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Revising Thermo/Fluids Education for the 21st Century

[+] Author Affiliations
Timothy C. Scott, Robert J. Ribando

University of Virginia

Paper No. IMECE2006-13536, pp. 73-79; 7 pages
  • ASME 2006 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Innovations in Engineering Education: Mechanical Engineering Education, Mechanical Engineering Technology Department Heads
  • Chicago, Illinois, USA, November 5 – 10, 2006
  • Conference Sponsors: Mechanical Engineering Education, Mechanical Engineering Technology Department Heads
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4781-0 | eISBN: 0-7918-3790-4
  • Copyright © 2006 by ASME


During the 1960s, major revisions took place in undergraduate thermo/fluids (thermodynamics, fluid mechanics and heat transfer) textbooks and in the pedagogy used to teach these disciplines. In the decades since, students and instructors have both changed. Many students arrive with less-than-adequate mathematics and study skills, rely almost exclusively on the Internet for reference materials, and have very little "hands on" knowledge of how things work. The number of instructors with practical expertise or industrial experience has decreased markedly as well. Yet the methods by which material is presented and the tools and resources students are exposed to have not changed sufficiently. In contrast, the tools available in industry have improved significantly and the knowledge needed by graduates to use these tools has not kept pace. This paper looks at how thermo/fluids has evolved over the past five decades and points out some areas that are not receiving sufficient attention. These include the use of computers as teaching aids, the training of students in the software packages prevalent in modern industry, and the need to update the database of design information. The almost exclusive use of the Internet and other non-refereed sources of information by students is also a significant problem that needs addressing.

Copyright © 2006 by ASME



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