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Using Animations to Enhance Understanding of Energy System Concepts

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Computing in the classroom

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.1306.1 - 23.1306.14



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Paper Authors


B. K. Hodge Mississippi State University

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B. K. Hodge is Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering at Mississippi State University (MSU). Prior to retirement, he served as the TVA Professor of Energy Systems and the Environment and was a Giles Distinguished Professor and a Grisham Master Teacher. Since retirement, he has continued to be involved in teaching and research at MSU. Hodge has served as President of the Southeastern Section of the ASEE and Chair of the Mechanical Engineering Division of the ASEE. He is a Fellow of the American Society for Engineering Education and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

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Govinda Mahajan Mississippi State Univeristy

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Using Animations to Enhance Understanding of Energy System Concepts AbstractTraditional engineering education presentations use static pictures/illustrations tovisualize/demonstrate various concepts, some of which can be quite involved. In manyinstances, the sequence of static pictures is interspersed with explanations to deepenunderstanding of the physical concepts. Since animation software and animation developmentare becoming less expensive and more common, animations that will reduce lecture time devotedto a topic and enhance student understanding are becoming more affordable. This paper willexplore the effectiveness of several animation examples taken from an energy systems designcourse. In the paper, traditional modes of presentation of material will be examined and thensnippets of animations pertaining to the subject will be previewed. Animations permit salientfeatures of phenomena to be combined in a readily visible fashion for understanding. Examplesof animations in the proposed paper include water hammer, fluid hydraulics, and heat exchangerflow configurations. The paper will examine in detail the water hammer animation since it is agood example that illustrates many facets of water hammer. In particular the water hammeranimation provides explicit details of the following: (1) traveling water hammer waves, (2) pipedistensions for compression and expansion waves, (3) waves reflections from solid walls as wellas free surfaces, (4) periodical nature of some water hammer scenarios, and (5) identification ofcompression and expansion waves. All of the aforementioned phenomena can be shown on astatic illustration/diagram, but the animation in more effective in demonstrating the scope of thewater hammer phenomena. Indeed, in a likely forthcoming new edition of an energy systemdesign textbook, animations are to be included in the instructor support material available fromthe publisher.The authors estimate that thirty-forty animations could be effectively used in the energy systemsdesign course. In a semester that is about an animation presentation per lecture (MWF format).Thus, use of an animation per lecture period provides another “change in focus” to separatedifferent classroom activity sequences that enhance student attention. Anecdotal experiencescomparing the effectiveness of the animations as compared to traditional coverage will bediscussed.

Hodge, B. K., & Mahajan, G. (2013, June), Using Animations to Enhance Understanding of Energy System Concepts Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--22691

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