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The Present And Future Energy Conversion Course And Laboratory At The University Of Alaska Fairbanks

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.575.1 - 3.575.6

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Paper Authors

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John Aspnes

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D. Steven Daniel

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

Session 1333

The Present and Future Energy Conversion Course and Laboratory at the University of Alaska Fairbanks

John Aspnes, D. Steven Daniel Electrical Engineering Department University of Alaska Fairbanks Fairbanks, Alaska

ABSTRACT: All undergraduate electrical engineering (EE) students are required to complete an energy conversion course at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). It is a 4-credit, one- semester course with a weekly three-hour laboratory which encourages a strong hands-on experimental component. This somewhat unique degree requirement exists because a graduate may find that she or he is the only electrical engineer within several hundred miles of a remote job site and may be expected to solve unanticipated problems outside normal areas of expertise. This paper describes the present configuration of the UAF energy conversion course and plans for future modifications. Future changes include replacing drives and motors used in laboratory exercises with more modern units, introducing Finite Element Analysis as a flux path, flux density, and saturation visualization tool, and offering an introduction to the analysis of ac machines driven by non-sinusoidal excitation. This will provide students with the background needed to understand machine performance when inverter drives are utilized.


The four-year undergraduate electrical engineering program at UAF continues to satisfy the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) accreditation requirements. Electrical engineering courses begin in the second semester of the program with an introduction to circuit analysis and characteristics of primarily passive devices. The third and fourth semesters each include a four-credit course with a weekly three-hour laboratory covering network analysis, analog and digital electronics, and an introduction to energy conversion. The fifth and sixth semesters include, as required courses, three-credit courses in circuit theory and signal analysis, two four-credit courses in physical electronics and electronic circuit design, each of which includes a weekly three-hour laboratory, and a four-credit automatic control systems course. Electric power option students enroll in the energy conversion course described in this paper in their fifth semester. Communications option and computer engineering option students take the energy conversion course during their seventh semester in the BS degree program.


The present energy conversion course, required of all undergraduate EE students, is a four-credit, one-semester course with a weekly three-hour laboratory which encourages a strong hands-on experimental component. This is particularly important because many students, particularly those in the non-power options (communications and computer engineering), are initially uneasy working with high voltage/high current equipment. There is a broad spectrum of laboratory machines ranging from small Faraday's Law Machine Laboratory and Feedback, Inc. dissectable machines, to 25 horsepower units. The course encompasses magnetic circuits,

Aspnes, J., & Daniel, D. S. (1998, June), The Present And Future Energy Conversion Course And Laboratory At The University Of Alaska Fairbanks Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington.

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