Introduction of nanotechnology in the basic energy sciences

Kau Fui V. Wong, Pablo A. Garcia

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Nanotechnology is, according to some authorative sources, the new wave of the immediate future in science and technology. Many universities in the world do not have this topic taught at the college level in engineering. The objective of the current work is to prepare teaching materials in nanotechnology that could be used in a couple of lectures to be incorporated in a junior-level course of thermodynamics or other basic energy science course. The aim of preparing these modules is an effort to introduce our current undergraduate engineering students to some important concepts in nanotechnology. The modality of modules is so that many other college programs in the world can adopt these modules and incorporate in their curriculum easily; the result is that the education of our future engineers will be more complete and our engineers more competitive in the world market. The current work concentrates on the discussion and elaboration of the topics to be covered in nanotechnology in two one-hour and a-half lectures. Introductory items include the differences between nano- science and macro-science as well as atomic-level science theory. It cannot just be a survey of where nanotechnology has affected our modern lives. It should contain enough basics so that future courses/topics can build on these preliminary foundation lectures. The topics will tie in two existing lectures with nanotechnology applications. First, the principles of heat transfer relating to thermodynamics will be introduced. Second, an overview of nanotechnology will be presented. Third, students will be given an in-depth look at the various heat transfer processes. Finally, the nanotechnology applications relating to heat transfer shall be discussed, including a focus on nanofluids. This work will introduce some of the fundamental ideas regarding nanotechnology that relates to the energy sciences as it may be presented to a junior-level engineering class. This will include a discussion of some of the properties of nanoparticles, the synthesis of nanoparticles and the various materials used in fabrication, as well as the importance of nanofluids to complex thermal energy systems based on current and past research. After laying out the lesson plan integration in the current course curricula, several sample problems are presented in the appendix that would lend the students a greater grasp of the new material. An engineering upperclassman should understand the fundamentals of nanoscale engineering. Initial educational evaluation data based on a couple of lectures alone gave an average concept inventory, ([1] C.I., Foundation Coalition, 2007) score (geared for the two lectures) of 61.4% for a class of about twenty students (Spring 2007) in thermodynamics; the corresponding improvement in the average C.I. score for about ten students (Summer 2007) was from 43.7% to about 60%.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEnergy Systems
Subtitle of host publicationAnalysis, Thermodynamics and Sustainability
PublisherAmerican Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)0791843009
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes
EventASME 2007 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, IMECE 2007 - Seattle, United States
Duration: Nov 11 2007Nov 15 2007

Publication series

NameASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, Proceedings (IMECE)


OtherASME 2007 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, IMECE 2007
Country/TerritoryUnited States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering


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