June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
26.1415.1 - 26.1415.16
Student Development of a Five kW Solar Furnace for Solar Thermal Chemistry ResearchNumerous publications have described positive student outcomes when undergraduateengineering students participate in meaningful projects. These outcomes include: 1) thedevelopment of expertise in specific areas, 2) the acquisition of teamwork and communicationskills, 3) the acquisition of problem solving and critical thinking skills, 4) increased originality,creativity, and curiosity, and 5) and the gaining of an understanding and appreciation of theengineering process. Moreover, through classroom interactions with students participating inreal-world projects, all students are introduced to relevant engineering problems.At XXX University, over the course of seven years 50 mechanical and electrical engineeringundergraduate students designed, manufactured, assembled, and tested the majority ofcomponents and systems of a half-million dollar, five kW solar furnace. The solar furnaceconsists of a heliostat which contains 400 square feet of solar mirrors. The heliostat tracks thesun as it moves across the sky and reflects the sunlight through louvers and into a solarconcentrator. The louvers control the amount of sunlight that enters the concentrator. Theconcentrator focuses the sunlight, and a solar reactor is located at the focal point of theconcentrator. This reactor is positioned by a three-axis linear drive system. Within the reactor,metal oxides are electrolyzed to produce metals or decomposed to a lower oxygen state.This paper describes specific student contributions to the development of the solar furnace andtheir avenues of participation which included summer internships, independent project work, andcapstone senior design projects. Finally, this paper describes multiple student outcomesincluding the fact that 40 percent of the students who have participated in the project have goneon to study engineering in graduate school.
Duncan, G. S., & Nudehi, S. S., & Palumbo, R. D., & Blood, D., & Venstrom, L. J. (2015, June), Student Development of a Five kW Solar Furnace for Solar Thermal Chemistry Research Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24752
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