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Thermal Fluids Systems Engineering At The United States Air Force Academy

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

TIME 3: Thermal Systems

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.1306.1 - 9.1306.7

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Paper Authors

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Michael Maixner

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

Session 2266

Thermal Fluids Systems Engineering at the United States Air Force Academy

Michael R. Maixner, George Havener United States Air Force Academy


This paper describes the new pedagogy used to teach thermal fluid systems engineering (TFSE) to cadets who major in either mechanical engineering or engineering mechanics. Previously taught as a 4-course sequence consisting of separate and distinct subject material on Thermodynamics (ME 312), Fluid Mechanics (ME 341), Heat Transfer (ME 441), and Energy Conversion (ME 467), the current presentation integrates this subject material in each course. To reinforce the integration, the course titles have been changed to TFSE I (ME 312), TFSE II (M341), and TFSE III (ME 441). The fourth course, Energy Conversion, has become a technical elective in thermal systems design. A common text is used in all four courses. The goal of this new pedagogical approach is for the cadets to learn the fundamentals of thermal fluids systems integrally as they occur with mass, momentum, and energy transfer processes in nature. The course sequence is also supported by a thermal fluids laboratory consisting of a variety of fluid dynamic, thermodynamic, and heat transfer studies. This paper also contains details for development and implementation of the TFSE pedagogy.


The thermal-fluids coverage in the mechanical engineering (ME) and engineering mechanics (EM) curricula at the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) is undergoing a metamorphosis from the more conventional method of separate topical coverage (i.e., thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and heat transfer) to a synthesized, integrated form of instruction wherein topics from all three areas are covered in each of three terms. This method of instruction allows the cadets to see that all three areas are indeed physically connected, producing a synergism which will hopefully allow them to better understand and retain the material.


Previously, cadets in the ME and EM majors were required to complete courses in thermodynamics (ME312) and fluid mechanics (ME341); additionally, ME majors were required to take courses in heat transfer (ME441) and energy conversion (ME467). The first two columns

“Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright ©2004, American Society for Engineering Education”

Maixner, M. (2004, June), Thermal Fluids Systems Engineering At The United States Air Force Academy Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah.

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