Document Type


Department or Administrative Unit

Engineering Technologies, Safety, and Construction

Publication Date



This paper presents an outline of thermodynamics experiments and lab activities that accompany the introductory thermodynamics course for Mechanical Engineering Technology juniors at Central Washington University (CWU) in Ellensburg, Washington. It outlines and describes the current suite of thermodynamics lab activities, comparing the current suite of seven lab activities to a sequence outlined in an ASEE conference paper presented in 1995. Some lab activities in that paper have been replaced, while others have been updated. For example an experiment to measure the Joule-Thomson coefficient has been replaced with a First Law energy balance activity and the former First Law experiment has transitioned into a system efficiency activity. Both the previous and current experiments have been found to be useful in bridging the gap between theory and practice. The experiments expose the student to modern instrumentation and the collection and processing of data. Qualitative assessment of current student outcomes is addressed with a student survey. The purpose of this paper is to present these lab activities so that other thermodynamics instructors may learn from our experience.


This article was originally published in the proceedings of the 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.


2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


© 2013 American Society for Engineering Education.