Uncle Robert’s Power Plant

Our initial plan for the thermodynamics research project was scrapped. The initial project consisted of a “Jigsaw,” a concept which divided students into groups, and each individual within a group would be responsible for researching and learning about a certain topic. For the purposes of the class, the different subjects would have been the Otto, Diesel, and Rankine cycles.

Now, however, we’ve decided to do something more akin to Aunt Ada’s Treehouse, and those of you who’ve taken Professor Best’s class know what I’m talking about. For Thermodynamics, we’ll ask students to measure how much power would need to be generated by a power plant to supply energy to a neighborhood, with different needs and power consumption. The goal is to have the students develop an idea of not only how to calculate the work generated by a Rankine Cycle, but to also see what the purpose of learning the Rankine Cycle is for.

As for the Otto and Diesel cycles, which are rather simple, a simple video of a cut out would work. As for application, all the students need to know is that the cycles are used for car engines and the differences/tradeoffs between the Otto and Diesel cycles.


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