Innovative thermofluids experiments for modern mechanical engineering education

Peter Rodgers, Shrinivas Bojanampati, Afshin Goharzadeh, Arman Molki, Valerie Eveloy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

2 Scopus citations


One of the primary objectives of the Petroleum Institute (PI) is to prepare future mechanical engineers to assume successful career paths in the oil and gas industry. Hands-on laboratory skills play a vital role in providing students with a sound understanding of the scientific fundamentals and their application in solving real-life engineering problems. The Institute's undergraduate mechanical engineering curriculum incorporates a one-semester junior level course titled Core Measurements, which is taught in a state-of-the-art measurement laboratory. This course includes two innovative hands-on experiments related to experimental heat transfer and fluid dynamics, with the objective of familiarizing the students, through simple projects, with the characterization of fundamental thermofluid phenomena. Each hands-on project consists of design, fabrication, data acquisition and validation of a simple experiment, with a formal report submitted on completion. Each project is undertaken by groups of four students over a five-week period. The first experiment characterizes conductive heat spread within a heat-source-substrate assembly representative of electronics cooling applications. The effects of heat source foot print, substrate geometry and thermal conductivity, and convective cooling conditions are investigated. The temperature distribution on the source and substrate surfaces are measured using thermocouples and infrared thermography, with substrate thermal resistance calculated and compared with analytical solutions. The second experiment aims to enhance student's learning of internal pipe flows. Single phase flows in a pipe network are characterized for different flow regimes. The pipe network consists of different diameter lines with valves for regulating and directing the flow to make up various series and parallel piping combinations. The relation between head loss due to fluid friction and velocity, pressure drop empirical laws, valve characteristics, and loss coefficient of fittings are investigated using various pressure and flow measuring techniques, including laser Doppler velocimetry (LDV). The paper documents the experiments and the teaching strategy employed to integrate fundamental theories with hands-on experiences. Sample measurement and analysis results are reported. The effectiveness of the proposed experiments in enhancing student learning of thermofluids, engineering analysis of discrepancies between predictions and measurements, and project management skills is highlighted.

Original languageBritish English
Title of host publicationProceedings of the ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition 2009, IMECE 2009
Number of pages10
StatePublished - 2010
Event2009 ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, IMECE2009 - Lake Buena Vista, FL, United States
Duration: 13 Nov 200919 Nov 2009

Publication series

NameASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, Proceedings


Conference2009 ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, IMECE2009
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityLake Buena Vista, FL


Dive into the research topics of 'Innovative thermofluids experiments for modern mechanical engineering education'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this