*MEEG346 Thermal Laboratory

Spring 2010


Ajay K. Prasad
302 Spencer Lab
Office Hours: Open door policy


John Hamnett (office hours Mondays 2-3 pm in SPL 206)

Qingfeng Huang (office hours Thursdays 3-4 pm in SPL 131)

Rajesh Singh (office hours Tuesdays 2-3 in SPL 131)



A total of five experiments will be performed (once every other week) during the semester by students working in teams of 5. Each group will acquire a common set of data for a particular experiment, and each group will submit a single report. In addition, each team will design a sixth, new experiment to demonstrate any principle of your choosing in thermodynamics and/or heat transfer.

Students must study the lab handout thoroughly before arriving at the lab session. The TA's job is not to do the experiment for you. Instead, the TA will familiarize you with the equipment and software. You will need to decide for yourself, how best to collect the data to answer the questions posed in the handout. Of course, some hints will be provided to get you on your way. The TA will use his judgment to determine at what point a group is ready to proceed on its own.

Experiments will be performed in 123 or 021 Spencer Lab.

List of experiments: (in chronological sequence)

Lab Report

Each group will turn in a single report for each experiment. Reports must be typed. Reports should be concise but complete. Use your own words; verbatim copying of the handout should be avoided. Do not pad the length of a report unnecessarily.

The report should contain the following sections:

Design Experiment

Each team will design one experiment to demonstrate any principle in thermodynamics and/or heat transfer of your choice. You may draw upon the knowledge gained from your courses in thermodynamics and heat transfer for possibilities. Rather than leaving this for the very end, teams will submit a title with a one-page abstract on Friday, April 16, followed by a full and complete laboratory hand-out by the last day of class, Tuesday, May 18. The finished product should resemble the handouts that you receive before every lab. It should contain the title, objective, theoretical background, figures, equipment, procedure, points for discussion, and error analysis. Each team will be graded for an original idea that stimulates learning of key concepts of thermodynamics and heat transfer, attention to experimental detail, and completeness and readability of the laboratory handout. It is possible that a particularly interesting and clever design will be built as an actual experiment in future years, and your lab handout should be immediately usable by students who are to perform the experiment that you designed.

Ethical Behavior

Please read and understand the Office of Judicial Affairs Quick Reference Guide to Academic Integrity.

In particular, please pay close attention to PROACTIVE STRATEGIES FOR STUDENTS and ABOUT THE INTERNET. These documents will help you to overcome any misunderstandings of what constitutes unethical behavior. The proper and ethical use of external resources such as the internet is also clearly defined.

Pre-Lab Strategy

Before arriving at the lab session, students must study the lab handout and completely understand the phenomena they will investigate and the procedure to do so. Such preparation will make for a smoother and more fruitful lab experience.

Student teams should get together well before a lab session and plan their data acquisition procedure. A key outcome of the pre-lab preparation is an experimental data-sheet listing all the quantities that will be measured (and how many times) for each specific experimental objective. The row and column headings will prove that adequate thought has gone into planning the experimental procedure. Please obtain the TA's signature on this data-sheet as soon as you arrive at the lab. The TA will conduct a quiz before the experiment to determine your level of preparedness.

Grading of Reports

Fulfilling basic requirements listed above (neatness and professionalism is key) will fetch you an automatic 6 points on a scale of 10. The remaining points will be awarded on the basis of merit including the organization of thoughts, illuminating discussion, excellence of error analysis, and any additional effort.

Lab reports are due no later than two weeks after performing the experiment. An exception will be the last experiment which will be due one week later. Late reports will be penalized, 0.5 points for every late day. Lab attendance is absolutely necessary. 5 points are automatically deducted from each lab report if you miss a lab session.

A Peer Evaluation Form will be used to allow students to rank their own contribution, and that of their fellow team members, to the overall lab effort and the resulting lab report. Each individual's ranking is averaged, assigned a numerical value, and used as a multiplier on the team grade, to extract an individual grade. This mechanism will be used to differentiate and appropriately reward individual efforts. (You may be interested to know that companies often use such peer evaluations to calculate annual raises.)

Grading concerns should be addressed to the TA's.

Lab Groups & Schedule