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Using Available Faculty Expertise To Add Relevance To A First Course In Heat Transfer

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Thermal Systems

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1400.1 - 10.1400.7



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Paper Authors

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Robert Edwards

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

Session 2266

Using Available Faculty Expertise to Add Relevance to a First Course in Heat Transfer

Robert Edwards Pennsylvania State University at Erie

Martin Dropik Pennsylvania State University at Erie

Robert Simoneau Pennsylvania State University at Erie


Heat transfer courses for mechanical engineering students are typically lecture based, but often include an open ended project to provide a real world application for the theory being taught. Students often work in teams to produce a final report on their project. This helps to tie together the course and give relevance to the material being taught.

At Penn State Erie the open ended project has been taken one step further. A faculty member with expertise in some area of heat transfer is brought into the classroom early in each semester to make a presentation related to the semester long project with the intention of creating interest among the students in the project. The faculty expert remains available on an ongoing basis to serve as a consultant for the students, and comes back to the class one or two more times to present more advanced information about the project. The students complete the project requirements at their level of expertise, but the experts go another step to demonstrate other analysis methods using commercially available software commonly in use in industry.

This method has been used for two years with good success. The first year the students were required to design a cooling system for an injection mold for a plastic part, and the second year the project was to design a heat sink to cool a Pentium 4 processor. In the second year the project went another step adding a non-graded competition to determine the best heat sink design. These projects provide a theme to build the class on each year, help to maintain the students’ interest level in the course and demonstrate the relevance of the material to actual applications.

This paper describes the role of the faculty experts in facilitating the semester project, and how it has already changed in the first two years. The two projects which have been used are outlined, and a summary of results is included.


Semester projects for heat transfer courses are common for mechanical engineering students. The projects provide a means to tie together the material being taught during the semester, and help to give the students a feel for the relevance of the subject. These projects are typically

“Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2005, American Society for Engineering Education”

Edwards, R. (2005, June), Using Available Faculty Expertise To Add Relevance To A First Course In Heat Transfer Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15325

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