The Thermal Fluids Engineering, a junior course required by the mechanical engineering students at Carnegie Mellon University, is offered in the spring semesters. The students who take this course have previous background in thermodynamics, heat transfer, and fluid mechanics. Therefore, the emphases of this course are mainly on the applications, including design of the thermal systems. Included in the course is a design project competition for which the students design and manufacture a heat sink for electronic cooling. The heat sinks are then tested and ranked according to their performance in cooling a mock processor. Students are usually very excited about this competition and work very hard and zealously to present the best design and, they sometimes come up with very novel ideas. The design project has proven to be of great pedagogical value to the students. In this paper we will report on the competition of the spring semester 2004, which has been between twenty-seven student groups. We will review the competition as a whole and discuss in more detail the projects that particularly performed the best and the worst. We will share our observations about the educational benefits of the design projects, as well.

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