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ASEE-SE Annual Conference 2022

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The Interface Between Control Domains: A Powerful Pok To Learn Transport Phenomena

Traditionally, transport phenomena (Bird et. al, 1960) has followed a teaching approach centered on initially defining the system and its environment followed by considerations of the boundaries/interfaces between them. This approach places heavy emphasis on the differential conservation equations that describe a given phenomenon, e, g., mass, momentum or energy. However, as leading scholars (Amundson, 19; Scriven, 1968) have indicated, there is as much physics on the boundaries as in the rest of the system under study. Thus, potentially, the boundary, i.e., the physical interface between the system and the environment could be the pedagogical focus to learn about the behavior of a given transport phenomenon. For example, students can initially learn how to identify fluxes, their direction and how these fluxes transfer information from one side to the other of the interface or whether such interface does not allow the transfer of mass, momentum or energy. In addition, by selecting two different phases, i.e. solid and fluid, students can learn about the critical idea of (heat or mass) transfer coefficients that, eventually, would lead to non-dimensional numbers such as the Nusselt and the Sherwood. In short, and while still maintaining some emphasis on the system, students learn a great deal about the physics associated with the transport phenomena under study without the complexities associated with conservation principles. In short, the interface is a powerful integrator or “Principal Object of Knowledge” (POK), Arce 2001, where critical elements from the physics of transport are integrated with geometrical aspects as well as with constitutive equations such as Fourier’s and Fick’s laws, among others. By using concepts mainly from energy and mass transport, this presentation will emphasize the helpful and beneficial role that an interface can play in helping students to efficiently understand transport phenomena. Impact from students will be also integrated.

References: 1.Bird, R., Stewart, W. and Lightfoot, E,. "Transport Phenomena," Wiley & Sons (1960). 2.Amundson, N.R., “The Mathematical Understanding of Chemical Engineering Systems; Selected Papers”, Aris, R. & Varma, A. (Editors), Pergamon Press, New York, NY (1980). 3.Scriven, E. L., “The Fluid Interface: Lessons from Research”, Chemical Engineering Education, 168, Fall Issue, (1968). 4.Arce, P. E., “Principal Objects of Knowledge (POK’s) in Colloquial Approach Environments,” Annual Conference Proceedings, American Society for Engineering Education, ASEE-SE (2000, CD-ROM); Winner of the 2001 Thomas C. Evans Instructional Award, ASEE-SE.

J. Robby Sanders
Tennnessee Technological University
United States

Pedro E. Arce
Tennnessee Technological University
United States

Andrea Arce-Trigatti
Tallahasee Community College
United States


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