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Technology Hospital Collaboration In Thermodynamics: Experience With Actual Student Projects

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Real World Applications

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1250.1 - 10.1250.11



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Paper Authors

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Joseph Fuehne

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David Lenart

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

Session 2249

TECHNOLOGY-HOSPITAL COLLABORATION IN THERMODYNAMICS: EXPERIENCE WITH ACTUAL STUDENT PROJECTS Joe Fuehne, Ph.D., P.E. and David Lenart, P.E., MBA Purdue University School of Technology at Columbus-Southeast Indiana/ Columbus Regional Hospital


A previous work1 by the authors outlined a partnership between their institutions that focused on providing mechanical engineering technology students some practical experience with the thermodynamic systems of a hospital. Several potential projects were summarized in the paper and benefits to both students and to the hospital employees were identified.

Although a previous junior-level Applied Thermodynamics class only toured the hospital facilities, current students in the same class are required to investigate steam generation and use at the hospital. Research, testing and analysis of the boiler systems are required as is a written report and final oral presentation. The final written reports are also to be provided to the hospital for the education of the staff.

Columbus Regional Hospital has three boilers for creating steam. Two of the boilers are fire-tube boilers, while the third is a water-tube boiler. Generally, only the fire-tube boilers are operating as the water-tube boiler functions as a back-up system. Two groups of three students each are asked to analyze the boiler to determine its efficiency. One group is asked to study alternative fuels to compare with natural gas and while the other group determines the effect of utilizing an economizer to pre-heat the water.

These projects address several program outcomes including teamwork, written and oral communications and ethics as well as the thermodynamic technical content.


Thermodynamics is admittedly a challenging science for both students and teachers. Concepts including entropy, enthalpy and internal energy are difficult to learn. Real world applications are valuable in assisting students in identifying thermodynamics at work in their world. For this reason, the authors, in a partnership described in more detail in a previous work 1, continue to work together to provide students in a junior- level thermodynamics class a real world experience by studying and reporting on thermodynamic systems at Columbus Regional Hospital (CRH) in Columbus, Indiana. Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Fuehne, J., & Lenart, D. (2005, June), Technology Hospital Collaboration In Thermodynamics: Experience With Actual Student Projects Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15144

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