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Remote Laboratories in the Training of Turbomachinery Engineering Students
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Energy Technology, Heat and Power Technology.
2013 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [fr]

When practicing their profession, engineers use their analytical and creative thinking to develop solutions for problems that require the application of scientific knowledge and experience in a dependable and sustainable way. Laboratory exercises represent an ideal scenario for engineering students to comprehend through the application in actual situations of fundamental concepts and to analyze, synthetize, and make judgments based on evidence. Furthermore, in case of group work, students collaborate on an assignment taking decisions and sharing responsibilities thus training their social skills.

The use and development of information technology have in the past few decades increased at a very high pace and have had considerable effects on various domains of society, including education. Although distance learning has existed for a while, it is the widespread access to the Internet and familiarity of the current young generation with information technology that has led to the recent boom of interest in massive open online education (MOOC) as well as in various forms of blended learning.

Laboratories in education are traditionally hands-on activities carried out on-campus by students with the assistance of an instructor. New laboratory environments such as virtual and remote laboratories have in the past decades been introduced in several disciplines to improve access to distant students, cut down costs, and reduce obsolescence of hands-on labs. Yet many are the doubts concerning their effectiveness in tackling the development of engineering skills, as well as their technical capability of being 24/7 worldwide accessible professional remote infrastructures. The present thesis work is concerned with the conceiving, implementation and evaluation of a set of remote laboratories to be used in the training of turbomachinery engineering students. The focus is put on three new remote laboratory exercises:

  • a pump laboratory exercise focusing on the assessment of operation of pumps
  • a turbine cascade laboratory exercise focusing on the measurement of aerodynamic losses and
  • a turbine cascade laboratory exercise focusing on the measurement of aeroelastic properties in a vibrating blade row.

The laboratories are developed using state-of-the-art instrumentation and a design that allows for reusability of common hardware and software resources. Different technologies are explored for the remote operation of the equipment while laboratory exercises are constructed that include interactive learning material, online self-assessments, and tools for analysis of the experimental test data.

Extensive field-testing within ongoing courses at the department proves an overall good technical performance of the remote laboratories. Accessibility is significantly improved with the use of new web technologies while integration in existing networks of remote laboratories and use of remote experiment management systems is perceived as necessary for future scaling up of the application.

The concept of the remote laboratory exercises is critically evaluated and leads to changes in the structure of the exercises that improve development of certain laboratory skills and student’s perception of the remote experience. The same experimental setup is used to address different learning outcomes and, in turns, different target audiences showing the potential of significantly improving the economical sustainability of the labs, especially in the case these are integrated in courses at other universities.

The generality of conclusions is partially validated by the involvement of external students, researchers and professional in energy technology in the testing of the remote laboratory exercises as part of collaborative initiatives that raise also the interest for a possible application of remote experimentation in research activity.

Keywords: remote laboratory, distant education, engineering education, turbomachinery training

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2013. , 112 p.
Trita-KRV, ISSN 1100-7990 ; 13:11
National Category
Engineering and Technology Energy Engineering
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-136161ISBN: 978-91-7501-949-9OAI: diva2:675492
2013-12-19, Sal Learning Theatre, Brinellvägen 68, KTH, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)

QC 20131206

Available from: 2013-12-06 Created: 2013-12-03 Last updated: 2013-12-06Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Implementation of a remote pump laboratory exercise in the training of engineering students
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Implementation of a remote pump laboratory exercise in the training of engineering students
2012 (English)In: Proceedings of ASME Turbo Expo 2012 GT2012: Volume 3, 2012, ASME Press, 2012, 479-487 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The use of laboratory exercises in the training of engineering students is of paramount importance to give the students the possibility to gain practical experience on real hardware and on real test data. Recent trends in the education of engineers at the Department of Energy Technology at KTH go towards an increasing share of distant-based education, which is put in place to educate students at different geographic locations, not only locally (such as for example with engineers in industry) but also internationally (i.e. with students in different countries). In order to provide the possibility to follow a course at a distance without compromising on learning objectives and learning quality, a number of remotely operated laboratory exercises have been developed and implemented in the engineering curriculum at the department. Among these, to mention the work carried out by Navarathna et al. [11] on a remotely operated linear cascade test facility. The present laboratory exercise is integrated in a course on turbomachinery and gives the students the possibility to interactively learn about the operation of pumps at various speeds, various mass flow rates, parallel operation and serial operation. Students access the laboratory exercise using a web-based interface, perform measurements and finally have test data sent to an initially specified email address for further analysis.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
ASME Press, 2012
Department of Energy, Engineering curriculum, Laboratory exercise, Learning objectives, Linear cascade tests, Parallel operations, Practical experience, Web-based interface
National Category
Engineering and Technology
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-116881 (URN)10.1115/GT2012-69983 (DOI)000335710200048 ()2-s2.0-84881280203 (ScopusID)978-079184469-4 (ISBN)
ASME Turbo Expo 2012: Turbine Technical Conference and Exposition, GT 2012; Copenhagen; Denmark; 11 June 2012 through 15 June 2012

QC 20130129

Available from: 2013-01-29 Created: 2013-01-29 Last updated: 2014-10-08Bibliographically approved
2. A new linear cascade test facility for use in engineering education
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A new linear cascade test facility for use in engineering education
2012 (English)Conference paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

A new low-speed air-operated linear cascade testfacility has been developed at the Heat and PowerTechnology Division at KTH, Sweden. The rig has fullyremote operability and is used as an educational tool forthe students in engineering courses on turbomachinery.Both on campus and distant students are involved inexperimental activities with the rig in the form oflaboratory exercises. The current setup allowsdetermination of profile losses through a low pressureturbine blade row at low subsonic flow conditions.The present paper contains a description of test rigdesign and its commissioning and introduces theconcepts for future applications of the facility ininvestigation of additional flow phenomena inturbomachinery. Findings of the first field experiencewith the linear cascade are here reported.

National Category
Engineering and Technology
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-116882 (URN)

QC 20130204

Available from: 2013-02-04 Created: 2013-01-29 Last updated: 2013-12-06Bibliographically approved
3. A remotely operated aeroelastically unstable LPT cascade for turbomachinery aeromechanics education and training: Remote flutter lab
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A remotely operated aeroelastically unstable LPT cascade for turbomachinery aeromechanics education and training: Remote flutter lab
2014 (English)In: Proceedings of the ASME Turbo Expo, 2014, Vol. 6Conference paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The use of advanced pedagogical methodologies in connection with advanced use of modern information technology (ICT) for delivery enables new ways of communicating, of exchanging knowledge, and of learning that are gaining increasing relevance in our society. Remote laboratory exercises offer the possibility to enhance learning for students in different technical areas, especially to the ones not having physical access to laboratory facilities and thus spreading knowledge in a world-wide perspective. A new "Remote Flutter Laboratory" has been developed to introduce aeromechanics engineering students and professionals to aeroelastic phenomena in turbomachinery. The laboratory is world-wide unique in the sense that it allows global access for learners anywhere and anytime to a facility dedicated to what is both a complex and relevant area for gas turbine design and operation. The core of the system consists of an aeroelastically unstable turbine blade row that exhibits self-excited and self-sustained flutter at specific operating conditions. Steady and unsteady blade loading and motion data are simultaneously acquired on five neighboring suspended blades and the whole system allows for a distant-based operation and monitoring of the rig as well as for automatic data-retrieval. This paper focuses on the development of the "Remote Flutter Laboratory" exercise as a hands-on learning platform for online and distant-based education and training in turbomachinery aeromechanics enabling familiarization with the concept of critical reduced frequency and of flutter phenomena. This laboratory set-up can easily be used "as is" directly by any turbomachinery teacher in the world, free of charge and independent upon time and location with the intended learning outcomes as specified in the lab, but it can also very easily be adapted to other intended learning outcomes that a teacher might want to highlight in a specific course. As such it is also a base for a turbomachinery repository of advanced remote laboratories of global uniqueness and access. The present work documents also the pioneer implementation of the LabSocket System for the remote operation of a wind tunnel test facility from any Internet-enabled computer, tablet or smartphone with no end-user software or plug-in installation.

National Category
Aerospace Engineering
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-136706 (URN)10.1115/GT2014-27170 (DOI)000362239800058 ()2-s2.0-84922824909 (ScopusID)978-079184575-2 (ISBN)
ASME Turbo Expo 2014: Turbine Technical Conference and Exposition, GT 2014; Dusseldorf; Germany; 16 June 2014 through 20 June 2014

QC 20150611

Available from: 2013-12-06 Created: 2013-12-06 Last updated: 2015-11-04Bibliographically approved

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