Improve teaching capacity of the Thermal-Fluid Laboratory

Project Title: Improve teaching capacity of the Thermal-Fluid Laboratory

Project Lead's Name: Mehdi Zanjani

Project Lead's Email:

Project Lead's Phone: 513-529-4188

Project Lead's Division: CEC

Primary Department: MME

List Departments Benefiting or Affected by this proposal: MME (host department), CPB

Estimated Number of Under-Graduate students affected per year (should be number who will actually use solution, not just who is it available to): 150

Estimated Number of Graduate students affected per year (should be number who will actually use solution, not just who is it available to): 10

Describe the problem you are attempting to solve and your approach for solving that problem: This proposal presents a case for acquiring a new ‘FOX 50 Heat Flow Meter’, to address the needs for Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering students to obtain hands-on experience in the core area of thermal-fluids. The main use of this device would be to provide a much-needed lab exercise and practical experience for our engineering students in the areas of heat transfer and thermal properties of materials. This device will serve as a new addition to the thermal-fluid lab equipment at MME department which is currently being revised through introduction of a new course, called ‘Thermal-Fluid Studio, MME 415’. The MME department has historically lacked a ‘heat transfer’ lab component in its curriculum, and the purchase of this Heat Flow Meter will greatly increase MME department’s teaching capabilities in this area.

Miami University’s commitment to undergraduate education requires making adjustment to curriculum to provide the best possible learning experience for our students. According to the literature of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, laboratory experience has a significant effect on student’s learning outcomes. For engineering disciplines, lab-based experiments and exercises provide one of the best platforms for implementing active learning methods and enhancing experiential learning opportunities. The purchase of the aforementioned equipment helps improve teaching capacity for engineering concepts taught in various core engineering courses. Additionally, as it pertains to students’ readiness for their future career, several major technological areas are heavily dependent on hands-on experience related to various topics in thermodynamics and heat transfer. These include design of air conditioning systems, manufacturing process and product simulation, space exploration and defense, environmental phenomena, and fundamental scientific research. In the end, the requested Heat Flow Meter becomes a fundamental learning tool for mechanical and manufacturing, as well as chemical and environmental engineers, and it will enhance the quality of students’ academic and research opportunities, as well as their preparation for professional activity.

How would you describe the innovation and/or the significance of your project: Thermal-Fluids Lab covers many different core engineering courses. Students in the MME department must take MME-CPB 313, MME-CPB 314, MME 414, and MME-CPB 403/503. Designing new experiments is an important element to keep the content offered within the thermal-fluid laboratories up-to-date and fresh. The purchase of the Heat Flow Meter opens up many new opportunities for engineering students to design and test new experiments related to thermodynamics and heat transfer problems. Our students will be able to perform thermal conductivity/diffusivity measurements and other tests on a variety of different systems. Furthermore, they will be able to use the current capabilities in the Materials and Manufacturing Labs to design and synthesize innovative materials or composite structures, and explore the thermal transport and performance of these systems using the proposed Heat Flow Meter. Additionally, the students can utilize this device to perform thermal tests in various research-based activities and design projects, thus gaining the ability to improve their innovative approaches to solve engineering problems. The capabilities associated with evaluation of thermal performance of engineering systems are not currently available in MME department.

In Summary, the equipment acquired by this proposal will:

  1. Enhance the quality of offered core engineering courses by providing extra capabilities for the students to learn and implement state-of-the-art methods in the field of thermal-fluids.
  2. Benefit all MME students and other majors in their design projects.
  3. Provide additional and needed resources to support future research projects within the department and college.
  4. Ensure the continued availability of efficient resources for courses seeking to augment their focus on thermal characterization of engineering systems, and provide an excellent platform to develop new courses.

How will you assess the success of the project: The project goal is to make a significant contribution to students’ knowledge of thermal-fluid systems and help them implement new experiments to characterize the thermal performance of desired engineering systems. The realization of this goal will be assessed through various evaluations methods:

  • End of semester course evaluations will provide feedback on the student experience with the Thermal-Fluid Lab and the implementation of heat transfer and thermodynamic concepts. Funding of this project stands to enhance the quality of this experience.
  • Data collected through the senior exit interviews, which will inquire about the quality of their experience regarding hands-on experience in heat transfer and thermodynamics.
  • Alumni surveys will provide useful information on the level of preparation established by the heat transfer lab and thermal-fluid courses.
  • Faculty input on how the availability of this equipment has helped advance the quality of their teaching.

Total Amount Requested: $34,317

Is this a multi-year request: No