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Use Of Animation For Improvement Of Student Understanding Of Energy Conversion

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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

3.601.1 - 3.601.8

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Paper Authors

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George G. Karady

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Daniel Tylavsky

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

Session 1532 PS6

Use of Animation for Improvement of Student Understanding of Energy Conversion George G. Karady, Daniel Tylavsky Arizona State University Tempe, AZ 85287, USA

1. Introduction The typical American University offers a one-semester, three-credit-hour course on energy conversion. This basic course, often mandatory for all electrical engineering students, deals with transformers, motors, generators and basic parameters of transmission lines. In addition, AC circuit theory is reviewed and phasors are regularly used for problem solving. The difficulty observed in the undergraduate program, namely low student interest, is the result of several interacting factors. Most of these factors are beyond the control of the students and instructors. One factor that affects student interest and that we, as faculty, can control, is the way we present material in the classroom. Students get bored when they do not understand what we teach and they do not understand what we teach when we offer material in a mode that is different from their natural learning mode. Research has shown that about 75% of undergraduate engineering students are visual learners while (typically) in excess of 90% of our instruction is oral and written verbal communication [1]. Further, most students (60%) learn inductively, gathering sensory data about a process then synthesizing that into an understanding (mathematical or otherwise) about the process generating the data [1]. We tend to teach to deductively, providing a general engineering principal as (usually) a mathematical equation, then ask students to deductively generate the data such a system would produce. Our goal was to provide a tool that would appeal to the inductive and visual learners while at the same time tying this understanding to the mathematics and physics of electric machine theory. To understand the fundamentals of electromechanical energy conversion, students must be able to envision how three magnetic fields (120-degrees phase-displaced in time and space) that pulsate in time can create a magnetic field that is of constant amplitude but rotates in space. Through an understanding of the laws of electromagnetic induction the student must visualize (for induction machines) how the first rotating magnetic field creates a second rotating field. Then, students must envision how the coupling between both fields leads to mechanical rotation. From 30 years of experience teaching this subject, we know how difficult it is for the students in the course. Ideally, once students understand the concepts of electric machine operation, they can then conceptually connect this understanding with the use of the equivalent electrical circuit. The circuit schematic is the tool used for arriving at quantitative answers. Few students arrive at a solid understanding of theory of electric machines; consequently, fewer students can connect this theory with the electrical schematic. This paper reports on the use of animation to improve understanding of the physics of machine operation and multimedia methods to present the technological aspects of machine construction and manufacturing.


Karady, G. G., & Tylavsky, D. (1998, June), Use Of Animation For Improvement Of Student Understanding Of Energy Conversion Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington.

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