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Laboratory Scale Steam Power Plant Study – Rankine Cycler™ Effectiveness As A Learning Tool And Its Component Losses

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Energy Projects and Laboratory Ideas

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.864.1 - 10.864.21



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Paper Authors

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Philip Gerhart

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Andrew Gerhart

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

Session 3133

Laboratory-Scale Steam Power Plant Study – Rankine CyclerTM Effectiveness as a Learning Tool and its Component Losses.

Andrew L. Gerhart1, Philip M. Gerhart2 1 Lawrence Technological University, Southfield, MI 48075 2 University of Evansville, Evansville, IN 47722


The Rankine Cycler™ steam turbine system, produced by Turbine Technologies, Ltd., is a table- top-sized working model of a fossil-fueled steam power plant. It is widely used by engineering colleges around the world.

The objectives of this paper are threefold. First, undergraduate students that have used the Rankine Cycler were surveyed to assess the effectiveness of the device as a learning tool. The results of the survey can be applied so that the equipment is used in the undergraduate curriculum in the best possible manner.

Inevitably, when a power generation plant is scaled-down and it has few efficiency-enhancing components (e.g. lack of feedwater heaters, etc.), energy losses in components will be magnified, substantially decreasing the cycle efficiency. Although the Rankine Cycler is a useful tool for teaching fundamentals of thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, heat transfer, and instrumentation systems in an undergraduate laboratory, a comprehensive analysis of the equipment has not been performed. This analysis would be useful to faculty and students who use the equipment and would also be useful to potential customers of Turbine Technologies. Faculty and students at two different universities have begun a comprehensive analysis of the Rankine Cycler. As an initial effort, the results of a parametric study of the effects of component losses on cycle efficiency are presented. Considerations in this study include boiler efficiency, turbine internal efficiency, turbine volumetric efficiency, mechanical efficiency, electric generator efficiency, boiler-to-turbine line losses (pressure and heat), and turbine-to-condenser line losses. In addition, proposals are made for experimental determination of Rankine Cycler component performance.

Finally, in addition to the learning assessment and parametric study, future studies are outlined to complete a comprehensive analysis of the Rankine Cycler.

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Gerhart, P., & Gerhart, A. (2005, June), Laboratory Scale Steam Power Plant Study – Rankine Cycler™ Effectiveness As A Learning Tool And Its Component Losses Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14305

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