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EGME  476B

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LAB  # 2 – Thermal  Time  Constant



The objective of the lab is to calculate the time constant tof the aluminum cylinder cooling in air, using the methods discussed in the lecture.  Based on the time constant, the convective heat transfer coefficient (natural convection) is to be estimated using the lumped capacitance method.



Raw Data

The raw data for the heat-up and air cooling of the aluminum cylinder, provided in Excel Format, is available on TITANium.

The aluminum cylinder properties are as follows:

Diameter  =  0.375 inch

Cp  = 875 J/kg.K

r  =  2770bkg/m3

Cooled by natural convection in still air.



Simulated Results

Based on the simulated raw data provided, complete a memo report for the following:

  • Report the time constant t of the aluminum cylinder, cooling in air, using the “37% method” discussed in the lecture.
  • Plot the temperature vs time data in terms of ln[(T-T)/T0-T)] versus seconds.

Here,  T – time dependent cylinder temperature

T0 – initial temperature of cylinder

T— measured air temperature.

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Determine the time increment it takes the logarithmic temperature to dropone integer value.  This will be approximately one time constant.


  • Follow the steps outlined in the lecture to determine the time constant using a manual linear regression analysis. Confirm your results with a computer-based linear regression analysis.
  • Calculate the free convective heat transfer coefficient of the cylinder cooling in air using the time constant obtained above from linear regression analysis. Calculate the Rayleigh number of the cylinder cooling the air.  Use Equation (9.33) from your heat transfer textbook [1] to calculate a predicted heat transfer coefficient.  How does the experimentally determined value differ from the empirical value?  If the difference is significant, greater than 10 to 20 percent, why might the measured value be different?



Memo Report

Each student needs to submit an individual memo report for this laboratory.

The memo report is due by4:00 PM on the due date specified in the Syllabus.

Include step-by-step sample calculations in the attachments.




  1. Bergman, T. L. Lavine, A. S. Incropera, Dewitt, D. P., 2011, Introduction to Heat Transfer, 6th Edition, John Wiley & Sons, New York.

EGME  476B  — Energy and Power Laboratory



Each student will turn in an individual memo report on each experiment conducted in the laboratory for the EGME 476B course.


A memo report is intended to convey information effectively to a reader (e.g., an instructor, supervisor, or technical manager) who is familiar with and knowledgeable about the experiment.  It should be written in a concise manner but it must be complete and informative.  The main text of the memo report must be typed with font size of 12 with a minimum of 1.5 line spacing.  Use headings to divide the memo report into different sections.  All pages must be numbered.



Organization of the Memo Report

  • Cover Sheet with student’s name, course number and title, title of experiment, date of experiment, names of other lab group partners.



  • Memo format on top of the first page as follows:


TO       :          Pradeep Sharma

FROM  :          Your Name

DATE   :          Date of Report

SUBJECT :        Lab # and Title of Experiment



  • Introduction

This should be a brief and concise description of the objective or purpose of the experiment.  It should set the stage of your work and report.



  • Experimental Method

Describe the equipment and experimental procedures used.  This should have sufficient detail but should not be excessive.  Provide schematic of the experimental set-up and a table of equipment specifications if necessary.  Use digital images if they can help.

These should be stated as successive, instructional steps required to conduct the experiment.  Present in bullet form.


If details of the procedure or Experimental Methods need to be included, they should be added to the Attachment section and referred to in this section of the report.



  • Theory

This should be very brief and should directly address the main relations and equations to be used in the performance and calculations for the experiment.  Ensure that the relationships are sequential and that all the symbols and units are explained.  All equations should be sequentially numbered.


If details of the Theoryare to be included, they should be added to the Attachment section and a referred to in this section of the report.



  • Results and Discussion

This is the most important section of your memo report.   All the final results should be presented up front in the order in which they were asked.  They should be easy-to-read, decipher, and available in at-a-glance views.  The final results can be presented in both graphical and numerical form, as needed.  Figures can be presented using software packages such as Excel, Mathcad and MATLAB.  Make sure that each figure is self-explanatory and easy to read without relying on the accompanying text.


All axes should have labels and the corresponding engineering units should be identified.  Each figure and table should have a caption with number and descriptive title.  Symbols or legends used for different data sets should be shown.


In the Discussion section, the results presented must be discussed, analyzed and interpreted.  Typically, discuss the trend observed in the data, explain the observed phenomena, and compare with analytical and theoretical results, if applicable.   Discuss sources of error in data acquisition or analysis and the confidence interval of the results.  If equations are presented, number all sequentially for easy reference.



  • Conclusions and Recommendations

Summarize the important findings which correspond to the stated objectives of the experiment.Provide suggestions for further study or improvements in the testing or experimental process.



  • References

Include a list of reference literature used to write the report.  In the main text of the memo report provide reference to the items on this list.



  • Attachments

This should contain:

~  Data Sheets from the laboratory note book on which actual data was taken in the lab.

~  Sample Calculations showing the step-by-step calculations and uncertainty estimation for onesample observation should be clearly shown.  Include the Excel spreadsheet, if applicable.  Equations used and presented should be sequentially numbered.  A neat hand-written sample calculation is sufficient.

~  Any other pertinent documents that directly relate to the experiment and analysis and interpretation of the experimental results.




It is important that the memo report be carefully proof-read before submission.  The grades on the report will be based on criteria such as technical content, report organization, appearance, and quality of writing.Remember “THE SCENARIO” explained in class.  Always remember to write as an engineer working for a company and providing this report for a company client.

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