Design and construction of a lab-scale ground source heat pump
Undergraduate engineering and engineering technology students are in need of rigorous and multi-faceted hands-on activities to enhance their self-confidence and technical skills. Very few courses give students the opportunity to approach practical design and production problems in a holistic manner. Senior design courses or capstone projects frequently give students the opportunity to design complex or multi-component systems in a timely effective manner. However, most capstone design projects are only concerned with the design itself and not with production, construction, or implementation of the design outcomes because of time restriction or lack of resources. In this paper, a case study is presented which shows how two groups of students undertook the design and construction of a lab-scale ground source heat pump (GSHP). The first group was responsible for the design and component selection of the GSHP. As part of the design process, the students derived and specified an appropriate performance metric based on the first law of thermodynamics which was then used to guide the design optimization process. As a result, size, weight and cost of the system were determined and optimized computationally. A second group of students built a GSHP taking into account the established design attributes and a limited budget. After successful construction and installation of the lab-scale GSHP, undergraduate students in engineering technology are now able to experimentally measure its performance under various experimental conditions. © American Society for Engineering Education, 2007.
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