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Student industry cooperation for the development of thermal system design teaching laboratory equipment

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Mechanical Engineering (ME) Poster Session

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.1099.1 - 23.1099.16



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Paper Authors


Steffen Peuker University of Alaska Anchorage

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Dr. Steffen Peuker is an assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering and the director of the Thermal System Design Laboratory at the University of Alaska Anchorage. He is teaching the Thermal System Design, Thermal System Design Laboratory, HVAC Systems Optimization and Introduction to Engineering courses. His work in engineering education focuses on hands-on undergraduate engineering education in the HVAC&R area, student-industry cooperation, and developing innovative ways of merging engineering fundamentals and engineering in practice and research. Dr. Peuker's educational research also focuses on increasing student retention and success in engineering through a student success focused introduction to engineering course. He is an active member of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers.

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Student Industry Cooperation for the Development of Thermal System Design Teaching Laboratory EquipmentIn higher education, hands-on undergraduate education on state-of-the-art laboratory equipmentis important to meet the quality standards expected in the engineering profession. However, thedevelopment of modern engineering laboratories is not only time consuming, but also budgetsconstraints can hamper the development of needed laboratories for instructional purposes.This paper presents an innovative approach of cooperation between industry and students tobuild equipment for a thermal system design teaching laboratory at a four year institution.Instead of buying higher educational laboratory test stands from commercial sources, test standswere built by undergraduate students under the guidance of a faculty member and incollaboration with local industry representatives. The complete process from initial outreach tothe industry to achieve successful buy-in, to the cooperative projects management and successfulcompletion of the projects are described in detail.The cooperative approach resulted in the successful completion of three major simulators: arefrigeration simulator, an air duct simulator and a heating, ventilation and air conditioning(HVAC) simulator. All simulators were built in one year and without any financial support fromthe institution. Comparing the cash and material donations from several companies involved inthe projects to buying comparable equipment from commercial sources showed a 10:1 ratioreturn of the investment. . Furthermore, as a result of the involvement of the industry, thesimulators include state-of-the-art equipment and meet the quality standards expected by theengineering profession, in this case the HVAC industry.The paper also includes an analyses how the students perceived working on the projectsimpacted their educational experience. The students agreed unanimously that the involvement ofthe industry benefited their projects. Students commented that the projects provided a real worldexperience, helped them understand the engineering design process better, improved their criticalthinking skills and they had fun working on the projects.

Peuker, S. (2013, June), Student industry cooperation for the development of thermal system design teaching laboratory equipment Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--22484

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