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Integration of Gas Turbine Education in an Undergraduate Thermodynamics Course

[+] Author Affiliations
Blace C. Albert, A. Özer Arnas

U.S. Military Academy, West Point, NY

Paper No. GT2002-30153, pp. 845-851; 7 pages
  • ASME Turbo Expo 2002: Power for Land, Sea, and Air
  • Volume 1: Turbo Expo 2002
  • Amsterdam, The Netherlands, June 3–6, 2002
  • Conference Sponsors: International Gas Turbine Institute
  • ISBN: 0-7918-3606-1 | eISBN: 0-7918-3601-0
  • Copyright © 2002 by ASME


The mission of the United States Military Academy (USMA) is “To educate, train, and inspire the Corps of Cadets so that each graduate is a commissioned leader of character committed to the values of Duty, Honor, Country; professional growth throughout a career as an officer in the United States Army; and a lifetime of selfless service to the nation.” [1] In order to accomplish this mission, USMA puts their cadets through a 47-month program that includes a variety of military training, and college courses totaling about 150 credit-hours. Upon completion of the program, cadets receive a Bachelor of Science degree and become Second Lieutenants in the United States Army. A very unique aspect of the academic program at USMA is that each cadet is required to take a minimum of five engineering classes regardless of their major or field of study. This means that about 500 cadets will have taken the one-semester course in thermodynamics. The thermodynamics course taught at USMA is different from others throughout the country because within every class there is a mixture of cadets majoring in engineering and those that are in other majors, i.e. languages, history [2]. Topics on gas turbine machinery have been integrated into this unique thermodynamics course. Because the cadets will encounter gas turbines throughout their service in the Army, we feel that it is important for all of the students, not just engineering majors, to learn about gas turbines, their operation, and their applications. This is accomplished by four methods. The first is in a classroom environment. Cadets learn how actual gas turbines work, how to model them, and learn how to solve problems. Thermodynamics instructors have access to several actual gas turbines used in military applications to aid in cadet learning. The second method occurs in the laboratory where cadets take measurements and analyze an operational auxiliary power unit (APU) from an Army helicopter. The third method occurs in the form of a design project. The engineering majors redesign the cogeneration plant that exists here at West Point. Many of them use a topping cycle in this design. The final method is a capstone design project. During the 2001–02 academic year, three cadets are improving the thermodynamic laboratories. Among their tasks are designing a new test stand for the APU, increasing the benefit of the gas turbine laboratory through more student interaction, and designing a web-based gas turbine pre-laboratory instruction to compliment the actual laboratory exercise.

Copyright © 2002 by ASME



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