International Journal of Engineering Education
A simple experiment, well suited for an undergraduate course in mechatronics, is described in which thermal time-constant information is extracted from a heater-blower table-top system. In the experiment, a thermistor measures the temperature of a resistive-heater that is cooled by a blower and a microcontroller is used for data acquisition. The student is asked to determine the thermal time response, and in particular the thermal time-constant of the system, for different blower speeds. The experiment prompts questions about modeling a thermal system, and exposes the student to basic concepts of mechatronics including measurement and data analysis.