Modeling and simulation exercises are an important component of engineering education. In thermal and energy system courses, design of a heat exchanger or solution of a piping network are common exercises assigned to the students as open-ended projects or design problems. However, the majority of these types of exercises are still limited to obtaining a satisfactory solution. The main benefit of simulation exercises for engineering students lies in numerical experimentation of the model that can determine an operational envelope of components such as a heat exchanger or systems such as a gas turbine.
The objective of the paper is to evaluate effectiveness and efficacy of modeling and simulations projects that are being used in two courses: Design of Thermal Systems and Energy Engineering, Design of Thermal Systems course is a required course for seniors whereas Energy Engineering course is an elective course for senior students. In Design of Thermal Systems course, two simulation projects, one on piping systems and another on power systems such as a land-based gas turbine system or an IC engine of an automobile, are used for this paper. In Energy Engineering course, a simulation project of renewable energy systems such as solar PV systems and wind farms is used for evaluation purpose.
The criteria for evaluation is based on the performance indicators of student learning outcomes, outcome (c) an ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability and outcome (e) an ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems, that are being used in ABET accreditation of the department. Both direct method of assessment, performance indicators for student learning outcomes, and an indirect method of assessment, student survey, are used to determine effectiveness and efficacy of modeling and simulations projects.
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