This course engages students in a variety of hands-on, authentic projects to learn about energy and power methods through the design and construction of motors, pumps, heat exchangers, hydraulics and pipeline systems. These are the technologies used in large power plant systems to run and maintain processes in energy generation plants. Through contextual projects, students will learn and apply physics, chemistry, fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, algebra and statistics in learning how these systems interact in the energy and power arena. Students will learn how engineers and technicians use these systems in the real world to optimize efficiency with the following projects:
Project 1: Motors and Generators
– Essential Question: How can we improve the efficiency of an electric motor?
Project 2: Hydroelectric Power
– Essential Question: How can we design a mini-hydroelectric system for homes and farms?
Project 3: Hydraulics
– Essential Question: How can we design a hydraulic system that will lift coal into a power plant?
Project 4: Plant Cooling (Heat Exchange)
– Essential Question: How can we design a method for reducing the amount of heat contained in flowing water?
Project 5: Pumps
– Essential Question: How do I design an efficient centrifugal pump for an industrial application?
Project 6: Pipeline Flow Design
– Essential Question: How can we design a pipeline to carry material with the least amount of pressure loss?
This course focuses on energy transmission and consumer usage. Through projects, students will be introduced to AC and DC power, transformers, the electrical grid and Smart Grid, and consumer load on the electrical system. To complete projects, students will use Ohm’s law, Joule’s law of heating, root mean square, Pythagorean Theorem and trigonometric principles to understand how energy travels along power lines and is converted from direct current to alternating current to end up, ultimately, in homes and businesses. Students will gain an understanding of how power companies move power — stepping it up and down to meet the needs of the end-user — by designing working transformers, capacitors, inverters and a power supply. A summary of the projects involved in course two are listed below:
Project 1: Power Distribution
– Essential Question: How can we design a system to transmit electricity to a new housing development?
Project 2: Circuit Breakers and Fuses
– Essential Question: How can we design a system to protect a transformer?
Project 3: Distributed Generation
– Essential Question: How can we determine if an off-grid or an on-grid renewable power system is better?
Project 4: Capacitive Reactance
– Essential Question: How can we improve the efficiency of the electrical power usage in a small machine shop?
Project 5: Power Supply
– Essential Question: How can we design and prototype a power supply and filter to provide a specific DC voltage at sufficient power to satisfy customer technical specifications and demands?