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Learning Module of PEM Fuel Cells

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Conference

2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Instructional technologies - Simulations, VR, Remote Education

Tagged Division

Manufacturing

Page Count

12

DOI

10.18260/1-2--34903

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/34903

Download Count

589

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Paper Authors

biography

Irina Nicoleta Ciobanescu Husanu Drexel University

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Irina Ciobanescu Husanu, Ph. D. is Assistant Clinical Professor with Drexel University, Engineering Technology program. Her area of expertise is in thermo-fluid sciences with applications in micro-combustion, fuel cells, green fuels and plasma assisted combustion. She has prior industrial experience in aerospace engineering that encompasses both theoretical analysis and experimental investigations such as designing and testing of propulsion systems including design and development of pilot testing facility, mechanical instrumentation, and industrial applications of aircraft engines. Also, in the past 10 years she gained experience in teaching ME and ET courses in both quality control and quality assurance areas as well as in thermal-fluid, energy conversion and mechanical areas from various levels of instruction and addressed to a broad spectrum of students, from freshmen to seniors, from high school graduates to adult learners. She also has extended experience in curriculum development. Dr Husanu developed laboratory activities for Measurement and Instrumentation course as well as for quality control undergraduate and graduate courses in ET Masters program. Also, she introduced the first experiential activity for Applied Mechanics courses. She is coordinator and advisor for capstone projects for Engineering Technology.

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biography

Kevin Frank Drexel University

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Drexel University student studying Mechanical Engineering Technology. Currently on CO-OP and working on the Unity3D implementation portion of the VR learning simulation project.

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Ayanna Elise Gardner Drexel University

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After graduating with her associate's degree in Engineering Technology from Delaware County Community College in 2018, Ayanna transferred to Drexel University to continue her undergraduate career. Her interest in the hands-on applications of the Engineering Technology field was sparked during her time as an organizational-level helicopter mechanic for the United States Marine Corps.

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Richard Chiou Drexel University

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Dr. Richard Chiou is Associate Professor within the Engineering Technology Department at Drexel University, Philadelphia, USA. He received his Ph.D. degree in the G.W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology. His educational background is in manufacturing with an emphasis on mechatronics. In addition to his many years of industrial experience, he has taught many different engineering and technology courses at undergraduate and graduate levels. His tremendous research experience in manufacturing includes environmentally conscious manufacturing, Internet based robotics, and Web based quality. In the past years, he has been involved in sustainable manufacturing for maximizing energy and material recovery while minimizing environmental impact.

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Abstract

An important role of undergraduate education is stimulating critical thinking and enabling engineering students to be creative while developing analytical skills. Virtual Reality is becoming a powerful tool for multisensory teaching which enhances learning by using imagery and haptics to represent and study concepts and notions. Project-based interdisciplinary learning offer students a broader perspective over systems integration while exploring fundamental notions of the topics studied [1, 2]. Several studies that were developed during the past decade classified the VR impact upon learning as follows: the VR evolved towards competency based learning from a resource type format [1], while enabling students to take an active role in investigating the notions and concepts studied. The VR platform offers the possibility of exploring real-like scenarios that otherwise would be difficult or unachievable due to financial and/or lab space issues. In addition, VR, AR (augmented reality) and MR (mixed reality) platform gain acceptance and use in many STEM courses, as it enhances face-to-face, online and distance learning, creating a collaborative environment and engaging students in learning.[3]. However, creating the learning modules using different engines is not without challenge [4]. The Proton Exchange Member (PEM) fuel cell is a power source that is environmentally friendly with the bonus of having high efficiency and a low operational temperature. While these types of fuel cells are efficient, conducting an experiment with them can be very expensive. A PEM fuel cell consists of three main parts: a polymer electrolyte membrane, an anode and a cathode. The anode and cathode themselves have three separate regions: the catalyst layer, the gas diffusion layer and the gas channel. As part of the undergraduate research efforts, an undergraduate student explored the VR technology (engine) and developed the framework for developing learning modules using a real-like industrial scenario. The major tasks described are the description of the developmental platform and the modeling of the VR framework as applied to a PEM fuel cell and using Phase Change Materials (PCM) to enhance performance. Students explore concepts as parametric characterization of the thermo-chemical system. VR technology will enable students to explore new ways to implement their knowledge in a practical manner, enhancing information retention and promoting critical thinking. The goal of this investigation is to develop a cyber learning module using immersive Virtual Reality Learning Environment and a VR learning module based on simulation of a PEM fuel cell to enable students to enhance their learning in the area of renewable and green energy technology, while exploring fundamental concepts in fuel cell design, including thermodynamics and thermochemistry and fluid mechanics associated with this module. This will introduce students to a more integrative learning rather than simple experiments or animations that enhances topic comprehension and student motivation While PEM fuel cells can be described using basic theoretical notions, developing reliable and efficient fuel cells for educational purposes can be very expensive. It has been proven that computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models can be a critical tool to model fuel cells. Our goal is to take a CFD model from a CAD platform and put it into a virtual reality platform. By doing this, students will be able to learn about these more intuitive processes within the subject taught. After making a model in SolidWorks and running a simulation with the fuel cell, an undergrad student compared the results to experimental results from the lab to validate the simulated model. Moreover, this Virtual Reality Learning Environment (VRLE) is used to bridge the gap between theoretical approach and experimental activities in face-to-face learning. The module will be beta-tested during this Fall term and potentially fully implemented during subsequent terms. The results and assessment will be presented in the full paper. This paper will focus not only on technical aspects of developing the learning platform and the VR module but more upon educational aspects of undertaking undergraduate research and assessment of the learning module. Comparisons will be made regarding student knowledge retention with and without VR learning enhancement to test the efficacy of the VR module in beta-testing environment and then during course implementation.

Ciobanescu Husanu, I. N., & Frank, K., & Gardner, A. E., & Chiou, R. (2020, June), Learning Module of PEM Fuel Cells Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34903

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