Workshop activities with heat flux sensors allow students to take data themselves, seeing the difference between heat flux and temperature firsthand. Hands-on education allows for better understanding of the underlying concepts.
Heat Transfer and Thermal Energy
Anywhere where a temperature difference is taking place, a transfer of heat must also be occurring. In such a fast-paced, growing, industrial world, the control and monitoring of heat transfer plays an important role in making more energy-efficient products and processes. For this reason, a solid fundamental understanding of heat transfer is critical for anyone wishing to work in the mechanical engineering field.
The concepts of heat and work were developed many years ago to explain and solve real world engineering problems. Often, the amount of heat transfer occuring within various industrial processes is integral to determining the overal efficiency of a system. Given the importance of heat transfer, FluxTeq has observed that teaching heat transfer fundamentals early on within a student's education is essential to their understanding of heat transfer topics.
Hands-on Instructional Heat Transfer Workshops
At educational institutions all across the country, engineering students that take heat transfer courses struggle with understanding the key underlying concepts of the subject. In particular, students are unable to grasp the very important concept that is the difference between temperature and heat.
Part of this difficulty in learning can be attributed to the fact that most heat transfer students do not actually experience and measure heat transfer. Although certain lab-style classes allow students to experience and measure temperature using temperature sensors in various processes, there are very few hands-on activities that are geared for experiencing heat transfer. Prior to FluxTeq, the cost and availability of heat flux sensor that directly measure heat transfer has been beyond the reach of most educational institutions. Thus, almost none of any implemented heat transfer course labs actually measure heat directly and therefore are unable to teach efficiently teach heat transfer fundamentals to their students.
Virginia Tech confronted this issue in learning heat transfer fundamentals by implementing hands-on, challenge-based workshops for engineering students. Through this experience, FluxTeq was able to determine the effect that both seeing and feeling the affects of heat transfer first hand has on a student's fundamental understanding of heat transfer. Using FluxTeq sensors, heat transfer students at Virginia Tech are able to collect real-time data of both heat and temperature in various scenarios, and distinguish between the two. The results of using these hands-on workshops significantly increased the student's fundamental understanding of heat transfer topics.
VT News Article "Sensor provides undergraduates with portable lab experience":