Reinforcing the Concepts of Transient Heat Conduction and Convection With Simple Experiments and COMSOL Simulations

Sergio Mendez, Lisa AungYong


To help students make the connection between the concepts of heat conduction and convection to real world phenomenon, we developed a combined experimental and computational module that can be incorporated into lecture or lab courses. The experimental system we present requires materials and apparatus that are readily accessible, and the procedure is simple. In addition, we utilized commercially available, user-friendly computer software, COMSOL Multiphysics, for three-dimensional modeling. We measured temperature versus time profiles from cylindrical and spherical shaped objects with free and forced convective heat transfer. We found that COMSOL can reasonably simulate the experimental data. In addition, our student assessment determined that this module can improve student understanding of transient heat transfer due to experiential, hands-on measurements and computer simulations. 

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