HANDS-ON HEAT TRANSFER: 2D FINITE VOLUME CONDUCTION WITH CONVECTIVE LOSSES
A novel heat transfer experiment was designed for the undergraduate Aerospace Engineering Laboratory class at the University at Buffalo to engage students in an otherwise challenging experiential setting. Heat flow is difficult to constrain, heat transfer systems can provide potential safety concerns to students, and often the only appreciable metric is a digital temperature reading, making heat transfer experiments non-engaging. Using an infrared (IR) camera, a high-resolution 2D temperature distribution of an asymmetrically heated steel plate was visualized and measured in a near-steady state. Students were required to interact simultaneously with the apparatus and the software to determine both physical and measurement boundaries on a real object being viewed through a camera that only perceived IR light. The average plate temperature was used to approximate average natural convection and linearized radiation heat transfer coefficients. A 2D finite volume analysis required performing an energy balance and solving a linear system of 15 equations to yield estimations of 15 nodal temperatures that were compared to the measurement. The lab offers a tangible scenario that is realistically too large to be solved by hand, and necessitates the use of coding to describe the physical system.