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Symbolic Computation Applications in Power Engineering Education

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

COED: EE Topics

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

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Paper Authors


Radian G Belu Southern University

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Dr. Radian Belu is Associate Professor within Electrical Engineering Department, Southern University, Baton, Rouge, USA. He is holding one PHD in power engineering and other one in physics. Before joining to Southern University Dr. Belu hold faculty, research and industry positions at universities and research institutes in Romania, Canada and United States. He also worked for several years in industry as project manager, senior engineer and consultant. He has taught and developed undergraduate and graduate courses in power electronics, power systems, renewable energy, smart grids, control, electric machines, instrumentation, radar and remote sensing, numerical methods, space and atmosphere physics, and applied physics. His research interests included power system stability, control and protection, renewable energy system analysis, assessment and design, smart microgrids, power electronics and electric machines for non-conventional energy conversion, remote sensing, wave and turbulence, numerical modeling, electromagnetic compatibility and engineering education. During his career Dr. Belu published ten book chapters, several papers in referred journals and in conference proceedings in his areas of the research interests. He has also been PI or Co-PI for various research projects United States and abroad in power systems analysis and protection, load and energy demand forecasting, renewable energy, microgrids, wave and turbulence, radar and remote sensing, instrumentation, atmosphere physics, electromagnetic compatibility, and engineering education.

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Lucian Ionel Cioca Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu

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Lucian Ionel CIOCA received the M.Sc. in Machine Tools (1993) and B.Sc. in Occupational Safety, Health and Work Relations Management (2010). In 2002, he becomes Dr. Eng. (Ph.D degree) of Petrosani University, Romania and now he is professor at "Lucian Blaga" University of Sibiu - Romania, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Industrial Engineering and Management, Romania. His teaching subjects are Ergonomics, Management, Human Resources Management, Occupational Health and Safety Management, Production Systems Engineering. His research fields of interest are linked with the impact of the knowledge based society upon the social / human dynamics / evolution and the production systems. He regularly publishes and participates on international scientific conferences. Lucian Cioca is the Administrator of the LBUS Department of Consulting, Training and Lifelong Learning, Doctoral Advisor in Engineering and Management, Member of the National Council for Attestation of Academic Titles, Diplomas and Certificates, evaluator ARACIS (The Romanian Agency for Quality Assurance in Higher Education), and other (email: lucian.cioca@ulbsibiu).

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Richard Chiou Drexel University (Eng. & Eng. Tech.)

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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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The complexity of real-life power system problems requires the use of modern, multiple and advanced computing tools and packages. Moreover, the use of software application tools in day-to-day power system operation and management began several decades ago and has gained momentum. Since then power system engineers developed a wide range of sophisticated software applications for power system analysis, operation, modeling and management. These tools and software applications are now playing an indispensable role in planning, operation, and control of power systems. As power systems have become increasingly complex there is a critical need to make available improved tools for training students and/or professional already working in these industries. Over the years, computer simulation programs have played an important role in providing students with a better understanding of power system or electric machines operation, analysis, characteristics or modeling. An attractive way of teaching topics in power engineering is the use of symbolic software packages, such Mathematica, Maple, Mathcad, etc. These are interactive environments for computation, visualization, and modeling that can be used to analyze a wide variety of dynamic systems, including linear, non-linear, discrete-time, continuous-time, or hybrid systems. Symbolic computational tools are widely used in a variety of engineering and sciences’ fields, among others in physics, mechanics, electromagnetics, circuit analysis, electric machines, power electronics, or power engineering. These packages are designed to obtain explicit symbolic solutions to engineering and scientific problems. In addition, a variety of numeric computational algorithms and techniques have also been integrated into these tools to help with both the solution and visualization of these problems. Numeric computational tools designed to numerically solve and visualize a variety of mathematical problems, such as MATLAB now also include symbolic capabilities, transforming these programs into symbolic-assisted numeric computational tools. There were several pioneering works performed to develop, apply and use symbolic computational tools in the areas of the power engineering, electric machines and energy conversion. This paper is focused on a discussion of the software packages are used, and how they can be used to improve power engineering education. The advantages and disadvantages of the use of symbolic computations in teaching and learning of power engineering course are discussed in details in this paper. The use of symbolic computation in power systems, from the tools used for power system analysis, to its application in the classroom to facilitate the explanation and understanding of complex models and concepts such as device modeling and simulation is presented. Lessons learned are also included and feedback and suggestions from other educators are welcomed. Examples regarding symbolic computation in power related courses are provided and discussed.

Belu, R. G., & Cioca, L. I., & Chiou, R. (2017, June), Symbolic Computation Applications in Power Engineering Education Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28896

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