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The Use of Mathcad Functions in Teaching an Undergraduate Aerospace Propulsion Course

[+] Author Affiliations
Kevin H. Macfarlan

John Brown University, Siloam Springs, AR

Stephen T. McClain

Baylor University, Waco, TX

Paper No. GT2011-46097, pp. 505-510; 6 pages
doi:10.1115/GT2011-46097
From:
  • ASME 2011 Turbo Expo: Turbine Technical Conference and Exposition
  • Volume 3: Controls, Diagnostics and Instrumentation; Education; Electric Power; Microturbines and Small Turbomachinery; Solar Brayton and Rankine Cycle
  • Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, June 6–10, 2011
  • Conference Sponsors: International Gas Turbine Institute
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5463-1
  • Copyright © 2011 by ASME

abstract

This paper investigates the educational efficacy of using a set of Mathcad functions in teaching a typical undergraduate course in Aerospace Propulsion. This approach runs counter to two other methods often utilized in this type of course. The first, a traditional, time-consuming technique, requires students to solve problems by hand using tabular property data. The second is to supply students with a computer algorithm which calculates engine performance in a “black-box” fashion. The approach in this study attempted to bridge the divide between these two methods, incorporating the best features of each. The inclusion of Mathcad functions reduced the time required in performing mindless interpolations while still requiring the students to master the basic Thermodynamic principles required when modeling modern gas turbine engines, as verified by in-class testing. Feedback from students is presented, as well as some unexpected lessons learned from the study. Modifications to the functions are also provided.

Copyright © 2011 by ASME

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