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Undergraduate Freshman Developing Advanced Research Project: Learn-by-Discovery Module to Investigate Energy Efficiency and Energy Conservation Principles

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Green and Sustainable Manufacturing Practices

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Irina Nicoleta Ciobanescu Husanu Drexel University (Tech.)

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Irina Ciobanescu Husanu, Ph. D. is Assistant Clinical Professor with Drexel University, Engineering Technology program. Her area of expertise is in thermo-fluid sciences with applications in micro-combustion, fuel cells, green fuels and plasma assisted combustion. She has prior industrial experience in aerospace engineering that encompasses both theoretical analysis and experimental investigations such as designing and testing of propulsion systems including design and development of pilot testing facility, mechanical instrumentation, and industrial applications of aircraft engines. Also, in the past 10 years she gained experience in teaching ME and ET courses in both quality control and quality assurance areas as well as in thermal-fluid, energy conversion and mechanical areas from various levels of instruction and addressed to a broad spectrum of students, from freshmen to seniors, from high school graduates to adult learners. She also has extended experience in curriculum development. Dr Husanu developed laboratory activities for Measurement and Instrumentation course as well as for quality control undergraduate and graduate courses in ET Masters program. Also, she introduced the first experiential activity for Applied Mechanics courses. She is coordinator and advisor for capstone projects for Engineering Technology.

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Carlos Michael Ruiz Drexel University (Eng. & Eng. Tech.)


Benjamin G Cohen Drexel Department of Engineering Technology

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Undergraduate Studying Engineering Technology with a dual concentration in Mechanical and Electrical fields.

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Sarah Renee Andrieux

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Drexel University Class of 2021, BS Mechanical Engineering

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STEM has been a heavily invested topic within school curricula. A persistent problem with science, technology and engineering related efforts is the ever-burdening costs of the student laboratory experiments. Also, the space associated with laboratory activities, from storage to laboratory to waste removal is constant deterrent for integration of new projects in the curricula. Therefore theory becomes more and more disconnected from its applications. It is important to have cost efficient modules available to integrate real-life applications into theoretical traditional lectures. Over the years several methods have been employed to enhance student learning and increase student exposure to competency-based education. These methods range from multimedia developments, problem-based and project based learning, collaborative learning and cooperative education. A diverse number of published papers emphasized algorithms of improving student understanding and concept retention in thermal-fluid sciences type of courses, calling attention to the important role of learning-by-discovery approach. We describe a freshman student’s project development as well as the subsequent learning modules developed for a variety of sophomore to pre-junior courses in thermal-fluid sciences and also in courses related to teaching fundamentals of renewable energy sources. The assessment of the implementation of some of the experimental activities during the first year is presented. Experiential activities will be described in such detail, so they can be replicated by any interested program or instructor, including a clear alignment of the Student Learning Objectives with measurable course assessment and evaluation tools and methods. The project was created by a mechanical engineering freshman student within the university’s STAR (Students Tackling Advanced Research) scholars program, under the guidance and mentorship of one of the authors and faculty with Engineering Technology Department. This program is designed to attract young creative minds in their first-year to participate in faculty-mentored innovative or creative work or research during the summer after their freshman year. The project developed involved a dual air and water system, using motor and pump as well as appropriate instrumentation to measure desired parameters in order to estimate and quantify energy and subsequently efficiency of the subsystems or components. The student developed competencies in the area of analytical modeling, CAD 3D modeling to simulate final design assembly, additive manufacturing, and system integration. Student also explored concepts from fluid mechanics and thermodynamics while performing research. The objective was to create a system capable of capturing energy transfer and conversion between two coupled fluid systems. The total cost of the system was less than $800 to create, while sophisticated educational experimental setups normally cost upwards of $1,500. With this assembly, educational institutions could replicate similar experimental modules that are efficient and cost effective. Learning modules provide an enhancement to student learning outcomes as students become engaged to understanding the physical system and its functionality that may not appear clearly on paper. This project was successfully completed and analyzed for data collection through thermal imaging, strobe tachometer, integrated thermocouples, flow meters, and pressure gauges within the subsystems.

Ciobanescu Husanu, I. N., & Ruiz, C. M., & Cohen, B. G., & Andrieux, S. R. (2018, June), Undergraduate Freshman Developing Advanced Research Project: Learn-by-Discovery Module to Investigate Energy Efficiency and Energy Conservation Principles Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--31166

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