Development of a thermal systems course for a power engineering technology program
A new power engineering technology program has been created in the department of Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution at the Texas A&M University with the objective of educating and preparing students for jobs in the Power Industry. As part of the new curriculum, several new courses have been developed to satisfy ABET requirements and the power industry needs. Development of a thermal systems course specifically for the power industry presents several challenges and opportunities. The course should be able to prepare students for an extensive range of thermal system problems commonly encountered in the field by introducing lecture materials from different engineering disciplines in an organized manner. In this paper, the structure and content of a new thermal system course are described within the context of engineering technology. The course covers topics such as fluid properties; mass and energy conservation principles; fluid systems including friction losses in pipes, pumps, pumppiping system interaction; thermodynamics power cycles; conduction and convection heat transfer; analysis and design of heat exchangers; and cooling towers. The course also consists of a laboratory component where specific emphasis is given to thermal system hardware design and selection, and analysis and performance optimization of thermal systems through computational activities. The course laboratory activities also include hands-on exercises where students learn to characterize the performance of a commercial pump system, a convective heat transfer device, a lab-scale Rankine cycle, and lab-scale ground source heat pump. In the course, students also learn about the importance of component integration and how it affects the overall performance of a conventional thermal system. American Society for Engineering Education, 2010.