Challenges in teaching and learning fundamentals of thermodynamics in engineering

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Introduction to engineering thermodynamics is a core subject for almost all engineering students. It covers the fundamentals of thermodynamics including properties of pure substances, energy transfer and the 1 st law of thermodynamics, entropy and the 2nd law of thermodynamics and thermodynamic applications of power and refrigeration cycles. Thermodynamics has always been labeled as a tough and abstract subject by the majority of engineering students. There are a few factors why this tough subject phenomenon still weighs heavily on the students' minds. First, the students fail to understand the basic concepts of thermodynamics itself. Secondly, most students are not skilful enough in acquiring data from property diagrams and tables such as the steam table. When they do not understand the basic concepts and do not know how to obtain relevant data they will not be able to solve the particular problem. Another factor that students usually raised and complained about is that they have to memorize too many equations. Furthermore, the students fail to relate what they learn from one chapter to another. Based on these factors, the lecturers responsible to teach this course have to take it as a challenge to counter the students' negative perception by strengthening the basic understandings on the concepts and laws of thermodynamics and assisting the students in acquiring thermodynamic data to solve thermodynamic problems. Hopefully, a thermodynamic course will be famous as an interesting subject not as a tough subject as it is now in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-37
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Fingerprint

Teaching
Thermodynamics
Students
Refrigeration
Energy transfer
Steam
Entropy
Thermodynamic properties

Keywords

  • 1st law of thermodynamics
  • 2nd law of thermodynamics
  • Engineering education
  • Entropy
  • Outcome based education
  • Property tables

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)

Cite this

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abstract = "Introduction to engineering thermodynamics is a core subject for almost all engineering students. It covers the fundamentals of thermodynamics including properties of pure substances, energy transfer and the 1 st law of thermodynamics, entropy and the 2nd law of thermodynamics and thermodynamic applications of power and refrigeration cycles. Thermodynamics has always been labeled as a tough and abstract subject by the majority of engineering students. There are a few factors why this tough subject phenomenon still weighs heavily on the students' minds. First, the students fail to understand the basic concepts of thermodynamics itself. Secondly, most students are not skilful enough in acquiring data from property diagrams and tables such as the steam table. When they do not understand the basic concepts and do not know how to obtain relevant data they will not be able to solve the particular problem. Another factor that students usually raised and complained about is that they have to memorize too many equations. Furthermore, the students fail to relate what they learn from one chapter to another. Based on these factors, the lecturers responsible to teach this course have to take it as a challenge to counter the students' negative perception by strengthening the basic understandings on the concepts and laws of thermodynamics and assisting the students in acquiring thermodynamic data to solve thermodynamic problems. Hopefully, a thermodynamic course will be famous as an interesting subject not as a tough subject as it is now in the future.",
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