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A Fridge in Space
This case analyzes the principles of thermodynamics and the operating cycle of an adiabatic demagnetizing refrigerator (ADR), a piece of equipment NASA uses to keep x-ray detectors cold enough to work.  A synthesis of all the basic principles of t...

A Recipe for Invention
In this case study, designed to help break down stereotypes about scientists and engineers, students research the personal and professional lives of researchers in their field. The case was designed for use in high school to graduate courses in a varie...

A Tale of Two Houses
At Thanksgiving dinner, Uncle Bubba and Uncle Bill are arguing over whose house is more expensive to heat or cool: Bubba's Georgia home in the summer or Bill’s North Dakota home in winter. Student teams play the role of Bubba and Bill's niece or ...

Cool as a Cucumber
In this case study, students are asked to design a new refrigeration system for a company that stores produce. Students will need to consider various aspects of refrigeration system design, such as single- versus multi-stage, size, operating temperatur...

Escape from Colditz Castle
The goal of this case study is to make the traditional Atwood's machine problem more interesting for students. Colditz Castle, located in Germany, was used as a Nazi prison camp during World War II. A group of British prisoners hatched a plan to escape...

Farming in Space
If you were limited to choosing only three crops to sustainably farm in an arid, inhospitable environment, what would they be and how would you decide? This interrupted case study places students in the role of a proposed self-sufficient Martian colony...

Flowing Fine: Moving Fluids on an Industrial Scale
In this case study, students assume the role of a process engineer for a pilot plant. Students are tasked with selecting a piping arrangement from a list of available options, creating a diagram of the flow system, determining the terms needed in the g...

Lost in Space
The Mars Climate Orbiter was deployed by NASA as part of a mission to study weather and climate on Mars.  It was supposed to enter orbit at an altitude of 140.5–150 km (460,000-500,000 ft) above Mars, but due to an error, the space...

Nuclear Meltdown in Fukushima: Human Accident or Natural Disaster?
This decision case study is based on the nuclear accident in Fukushima, Japan that began on March 11, 2011 and examines its status through September 2013.  The seven parts of the case were originally developed for delivery over two 75-minute class...

So, What is it that Engineers Do, Anyway?
In this case study, new engineering students are introduced to the discipline of engineering by illustrating the roles of various types of engineers in a large engineering project, the intelligent transportation system, that has the potential to impact...

Sorting Trash with Static Electricity
Recycling plastic is an effective way to reduce waste in landfills. However, in order to effectively reuse recycled plastic, different types of plastics must be separated from one another. This is a time intensive task. Engineers in Japan have tested a...

Tasty and Safe: Heat Transfer in Orange Juice
In this case study, students assume the role of process engineers in an orange juice production facility. They determine modes of heat transfer to and from the orange juice, develop equations for the heat transfer scenario they have identified, and des...

The Cheerleader and the Football Player
As the result of a wager between the school football team and its cheerleading squad, one of the cheerleaders has to lift a 300-pound football player off the ground. In this directed case study, students learn about the mechanical principle of the pull...

The Flint Water Crisis
The water crisis in Flint, Michigan, provides a compelling context for understanding the importance of each of the major classes of chemical reactions: precipitation reactions, acid-base reactions, and oxidation-reduction reactions. Each of these react...

The Tokaimura Accident
The 1999 accident at the Tokaimura nuclear fuel processing plant near Tokyo is the context for a student discussion on nuclear power and the consequences of a nuclear accident. This particular accident was chosen because of the associated dramatic afte...

Those Pesky Side-Reactions
The characters in this dilemma case must balance personal financial considerations, their professional futures, and time constraints against ensuring that the new product they are proposing is safe. The case explores the issues surrounding ethical deci...

Whey Off Balance
In this case study, students assume the role of a process engineer on a whey refinement process.  As the process engineer for the line, students must develop a block diagram of the process, perform a mass balance on each step of the process, and d...