Contributing USMA Research Unit(s)

Center for Innovation and Engineering, Civil and Mechanical Engineering

Publication Date

Spring 5-26-2021

Publication Title

5th and 6th Thermal and Fluids Engineering Conference (TFEC)

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Abstract

Heat exchangers are a fundamental part of many industrial and household devices, and a focus in the United States Military Academy at West Point’s undergraduate heat transfer course within the school’s Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering. Recently, the department expanded laboratory capabilities to enhance student learning through hands-on experimentation. Prior to this project, a heat exchanger laboratory did not exist for student use, so a new apparatus was designed, developed, built, tested, and will be implemented as a laboratory experience in West Point’s heat transfer course. The experimental apparatus includes a fan-cooled heat sink, a high-efficiency water heater, two pumps for water circulation, and numerous valves to change both the direction and route of the flows. This design allows students to test three types of heat exchangers: shell-in-tube, concentric, and flat plate. These devices allow students to evaluate parallel-flow, counter-flow, and cross-flow heat exchangers. The test section is instrumented with flow meters for the hot and cold flows as well as thermocouples at the entrance and exit of each heat exchanger. As part of this laboratory experience, students measure, collect, and analyze data, compare experimental results to theory, and assess error and uncertainty. This heat exchanger laboratory provide realistic, hands-on experience with experimental apparatus, laboratory procedure, instrumentation, and engineering technicians, all of which help students gain physical understanding of the thermal-fluids concepts.

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