Burning off lunch and other heated topics (1)

Heat Transfer - Thermodynamics
November 27, 1998

Both of these books are aimed at undergraduate courses and share a common philosophy in being written with the objective that they should stimulate interest and enthusiasm in students. To this end, while presenting classical treatments of the subject, both books identify a far wider range of applications than usual in undergraduate texts. In Thermodynamics , examples range from a study of the exercise needed to use up the energy from an excessively large lunch, to a study of the misting up of motorcar windows. In Heat Transfer , there are whole chapters devoted to the heating and cooling of buildings and to the refrigeration and freezing of foods. The consistent attempt to make the subject matter interesting and obviously applicable to everyday life as well as to more complex engineering machinery is very welcome.

The thermodynamics text covers the vast majority of the material contained in typical undergraduate mechanical engineering courses. For many such courses it could serve as the only thermodynamics book that the student needed to buy during the course. I hope that students do buy it and read it rather than simply treat it as an aid to problem solving. Notwithstanding, the book contains a large number of examples. As a result of its American origin, some of these examples are in English units, but the majority are in SI units and the text could be followed solely in this unit system. A useful (disk-based) computer program is included with the book to encourage the student to perform parametric studies of suitable examples.

The heat-transfer text is much more extensive than would be required by the heat-transfer content of a typical undergraduate mechanical engineering course. Only undergraduate courses in chemical engineering could possibly justify its use as a course text, which is a pity because the wide-ranging practical approach makes the book ideal for retention by graduating mechanical engineering students as a reference text.

Robert Cheesewright is research fellow in manufacturing and engineering systems, Brunel University.

Heat Transfer: A Practical Approach

Author - Yunus A. Cengel
ISBN - 0 07 115223 7
Publisher - McGraw-Hill
Price - £21.99
Pages - 1,006

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