Thermal Tug-o-War: A Competitive, Hands-On Approach to Learning Basic Heat Exchanger Design

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


The “Thermal Tug-o-War” is a thermal-fluid design competition in which teams of students are assigned to design and build either a heating or cooling heat exchanger. The heating and cooling teams are then pitted against each other to see which of the teams’ heat exchangers can have a larger effect on the temperature of a “thermal reservoir”. Through this competition, students get practical, hands-on exposure to convection heat transfer, Bernoulli’s equation, pumping system design, and materials selection. This paper will present details on how the competition was originally staged and how is has changed to become a more valuable learning experience for the students.


Design; Engineering – Competitions; Heat – Convection; Heat exchangers – Design and construction


Engineering | Heat Transfer, Combustion | Mechanical Engineering


Conference Held: Seattle, Washington, USA, November 11–15, 2007


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