Developing Power Cycles Simulations for an Applied Thermodynamics Course Proceedings (Faculty180)

cited authors

  • Cioc, Carmen; Cioc, Sorin; Landel, Josh; Dunham, Ethan


  • Abstract As part of the rigorous curriculum for the Mechanical Engineering Technology (MET) students, laboratory courses supply a critical part of the engineering education through hands-on observation, measurement, data acquisition, data analysis and interpretation, technical reporting, etc. When the access to hands-on laboratory activities was abruptly interrupted due to COVOD-19, there was an immediate need 1) to find practical computer simulations, and/or 2) to develop new simulations, both in support of the theory discussed during lectures. One of such courses in need of simulations to replace the hands-on activities was the Applied Thermodynamics course. In our Engineering Technology (ET) Department, Applied Thermodynamics course is a junior level core course and the second in the sequence of thermodynamics coursework. This four-credit hour (Ch) course consists of a 3ch lecture and a 1ch laboratory. The course, offered during the fall and spring 15-week semesters and during the summer on a 12-week schedule, focuses on gas power cycles, vapor and combined power cycles, refrigeration cycles, and gas-vapor mixtures and air conditioning. A proficient grounding in these concepts is critical for solving a wide range of real-world engineering thermodynamics problems. This paper presents the work done by a senior design capstone team to develop a series of excel simulations and a graphical user interface (GUI) to analyze few of the power cycles. The work, developed during the fall 2021 semester, is a collaboration between the capstone team composed of 6 seniors from various program in the ET department, four MET students, one computer science & engineering technology (CSET) student, and one construction engineering technology (CET) student, and the faculty advisor. The MET and CET students worked together to develop the excel solvers, while the CSET student developed the GUI interface using C# development with Visual Studio. The GUI will allow the users first to select the desired simulation from a drop-down list, and once in the selected simulation window, to enter input data specific to that simulation. Some added features of the GUI include 1) a dynamic P-V diagram to supply visual aid; 2) the ability to download the results to a file; 3) a log-in page so that only authorized users can use the program; 4) short definitions of listed parameters; and, 5) an option to show how the values were calculated step-by-step, showing the work.

publication date

  • 2022