We present an integrated experimental and numerical two-dimensional heat conduction exercise to provide analytical and visual validation of basic concepts. The advanced nature of heat transfer leads many instructors to spend a considerable time on numerical techniques. However, due to time limitations, these numerical approaches are often only applied to highly simplified problems within the course. To overcome these instructional barriers, we designed an instructional laboratory to study two-dimensional conduction. The experimental apparatus consists of a thin sheet of copper wired with an array of thermocouples and paired with temperature-controlled circulating baths capable of creating temperature differences across the surface. The system is operated with a LabVIEW VI to provide a temporal visualization of temperature over the surface. The exercise provides students with a chance to visualize and solidify fundamental principles while also strengthening related concepts such as the importance of experimental validation, error and uncertainty calculation and the power of numerical tools.
Adding a New Dimension to a Traditional Conduction Lab