Course Title: Apply thermodynamic principles in engineering

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2012

Course Code: MIET6044

Course Title: Apply thermodynamic principles in engineering

School: 130T Vocational Engineering

Campus: City Campus

Program: C6069 - Advanced Diploma of Engineering Technology

Course Contact: Program Manager

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 4468

Course Contact Email:

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Dr. Daniela Achim

Tel No.: +61 3 99254523


Nominal Hours: 80

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites

None; It is recommended that learners attempting this unit have a thorough knowledge of elementary Trigonometry & Algebra, as required in VBP228 Apply Mathematical solutions to engineering problems or equivalent.

Course Description

This unit of competency sets out the knowledge and skills required to apply thermodynamic principles in engineering. This includes concepts, forms and principles and performing relevant calculations with respect to thermodynamics.  No licensing, legislative, regulatory or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of publication. However, practice in this unit is subject to regulations directly related to occupational health and safety and where applicable contracts of training such as apprenticeships and traineeships.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

VBP277 Apply thermodynamic principles in engineering


1. Apply thermodynamic principles to plan, conduct, or complete engineering tasks

2. Determine thermodynamic requirements when planning engineering tasks

3. Operate and test equipment and devices employing various sources of energy

Performance Criteria:

1.1 OH&S and environmental requirements for a
given work area are obtained and understood.
1.2 Applications of thermodynamics to engineering
activities can be given.
1.3 Thermodynamic units, terms and symbols are
recognised and used correctly.
1.4 Thermodynamic charts and diagrams are
interpreted and the given process explained to
appropriate personnel..
1.5 Concepts/principles of thermodynamic energy are
applied as appropriate to the given engineering
1.6 Potential hazards are identified and reported
according to enterprise procedures.
1.7 Safety and risk control measures are applied when
working with thermodynamic applications.

2.1 OH&S requirements for carrying out the work
are followed.
2.2 Relevant thermodynamic application is identified
for the given engineering task.
2.3 Measurements and calculations relevant to the
thermodynamic application are performed and
interpreted correctly.
2.4 Thermodynamic requirements for the engineering
task are confirmed as required with appropriate
2.5 Resources and equipment needed for the task are
obtained in accordance with enterprise procedures
and checked for correct operation and safety.
2.6 Appropriate measurement devices are used to
measure thermodynamic properties.
2.7 Unexpected situations are resolved with
appropriate personnel, and in accordance with
enterprise procedures.

 3.1 Occupational health & safety requirements,
relevant Australian Standards, codes of practice,
manufacturers specifications, environmental
requirements and enterprise procedures are
identified and adhered to.
3.2 Equipment and devices are operated safely and
only for the purpose intended according to
manufacturers’ operating instructions,
specifications and any specific safety
3.3 Routine maintenance and fault tracing on
components and systems is performed in a safe

Learning Outcomes


Details of Learning Activities

The Learning activities for this course, includes class room lectuers, tutorials, self research. group/individual work on projects, audio-visual presentations, class group discussions and activities. Field visits, may also be arranged when possible.

***Teaching Schedule***

Week 1: Introduction

Week 2: General economic and social impacts energy conversion - typical processes and efficiencies

Week 3: Thermodynamic concepts

Week 4: Energy definition and principles

Week 5: Energy transfer in closed and open systems

Week 6: Gases

Week 7: Heat engines

Week 8: Heat engine performance

Week 9: Revision

Week 10: Part Exam

Week 11: Heat transfer

Week 12: Combustion and fuels

Week 13: Steam

Week 14: Refrigeration/heat pump

Week 15: Revision

Week 16: SWOT

Week 17-18: Final Exam 

Teaching Schedule

1. General economic and social impacts

Week      Topics                                                                                                                                        ReferenceExamination
11. Introduction 1,2,3,4 
21. General economic and social impacts energy conversion - typical processes and efficiencies sources of energy solar energy hydro-electric power geothermal energy
tidal energy nuclear energy - fission and fusion, burner and breeder reactors stored fuel reserves fuel conservation - reduction in wastage, recycling,
greater usage efficiency and use of waste heat
32.Thermodynamic concepts nature of matter - atoms, molecules, inter-molecular
forces, molecular motion, states of matter mass and conservation of mass principle volume, density, specific volume, relative density force, weight, pressure (atmospheric, gauge and absolute) temperature (Celsius and Kelvin)
systems and black box analysis reciprocating piston and cylinder mechanism - pressure ratio and compression ratio
43. Energy definition and principles potential energy kinetic energy
work (linear and rotational), constant and variable force, relationship to pressure and volume change power (linear and rotational)
sensible heat - specific heat capacity (constant pressure
and constant volume) latent heat chemical energy - energy content of a fuel
internal energy
54. Energy transfer in closed and open systems Definition of a closed system
calorimetry as an example of a closed system (with or without phase change)
non-flow energy equation - typical applications such as stirring with imultaneous heating or cooling definition of an open system mass and volume flow rate and continuity equation steady flow energy equation leading to the concept of
enthalpy - typical applications such as turbines, compressors, boilers and heat exchangers
65. Gases definition of a perfect or ideal gas in terms of the molecular model
general gas equation characteristic gas equation (equation of state)
constant pressure process constant volume process isothermal process
polytropic process adiabatic process
7 6. Heat engines definition of a heat engine essentials of a heat engine - heat source, heat sink, working substance, mechanical power output, working
cycle energy balance for a heat engine (as a black box) and efficiency maximum possible efficiency (carnot efficiency) types of heat engines according to working substance, heat source, mechanical arrangement and working cycle typical practical cycles - stirling, otto, diesel, dual, two stroke (spark and compression ignition) joule cycle.
8 7. Heat engine performance measurement of torque and power output - rope brake, shoe brake, hydraulic dynamometer, electric dynamometer heat supply rate, efficiency, specific fuel consumption measurement of indicated power - mechanical indicator, electric/electronic indicator, morse test friction power, mechanical efficiency, indicated thermal efficiency volumetric efficiency energy balance performance curves - variable load constant speed, variable speed constant throttle setting.
10Part Exam  Part Exam
11 8. Heat transfer modes of heat transfer conduction through a flat plate, series flat plates, thick and thin wall pipe, composite pipes (eg lagged pipes and drums)
convection at a flat surface or tube radiation from a flat surface or tube for black or grey bodies combined conduction and convection through single or multiple flat plates or thin wall tubes combined convection and radiation combined onduction, convection and radiation such as fluid in a tank (convection to wall), through wall and/or insulation (conduction) to outside air (convection and radiation) heat exchangers - parallel, counterflow and cross flow
12 9. Combustion and fuels the combustion process fuels - desirable and undesirable characteristics, solid, liquid and gaseous types, their relative advantages and disadvantages and common methods of combustion
air/fuel ration - stoichiometric excess or insufficient air emissions and pollutants and their control combustion equations - element mass balance combustion products - gravimetric basis
13 10. Steam importance of steam for heat transfer and power production
steam/water properties and the inter-relationship between the various properties for unsaturated or saturated water or steam either superheated, saturated or wet
saturation temperature and pressure, specific enthalpy, specific volume, dryness fraction temperature-specific enthalpy diagram for steam/water use of steam table to determine steam/water properties (any condition except supercritical)
14 11 Refrigeration/heat pump basic principles and terminology vapour compression cycle performance criteria types of refrigerant - designation, properties advantages and disadvantages refrigerant properties using the p-h diagram ideal vapour compression cycle on the p-h diagram energy balance and heat transfers in compressor, evaporator and condenser actual vapour compression cycle and variations from the ideal - pressure loss in lines and non-ideal compression superheating and subcooling with or without suction/liquid heat exchanger Carnot principle applied to refrigerator and heat pump principles of evaporative refrigeration, absorption
refrigeration, air cycle refrigeration and thermo-electric
15 Revision  Assessment 3&4
16 SWOT  
17-18 Final Exam  Final Exam

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts

1. Roger Kinsky, Thermodynamics and Fluid Mechanics An Introduction

2. Roger Kinsky, Thermodynamics Advanced Applications

3. Fundamentals of Themal-Fluid Sciences Y A Cengel, J M Cimbala & R H Turner, 4th edition,


4. Principles of Engineering Thermodynamics, SI Version, Michael J. Moran, Howard N. Shapiro, Daisie D. Boettner, Margaret B. Bailey, 7th edition

5. Applied Thermodynamics for Engineering Technologists, Eastop & McKoonkey

Other Resources

Overview of Assessment

Assessment may incorporate a variety of methods including written/oral activities and demonstration of practical skills to the relevant industry standards.

 Participants are advised that they are likely to be asked to personally demonstrate their assessment activities to their teacher/assessor.


 Feedback will be provided throught the course

Evidence can be gathered through a variety of ways including:
observation of processes and procedures;
oral and/or written questioning on required knowledge and skills;
testimony from supervisors, colleagues, clients and/or other appropriate
inspection of the final product or outcome;
a portfolio of documentary evidence

Graded Assessment out of 100 Marks will be based on the results obtained for Assignments/Practical Reports/Unit Tests.
Students must gain a pass in ALL forms of assessment in order to gain this competency.

Assessment Tasks

Assessment for this course is throughout the course delivering period and the exam period. Your knowledge and understanding of course content is assessed through completion of four assessment tasks. All the assessment tasks allow you to apply the required knowledge and skills in relation to interpret thermodymanics manuals and specifications.
You are required to complete the following three assessment tasks: 

Assessment 1 Part Exam (closed book) Thermodynamic Principles 40%
Assessment 2 Final Exam (open book) Thermodynamic Principles 40%
Assessment 3 Assignment and/or Practical Test. 20%

All assessment tasks need to be succesfully completed to demonstrate competence.

Note: The marks of the assignments to be considered towards the final mark, the competence and knowledge displayed in the assignments must be reflected in the written tests,  The assessment for the practicles will be pass or fail.


Assessment Matrix

 Assessment                                Elements                         Performance Criteria                                  
1Part Exam 1-31.1,1.2,1.3,1.4,1.5,1.6,1.7,2.1,2.2,2.3,2.4,2.5,2.6,2.7,3.1,3.2,3.3
2Final Exam 1-31.1,1.2,1.3,1.4,1.5,1.6,1.7,2.1,2.2,2.3,2.4,2.5,2.6,2.7,3.1,3.2,3.3
3Assessment 3 Assignment and or Practical Test1-3


Other Information

Study and learning Support:

Study and Learning Centre (SLC) provides free learning and academic development advice to all RMIT students.
Services offered by SLC to support numeracy and literacy skills of the students are:

assignment writing, thesis writing and study skills advice
maths and science developmental support and advice
English language development

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Disability Liaison Unit:

Students with disability or long-term medical condition should contact Disability Liaison Unit to seek advice and support to
complete their studies.

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Late submission:

Students requiring extensions for 7 calendar days or less (from the original due date) must complete and lodge an Application
for Extension of Submittable Work (7 Calendar Days or less) form and lodge it with the Senior Educator/ Program Manager.
The application must be lodged no later than one working day before the official due date. The student will be notified within
no more than 2 working days of the date of lodgment as to whether the extension has been granted.

Students seeking an extension of more than 7 calendar days (from the original due date) must lodge an Application for Special
Consideration form under the provisions of the Special Consideration Policy, preferably prior to, but no later than 2 working days
after the official due date.

Assignments submitted late without approval of an extension will not be accepted or marked.

Special consideration:

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Plagiarism is a form of cheating and it is very serious academic offence that may lead to expulsion from the University.

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Other Information:

All email communications will be sent to your RMIT email address and you must regularly check your RMIT emails.

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