Research Papers: Heat and Mass Transfer

Hands-On Workshops to Assist in Students' Conceptual Understanding of Heat Transfer

[+] Author and Article Information
Christopher F. Cirenza, Thomas E. Diller, Christopher B. Williams

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Virginia Tech,
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Contributed by the Heat Transfer Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF HEAT TRANSFER. Manuscript received March 4, 2017; final manuscript received March 14, 2018; published online May 22, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Amitabh Narain.

J. Heat Transfer 140(9), 092001 (May 22, 2018) (10 pages) Paper No: HT-17-1116; doi: 10.1115/1.4039759 History: Received March 04, 2017; Revised March 14, 2018

A two-year study was conducted to engage undergraduate mechanical engineering students to approach heat transfer education in an active, hands-on manner and excite them to pursue research and graduate studies in the field. Physical workshops were designed and implemented into junior level heat transfer classes, allowing students to feel and observe heat transfer using heat flux and temperature sensors that provided real-time data. These instruments, coupled with open-ended, challenge-based pedagogy, provided opportunities for students to explore important heat transfer concepts, such as the differences between heat and temperature. The conceptual knowledge of the students was assessed through concept-specific questions. These results were compared to those of a control group who took the traditional lecture without the workshops. The results yielded significantly higher scores for the experimental group in the first year but much less of a difference in the second year, which added video-enhanced workshops in place of the purely hands-on workshops. In addition to concept questions, surveys taken by the students reveal that the students much preferred the workshops in either form over not having them. They also believed the workshops strongly enhanced their learning by giving them a real, hands-on experience.

Copyright © 2018 by ASME
Your Session has timed out. Please sign back in to continue.


Nottis, K. E. K. , Prince, M. , Vigenat, M. , Nelson, S. , and Hartsock, K. , 2009, “ Undergraduate Engineering Student's Understanding of Heat, Temperature and Radiation,” Northeastern Educational Research Association Annual Conference Proceedings, Rocky Hill, CT, Oct. 21--23, Paper No. 10-24-2004. https://opencommons.uconn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.google.co.in/&httpsredir=1&article=1033&context=nera_2009
Prince, M. J. , and Felder, R. M. , 2006, “ Inductive Teaching and Learning Methods: Definitions, Comparisons, and Research Bases,” J. Eng. Educ., 95(2), pp. 123–138. [CrossRef]
Wankat, P. , and Oreovicz, F. , 1993, Teaching Engineering, McGraw-Hill, New York.
Prince, M. , Vigeant, M. , and Nottis, K. , 2010, “ Assessing Misconceptions of Undergraduate Engineering Students in the Thermal Sciences,” Int. J. Eng. Edu., 26(4), pp. 880–890.
Self, B. P. , Miller, R. L. , Kean, A. , Moore, T. J. , Ogletree, T. , and Schrieber, F. , 2008, “ Important Student Misconceptions in Mechanics and Thermal Science: Identification Using Model-Eliciting Activities,” 38th Annual Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE), Saratoga Springs, NY, Oct. 22–25, pp. S2G1-S2G6.
Jacobi, A. , Martin, J. K. , Mitchell, J. , and Newell, T. , 2003, “ A Concept Inventory for Heat Transfer,” 33rd Annual Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE), Boulder, CO, Nov. 5–8, Paper No. 0-7803-7961-6/03.
Prince, M. , Vigeant, M. , and Nottis, K. , 2012, “ Development of the Heat and Energy Concept Inventory: Preliminary Results on the Prevalence and Persistence of Engineering Students' Misconceptions,” J. Eng. Educ., 101(3), pp. 412–438.
Miller, R. L. , Streveler, R. A. , Olds, B. M. , Chi, M. T. H. , Nelson, M. A. , and Geist, M. R. , 2006, “ Misconceptions about Rate Processes: Preliminary Evidence for the Importance of Emergent Conceptual Schemas in Thermal and Transport Sciences,” American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference, Chicago, IL, June 18–21, Paper No. 2006-1014. https://peer.asee.org/misconceptions-about-rate-processes-preliminary-evidence-for-the-importance-of-emergent-conceptual-schemas-in-thermal-and-transport-sciences.pdf.
Streveler, R. A. , Litzinger, T. A. , Miller, R. L. , and Steif, P. S. , 2008, “ Learning Conceptual Knowledge in the Engineering Sciences: Overview and Future Research Directions,” J. Eng. Educ., 97(3), pp. 279–294. [CrossRef]
Bransford, J. D. , Brown, A. L. , and Cocking, R. R. , eds., 2000, How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School, National Academy Press, Washington, DC.
Pellegrino, J. W. , 2006, “ Rethinking and Redesigning Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment: What Contemporary Research and Theory Suggests,” A Paper Commissioned by the National Center on Education and the Economy for the New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce, Washington, DC.
Albanese, M. A. , and Mitchell, S. , 1993, “ Problem-Based Learning: A Review of Literature on Its Outcomes and Implementation Issues,” Acad. Med., 68(1), pp. 52–81. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Vanderbilt University, 2009, “Star Legacy Modules,” Iris Center for Faculty Enhancement, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, accessed Mar. 15, 2018, http://iris.peabody.vanderbilt.edu/hpl/chalcycle.htm
Barr, R. , Pandy, M. , Petrosino, A. , Roselli, R. , Brophy, S. , and Freeman, R. , 2007, “ Challenge-Based Instruction: The VaNTH Biomechanics Learning Modules,” Adv. Eng. Educ., 1(1), pp. 1–30. http://advances.asee.org/?publication=challenge-based-instruction-the-vanth-biomechanics-learning-modules
Roselli, R. J. , and Brophy, S. P. , 2003, “ Redesigning a Biomechanics Course Using Challenge-Based Instruction,” IEEE Eng. Med. Biol. Mag., 22(4), pp. 66–70. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Martin, T. , Rivale, S. D. , and Diller, K. R. , 2007, “ Comparison of Student Learning in Challenge-Based and Traditional Instruction in Biomedical Engineering,” Ann. Biomed. Eng., 35(8), pp. 1312–1323. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Rayne, K. , Martin, T. , Brophy, S. , Kemp, N. J. , Hart, J. D. , and Diller, K. R. , 2006, “ The Development of Adaptive Expertise in Biomedical Engineering Ethics,” J. Eng. Educ., 95(2), pp. 165–173. [CrossRef]
Cordray, D. S. , Harris, T. R. , and Klein, S. , 2009, “ A Research Synthesis of the Effectiveness, Replicability, and Generality of the VaNTH Challenge-Based Instructional Modules in Bioengineering,” J. Eng. Educ., 98(4), pp. 335–348. [CrossRef]
Roselli, R. J. , and Brophy, S. P. , 2006, “ Effectiveness of Challenge-Based Instruction in Biomechanics,” J. Eng. Educ., 95(4), pp. 311–324. [CrossRef]
Prince, M. J. , and Vigeant, M. , 2006, “ Using Inquiry-Based Activities to Promote Understanding of Critical Engineering Concepts,” ASEE Annual Conference, Chicago, IL, Apr., Paper No. 2006-1379.
Nottis, K. E. K. , Prince, M. J. , and Vigeant, M. A. , 2009, “ Building an Understanding of Heat Transfer Concepts in Undergraduate Chemical Engineering Courses,” US-China Educ. Rev., 7(2), pp. 1–9.
Golter, P. B. , Van Wie, B. J. , Scuderi, P. V. , Henderson, T. W. , Dueben, R. , Brown, G. R. , and Thomson, W. J. , 2005, “ Combining Modern Learning Pedagogies in Fluid Mechanics and Heat Transfer,” Chem. Eng. Educ., 39(4), pp. 280–287. http://hdl.handle.net/2376/535
Van Wie, B. J. , Poshusta, J. C. , Greenelee, R. D. , and Brereton, R. A. , 1994, “ Fun Ways to Learn Fluid Mechanics and Heat Transfer,” Chem. Eng. Educ., 28(3), pp. 188–192.
Minerick, A. , 2009, “ A Desktop Experiment Module: Heat Transfer,” ASEE 2009 Annual Conference, Austin, TX, June 14–17, Paper No. AC 2009-1609 https://peer.asee.org/a-desktop-experiment-module-heat-transfer.pdf.
Abdul, B. , Shide, E. , Bako, R. , Golter, P. , Babauta, J. , Van Wie, B. , and Brown, G. , 2009, “ An Evaluation of Pedagogical Gains in a Fluid Flow Class When Using Desktop Learning Modules in an African University,” ASEE 2009 Annual Conference, Austin, TX, June 14–17, Paper No. AC 2009-1122.
Millard, D. , Choulikha, M. , and Berry, F. , 2007, “ Improving Student Intuition Via Rensselaer's New Mobile Studio Pedagogy,” ASEE 2007 Annual Conference, Honolulu, HW, June 24–27, Paper no. AC 2007-1222. https://peer.asee.org/2538.pdf
Belcher, J. , Dourmashkin, P. , and Dori, Y. , 2004, “ Technology Enabled Active Learning (TEAL): Studio Physics at MIT,” Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, accessed Mar. 15, 2018, http://gallery.carnegiefoundation.org/collections/keep/jbelcher
Clark , R., Jr. , Flowers, G. H. , Doolittle, P. , Meehan, K. , and Hendricks, R. W. , 2009, “ Work in Progress—Transitioning Lab-in-a-Box (LiaB0) to the Community College Setting,” 39th ASEE/IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE), San Antonio, TX, Oct. 18–21, pp. 1–6.


Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

(a) (top) Screen shot of the LabVIEW program showing real time temperature and heat flux measurements from the fin, (b) (bottom left) averaged output data calculated using matlab, and (c) (bottom right) resultant plots from matlab

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Results from final 19-question concept inventory split into the six different concepts they tested

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Total scores on concept retention quiz from all of the previous year's heat transfer class sections

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Percentage of students answering the energy balance question correctly for the different sections

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

Sensor introductory video screen shots showing: (top) an actual heat flux sensor and thermocouple and (bottom) a heat flux sensor diagram

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

Control volume and thermal resistance diagrams for the first workshop to help the students relate their experiment to problems they solve on tests and for homework



Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging and repositioning the boxes below.

Related Journal Articles
Related eBook Content
Topic Collections

Sorry! You do not have access to this content. For assistance or to subscribe, please contact us:

  • TELEPHONE: 1-800-843-2763 (Toll-free in the USA)
  • EMAIL: asmedigitalcollection@asme.org
Sign In