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Power Plant Analysis With Mathcad

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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

Thermodynamics, Fluids and Heat Transfer - II

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.987.1 - 13.987.10

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Paper Authors


Jason Christopher Rice University

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Jason Christopher graduated from the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) in 2007 at the top of his major, Mechanical Engineering. Jason is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering at Rice University, where his research focuses on computational fluid dynamics (CFD), with specific emphasis on work related to the NASA Crew Exploration Vehicle parachutes. After finishing his studies, he will work as an Air Force developmental engineer.

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Adam Parks Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base

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Adam Parks graduated from the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) in 2007 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He is currently stationed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH where he works as a developmental engineer. He is in charge of several research projects with an emphasis on aircraft structural integrity.

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Vipul Sharma Air Force Institute of Technology

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Vipul Sharma graduated from the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) in 2007 where he majored in Mechanical Engineering and minored in Mandarin. Vipul is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Aeronautical Engineering at the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) where his research focus is Ceramic Matrix Composites (CMC) and their applicability for use in turbine engines. After completing his tour at AFIT, he will begin pilot training.

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Michael Maixner U.S. Air Force Academy

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Michael Rex Maixner graduated with distinction from the U. S. Naval Academy, and served as a commissioned officer in the USN for 25 years; his first 12 years were spent as a shipboard officer, while his remaining service was strictly in engineering assignments. He received his Ocean Engineer and SMME degrees from MIT, and his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School. He served as an Instructor at the Naval Postgraduate School and as a Professor of Engineering at Maine Maritime Academy; he is currently a member of the Department of Engineering Mechanics at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

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

Power Plant Analysis with Mathcad by

J.D. Christopher 2LT USAF Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science 6100 Main Street — MS 321 Houston, TX 77005

Adam K. Parks, 2LT USAF Developmental Engineer Air Force Research Laboratory Wright-Patterson Air Force Base OH Adam.Parks@WPAFB.AF.MIL

V. Sharma, 2LT USAF Air Force Institute of Technology AFIT ENY/GAE 08S 2950 Hobson Way Building 641 WPAFB, OH 45433-7765

M.R. Maixner, PhD, PE Department of Engineering Mechanics DFEM 6L-155 2354 Fairchild DR USAF Academy CO 80840-6240


The requirement to continually update property values manually can seriously hinder the learning and design processes in more advanced thermodynamics courses; the problem is further compounded when two or more working fluids are involved, as in a combined cycle. The pedagogical benefit of such an academic exercise would be greatly enhanced if students were relieved of the requirement to manually update property values, allowing them to concentrate on the more “global” aspects of the design process. Recent “freeware” Mathcad function worksheets, still in development, allow automatic updating of property values in response to changing input parameters, thereby permitting rapid assessment of system response to changes in one or several parameters (turbine pressure ratio, ambient conditions, cooling water temperature, boiler pressure, etc.). The function worksheets, in conjunction with Mathcad’s intrinsic ability to handle units, has helped to streamline and enhance the analysis of more advanced thermodynamic systems. Recent experience in the application of these worksheets in more complex systems is reviewed, and suggestions for their implementation are made.

Christopher, J., & Parks, A., & Sharma, V., & Maixner, M. (2008, June), Power Plant Analysis With Mathcad Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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