental measurement, and the analytical and experimental determination of the convective heat transfer coefficient. A description of the experiment and the implementation of LabVIEW are presented along with sample experimental data and results of a student survey.


Experimental demonstrations of heat transfer are an important part of the undergraduate Mechanical Engineering curriculum. Students at Grove City College entering their junior year have little experience with advanced data acquisition systems and comparing the data they collect to theories learned in class. Mechanical Engineering students take a laboratory course (1 credit, MECE 352) in the spring term of the junior year in thermal/fluid sciences. Although educational laboratory equipment and experiments built by companies such as P.A. Hilton and Turbine Technologies LTD are great additions to this course they can be very expensive. Building heat transfer experiments in-house can result in considerable savings. A number of institutions have built experiments for various heat transfer experiments.[1-6] In some cases students have built heat transfer experiments as part of a design project and then used the experiment in a thermal fluids laboratory course.[7, 8].

We have developed an experiment in free convection for MECE 352 adapted from one used in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at The State University of New York at Buffalo (SUNY Buffalo) (with permission). In the experiment, students take direct temperature readings from a vertical heated plate using thermocouples and a LabVIEW DAQ interface. The convective heat transfer coefficient can be calculated from the temperature profile near the vertical plate and compared to analytically determined values. In addition, students are exposed to similarity solutions used to solve the momentum and energy equations that govern the fluid flow and heat transfer within the velocity and thermal boundary layers.

Bardy, E., & Anderson, E. (2008, June), Laboratory Experiment In The Free Convection Of A Vertical Heated Constant Temperature Plate Using Labview Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3096

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