Last updated: 1/11/2013


MAE 3140 - Heat & Mass Transfer, Spring 2013



Graduate Teaching Assistant

Undergraduate Teaching



Chuck Witt


310 MEC

346a MEC



(434) 218-0786


rjr at Virginia dot edu

wcw5dw at Virginia dot edu


Office Hours: When door open




Schedule Numbers:         Class MW 10:00-10:50, Rice 130:  17563;  PRODUCED: 20610

Tuesday Studio (12:30–2:30), MEC 213: 18176

Wednesday Studio (3:30-5:30), MEC 213: 18177

Thursday Studio (12:30-2:30), MEC 213:  18178


Course Goals:

  1. To provide students with a basic understanding of engineering heat transfer, including the physics underlying the three modes of heat transfer: conduction, convection and radiation.
  2. To give students the ability to perform analysis and design calculations involving all three modes for a wide variety of practical situations.
  3. To expose students to modern heat transfer equipment, measuring devices and applications.
  4. To expose students to modern computational and visualization algorithms similar to those they will encounter in industry and to collect and analyze data from a number of simple simulated heat transfer experiments.
  5. To provide those students opting for graduate school a strong theoretical background for more intensive study and those students opting to take the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam a good background for successfully passing that exam.  

Student Learning Objectives:

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to: (Note: Letters in brackets refer to ABET outcomes)


  1. Understand the rudiments of conduction, convection and radiation, including Fourier's Law, Newton's Law of Cooling and the Stefan-Boltzmann Law. [a]
  2. Recognize when a one-dimensional conduction model is adequate and be able to solve such problems using analytical means; e.g., by solving a differential equation or applying a network model, where appropriate. [a,e,k]
  3. Apply numerical methods to transient one-dimensional and steady-state two-dimensional problems, including deriving the appropriate heat balance equations for a representative volume for both cases. [a,e,k]
  4. Interpret graphical representations (simple x-y plots, contour plots) of conduction solutions. [a,e,k]
  5. Understand the concept of DC electrical network analogies for steady-state and transient conduction. [a]
  6. Understand the physics underlying both the forced and free convection processes and have an appreciation for the effects of various fluid properties and flow parameters on that process. [a]
  7. Apply empirical and analytical correlations for external and internal forced and free convection. [a,e] 
  8. Perform a simple heat exchanger analysis.
  9. Apply standard techniques for finding radiative exchange among opaque surfaces, including the determination of view factors from charts and software and use of the DC network model for radiative exchange among black and gray surfaces. [a,e] 
  10. Work collaboratively with a partner in the studio on computer-oriented analysis and design problems, each helping the other to discover and understand the material better than they would in isolation. [b,d,e,g,k] 
  11. Work with a partner to produce a lucid, written report of laboratory and studio activities. In our case the report will be a well-documented spreadsheet [d,g]
  12. Use a spreadsheet to process data derived from computer "experiments" and also be able to do some "light" spreadsheet macro programming. [a,b,e,i,k]
  13. Identify heat transfer-related materials and equipment and have an appreciation for their thermal design. [c,h,j,k]

Text:  Since I am under contract with Pearson to write a complete textbook (yes, 230,000 words!) centered upon the materials we’ll be using this semester, I would certainly appreciate any and all constructive feedback.  As of January 3, 2013, twelve (12) chapters are pretty much done.  They will be available for purchase through the bookstore.  I would urge you to put them in a 3-ring binder.  Hopefully one more chapter will be ready by the time we need it.

Meeting Times, Attendance and Classroom Decorum:

Students are expected to attend all classes, both the morning lecture and the afternoon workshops. Attendance will be taken. A point will be deducted from the final grade of any student for each unexcused absence in excess of three. In extreme cases of habitual absence or tardiness, the student will be dropped from the course. The room where we have the workshops (MEC 213) was designed with a computer for each pair of students - specifically to encourage the "collaborative" type of instruction we will be using in this course. Between 12:30 and 2:30 (T, Th) and 3:30 and 5:30 (W) these computers are to be used only for course purposes - and then only when you are instructed to do so. This especially means no e-mailing, social networking, netsurfing, working on other assignments (including those for this course), etc. The penalty for inappropriate use of the computers is the same as for habitual tardiness or absence. Students must turn off all cell phones before entering class. In addition students will be expected to dress and act professionally in both the studio and classroom environment.


Two major quizzes are scheduled during the semester. One will be held the sixth week and cover the conduction chapters. The second will be held in April and cover the convection and heat exchanger chapters. The format of these quizzes will be announced in class. There will also be many short quizzes, most of them administered online through the UVa Collab instructional management system.   These quizzes are designed to encourage you to look at concepts as you work with the Heat Transfer Today software throughout the semester.  The software was designed for you to study trends, look at the effects of parameters, etc., so you should anticipate seeing questions testing your understanding of concepts on both the short quizzes and the major ones. 

Online quizzes are pledged.  You may open them only once, and you must complete them before you log out.  Only your first attempt will count.  It is suggested that you take them on Grounds or somewhere with a very reliable connection.  There is a quiz called “Testing, Testing …” on Collab that will be active at all times.  You can take this one as often as you like.  Its purpose is to make sure that you have a valid testing environment before taking any of the real quizzes.  If you do not see all equations, pictures, etc., when you try the Testing, Testing quiz, then do not open the real quiz until you figure out what is wrong.   It is your responsibility to make sure you take all quizzes before the posted deadlines.  Make sure that you read and understand the ITS tips for taking tests and quizzes.


Please do not assume that since we will be doing many hands-on "homework" type projects during the studio sessions, you are not obligated to put in significant effort outside the classroom! First of all, in some cases you will not finish the "studio" assignment during the session. This situation will be exacerbated especially if you do not prepare in advance for the studio sessions.  If you do not finish the assignment in studio, it is to be finished with your partner outside of class. Unless so directed do not plan on doing it during the next session because in most cases we will have gone on to another topic by then.  A few homework assignments besides those begun in workshop will be assigned during the semester. Most of them will be unpledged, but a few may be pledged and will be so identified. In any case working these problems on your own and understanding them thoroughly will be vital to your success on exams. Usually about one week will be given for the completion of both "studio" assignments and problem sets. The problems to be done and due dates will be posted on the Collab website for this course. You are responsible for checking it regularly.   Studio assignments are to be submitted electronically through Collab.

Studio Session:

Beginning in 1996 with the help of the University's Teaching + Technology Initiative an afternoon "studio" session replaced one of the three-a-week lectures in this course. We dubbed this mode of instruction a "partial studio" approach.  In some cases you will be running modern computational simulations of heat and mass transfer problems.  These simulations should help you in visualizing and understanding the physics behind the various topics we cover in the lecture and the textbook and allow you to study the effects of the various parameters easily.  (Indeed one long-standing criticism of the usual heat transfer pedagogy is that the effects of the physical parameters are conveniently obfuscated in non-dimensional numbers, thus leading, unfortunately, to rote application of formulae.)  In some cases you will be implementing the calculations yourself, most likely using a spreadsheet .   Attendance at all studio sessions is crucial; you will not be able to complete most of the assignments without the help you’ll get at studio session, and you definitely will do poorly on the exams.

Write-ups for the weekly studio projects will be posted on the Collab schedule a couple of days in advance.   These will all be in the form of Excel workbooks.  You will find the problem statements given there and will do your work on the same worksheets and turn them in through Collab’s Assignments. 

The software we are using is the object of a continuous improvement program – work on some of these programs began when we got our first PC’s before you were even born. You are helping in its debugging! You should quickly realize that the software itself has almost no learning curve - assuming you use it in conjunction with what you learn reading the book and diligent listening and note taking in class. As we like to claim, "Learning the software is learning the heat transfer!" You will also find all modules on the ITS “Hive” on the heat transfer desktop. The exact activities and requirements for a particular studio session are included in the spreadsheet you download from Collab.   Normally the studio report will be due Friday afternoon of the week after the session in which it is done. There is to be one submission per two-person team.   The topic of the student and names of both partners should be incorporated into the name of the spreadsheet you submit; e.g., TransientConduction_Flintstone_Rubble.xls

Collaboration in the Studio Sessions:

The studio sessions ARE designed to encourage collaborative learning; in fact, MEC 213 was deliberately equipped with two chairs per computer especially for this course. The idea of collaborative learning is that you work together and by doing so you learn more. But, do not depend on your partner to have done the preparatory work and reading, nor are you to be working on one of the assigned studio problems while your partner does another. During the studio sessions you should be discussing with your partner what you are seeing on the screen, how it relates to what you have read in the textbook and heard and seen in class, how you are going about attacking a problem or creating a spreadsheet, etc. You are also welcome to discuss these matters with the students around you, the GTA and the instructor. The studio reports that you turn in, however, are expected to be a fair record of your work and your understanding of the material and that of your own partner. Your partner is not there to carry you in studio and definitely won’t be helping you on the exams.  You each have equal responsibility for doing the exercises and learning the material. 

The exercises we will be doing in class are not just tasks to be checked off! If you do not prepare appropriately before class, ask questions, discuss and reflect on what you see on your computer screen (including the self tests included in most of the updated modules), you will be shortchanging yourself!  Like it or not, non-CS-major engineers do use computers in the real world - a lot! We want UVa MAE graduates to be known for using them adeptly and, more importantly, wisely.

MAE 3140 is the only SEAS course mentioned in the Pictorial History of the University of Virginia, (the book with the fireworks seen exploding behind the Rotunda on the cover).  You can read more about past experience with the 3140 studio session in this  ASME paper.

The “Hive”:  The Hive allows you to access and run the heat transfer software from anywhere.   You can log into the Hive from any platform – Windows, Mac or Unix - and use this software successfully.  Normally Visual Basic programs and Excel workbooks that include Visual Basic for Applications macros do not work with Mac or Unix, but the Hive allows you to run VB and VBA applications on them, too.  Once you have logged in, look for the Heat Transfer under SEAS. 


CS 1110 (Programming) and MAE 3210 (Fluids) are prerequisites to this course.   We certainly won’t be using Java, but you can pick up Visual Basic for Applications, a very marketable skill, in this course.   See VBA Resources folder on Collab.

Honor System:

Homework (beyond the studio assignments) is to be prepared individually, although it is not required to be "pledged". Collaboration with others on the homework may be educationally beneficial, but any substantial help should be acknowledged in writing.

Collaboration IS expected in the studio sessions! This is why you will have a partner and why two students are assigned to each computer. Indeed, if at first you do not understand what you see on the screen in front of you, then it is your partner's responsibility to make sure that you DO! This is the essence of collaborative learning!  Studio reports are to be an accurate reflection of the effort, expertise and understanding of you and your studio partner. Thus all written work turned in for the studio sessions, including computer assignments, is to be that of you and your partner. Quizzes and exams are obviously "pledged." Violations of the Honor Pledge WILL be forwarded to the Honor Committee.

The Fundamental Canons of Engineering provides for engineers to give proper credit for engineering work to those to whom credit is due. Therefore, references should be cited on all written work to acknowledge the aid of other individuals and both published and unpublished references.


Any student who feels that he or she needs an accommodation because of an impairment should see me in my office.


Grades will be determined from the following:



Studio Reports


Short Quizzes


Major Quizzes (2)


Final Exam


Schedule of Topics and Assignments   (This tentative schedule is meant for overall planning only.  We will use the Collab schedule resource for detailed scheduling purposes.  Materials, assignments, announcements, due dates, etc. will be linked to it.)


You are responsible for checking Collab regularly.  Rather than sending you lots of emails, I will post most notices there.   Generally I will post announcements on the schedule entry for the next class.

Prerequisite Skills for MAE 3140  (This list will give you some idea of the sorts of things you should expect to see on the online prerequisite skills exam and which we will assume you already know for purposes of this course.)