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Using Objective-Driven Heat Transfer Lab Experiences to Simultaneously Teach Critical Thinking Skills and Technical Content

[+] Author Affiliations
Bradford A. Bruno, Ann M. Anderson

Union College

Paper No. IMECE2005-82689, pp. 177-189; 13 pages
  • ASME 2005 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Innovations in Engineering Education: Mechanical Engineering Education, Mechanical Engineering/Mechanical Engineering Technology Department Heads
  • Orlando, Florida, USA, November 5 – 11, 2005
  • Conference Sponsors: Mechanical Engineering Education
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4232-0 | eISBN: 0-7918-3769-6
  • Copyright © 2005 by ASME


The heat transfer course at Union College has been redesigned to improve critical thinking and problem solving skills, provide an understanding of the origin of the data and parameters used in heat transfer analysis, and familiarize students with modern experimental and computer analysis tools. The course is taught in the junior year and combines a 4-hr/wk lecture with a 3-hr/wk integrated lab component during a 10 week term. The lecture covers the traditional conduction, convection and radiation heat transfer material whereas in the lab students combine hands on experimental measurements with the use of sophisticated design tools. Our method for achieving the course goals is to use objective-driven lab exercises. Students are asked directed questions about a concrete problem involving heat transfer and are required to develop an experimental/numerical plan to answer the questions. Initial labs are more directed and are designed to introduce experimental / numerical analysis techniques which students may then use in the end of term design project which is more open ended. We have focused on the use of small scale inexpensive equipment which allows us to use multiple set-ups and have students work in small (2-3 person) groups. In this paper we present the weekly lab exercises and discuss how they contribute to the pedagogical goals for the lab, course, and curriculum.

Copyright © 2005 by ASME
Topics: Heat transfer



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