Asee peer logo

Using Asme Performance Test Codes In The Undergraduate Mechanical Engineering Curriculum

Download Paper |


2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Thermodynamics and Fluid Mechanics Instruction

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1536.1 - 12.1536.18

Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Philip Gerhart University of Evansville

visit author page

Philip Gerhart is the Dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science and a professor of mechanical and civil engineering at the University of Evansville in Indiana. He is a member of the ASEE Engineering Deans Council. He is a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and serves on their Performance Test Codes Standards Committee. He chairs the PTC committee on Steam Generators and is vice-chair of the committee on Fans.

visit author page


Andrew Gerhart Lawrence Technological University

visit author page

Andrew Gerhart is an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Lawrence Technological University. He is actively involved in ASEE, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and the Engineering Society of Detroit. He serves as Faculty Advisor for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Student Chapter at LTU and is the Thermal-Fluids Laboratory Coordinator. He is on the ASME PTC committee on Air-Cooled Condensers.

visit author page


Bruce Cain Mississippi State University

visit author page

Bruce L. Cain is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Mississippi State University. He teaches courses in laboratory techniques and experiment design, and traditional courses in energy conversion, system dynamics and automation, and materials engineering. His research focus is hydrogen interaction with materials and sustainable energy technologies. He is a member of ASME and SME, and serves as the ASME Student Section Advisor at Mississippi State.

visit author page

Download Paper |

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

Using ASME Performance Test Codes in the Undergraduate Mechanical Engineering Curriculum


The American Society of Mechanical Engineers Performance Test Codes (ASME-PTCs) are documents promulgated to standardize the testing of mechanical equipment. The primary emphasis of the PTCs is equipment used in power generation, however, PTCs are also available to guide testing of more widely used equipment. The Codes are written so that they can be incorporated into an equipment purchase contract for use in conducting an acceptance test, and they are meant to be applied to a field test as opposed to a laboratory or shop test. There are about 40 “equipment codes” and about 15 “supplements” covering fundamental measurement techniques and test (measurement) uncertainty.

The PTCs can provide a useful bridge between college courses in the energy stem and instrumentation/measurement and the “real world”. Also, the introduction to the ASME Codes and Standards activity and the part that individual engineers play in developing voluntary standards is obvious link to the topics of professional ethics and volunteerism.

There are several ways that the PTCs might be used in undergraduate instruction:

• They might serve as textbooks or reference materials for lecture or laboratory courses • Students may be asked to conduct a PTC-like test on a piece of equipment • A PTC or a portion of it may be assigned for reading, after which students give written or oral reports. • PTCs may serve as reference material in student (experiment) design courses.

This paper reports on experiences using the Performance Test Codes at three different universities and in three different ways. At a small liberal arts-based university students taking an elective course in turbomachinery were required to design and conduct a PTC-quality test on a pump, using the appropriate PTC as a guide. At a medium-sized technical university, students read and reported on PTCs as part of a senior thermal science laboratory course. At a large research university PTCs were used as reference material in a laboratory capstone design course. In addition to instructor’s experiences, assessment data from student surveys are presented.

1. Introduction to Performance Test Codes

A. What Are Performance Test Codes The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Performance Test Codes (PTCs) provide uniform rules and procedures for planning, preparation, and execution of performance tests and for reporting the results 1,2. A performance test is an engineering evaluation, based on measurements and calculations, whose results indicate how well the functions of equipment are accomplished. PTCs began as “Power Test Codes” decades ago, so their main emphasis is on power plants and the equipment therein. The first engineering standard of any type issued by ASME was a “PTC”: Rules for Conducting Boiler Tests, published in 1884. Today, there are about 40 PTCs covering specific equipment, entire systems,

Gerhart, P., & Gerhart, A., & Cain, B. (2007, June), Using Asme Performance Test Codes In The Undergraduate Mechanical Engineering Curriculum Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2007 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015