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Thermal-Fluid Systems

Purpose of Course  showclose

This course deals with the transfer of work, energy, and material via gases and liquids.  These fluids may undergo changes in temperature, pressure, density, and chemical composition during the transfer process and may act on or be acted on by external systems.  You must fully understand these processes if you are an engineer working to analyze, troubleshoot, or improve existing processes and/or innovate and design new ones.

In your everyday life, you will likely encounter examples of the thermal-fluid systems we will study in this course.  Consider the following scenarios:

  1. Read this recent report by Gary Goettling for the Georgia Tech Alumni Association.*  In it, Goettling describes a refrigeration system with no moving parts based on improvements to a patent filed by Einstein and Szilard in 1930.  As an engineer, how would you go about evaluating this design for energy efficiency, safety, reliability, and manufacturing, operating, and installation costs?
  2. Have you ever wondered how the level sensor on a retail gasoline dispenser automatically shuts off when the gasoline tank in an automobile is full?
  3. Have you ever been tempted to share your opinion concerning the debates about global climate change?  Global climate involves consideration of radiation, convection, and chemical change amongst many other factors.
  4. Have you wondered how it is possible to estimate the composition and flow rate of a mixture of petroleum, water, and natural gas at a remote location five miles under the ocean surface.
  5. Just how dirty do your air filters need to be in your domestic air handling system or on your motor vehicle for it to be economically advantageous to replace them?

All of these questions can be addressed in part by applying the fundamentals of energy, momentum, and mass transfer to specific situations.  You have studied these fundamentals in your Thermodynamics (ME103), Heat Transfer (ME204), Mechanics (ME102 and ME202), and Fluid Mechanics (ME201) courses.  This course will give you the opportunity to review and reinforce these fundamentals by applying them to slightly more complex and practical situations and systems.  In doing so, you will learn to connect engineering science with practice.

This course will not exhaustively cover all the types of processes and equipment that you may encounter as an engineer.  Instead, it will provide you with experience connecting engineering fundamentals with a few applications so that you have the ability and confidence to address new situations as they emerge.  Each of the sections subsequent to the first review portion is accompanied by suggested reading, calculations, and exercises to assist you.

* Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

Course Information  showclose

Welcome to ME303: Thermal-Fluid Systems. General information about this course and its requirements can be found below.

Course Designer: Dr. Steve Gibbs
 
Requirements for Completion: In order to complete this course, you will need to work through each unit and all of its assigned material. All units build on previous units, so it will be important to progress through the course in the order presented.

Note that you will only receive an official grade on your Final Exam. However, in order to adequately prepare for this exam, you will need to work through the assessments at the end of each unit in this course. 

In order to pass this course, you will need to earn a 70% or higher on the Final Exam. Your score on the exam will be tabulated as soon as you complete it. If you do not pass the exam, you may take it again. 
 
Time Commitment: This course should take you a total of approximately 114 hours to complete. Each unit includes a time advisory that lists the amount of time you are expected to spend on each subunit and assignment. These time advisories should help you plan your time accordingly. It may be useful to take a look at the time advisories before beginning this course in order to determine how much time you have over the next few weeks to complete each unit. Then, you can set goals for yourself. For example, Unit 1 should take you approximately 13 hours to complete. Perhaps you can sit down with your calendar and decide to complete the Introductory Review (a total of 3 hours) on Monday night, Subunit 1.1 (a total of 3 hours) on Tuesday and Subunit 1.2 (2 hours) on Wednesday night, etc.
 
Tips/Suggestions: It is extremely important that you give each assignment the amount of reading and review necessary to grasp the main points and lines of enquiry.  Also, on completing the assessments, take a moment to consider how the materials you have just studied relate to the topics covered in previous sections of the course.

Learning Outcomes  showclose

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Interpret and use scientific notation and engineering units for the description of fluid flow and energy transfer.
  • Interpret measurements of thermodynamic quantities for description of fluid flow and energy transfer.
  • Use concepts of continuum fluid dynamics to interpret physical situations.
  • Determine the interrelationship of variables in pumping and piping operations.
  • Analyze heat-exchanger performance and understand design considerations.
  • Apply thermodynamics to the analysis of energy conversion and cooling/heating situations.
  • Communicate technical information in written and graphical form.

Course Requirements  showclose

In order to take this course you must:
 
√    Have access to a computer.
 
√    Have continuous broadband Internet access.
 
√    Have the ability/permission to install plug-ins or software (e.g., Adobe Reader or Flash).
 
√    Have the ability to download and save files and documents to a computer.
 
√    Have the ability to open Microsoft files and documents (.doc, .ppt, .xls, etc.).
 
√    Be competent in the English language.
 
√    Have read the Saylor Student Handbook.

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