Thermal Power Plant and Heat Transfer

Module summary

Module code: MECH0036
Level: 6
Credits: 15
School: Engineering and Science
Department: Engineering
Module Coordinator(s): Samueal Mengistu



To analyse the thermodynamic cycles of various types of thermal power plant. To develop a knowledge of the various types of thermal power plants. To predict the performance of various thermal power plant for varying loads. To develop an understanding of the fundamental modes of engineering heat transfer processes. To undertake the thermal design of heat transfer equipment.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course a student will be able to:

1 Demonstrate an awareness of the characteristics of thermal power plant.
2 Undertake the critical thermodynamic design of such equipment for a particular duty.
3 Demonstrate an understanding theory of the various modes of engineering heat transfer.
4 Apply the principles of heat transfer to engineering situations and the design of heat transfer equipment.
5 Demonstrate an awareness of the characteristics of thermal power plant.

Indicative content

Simple Power Plant based on Ideal Rankine cycle. Deviation of the actual vapour cycle from the ideal one.
Ideal Rankine cycle modified with reheat, Ideal Rankine cycle modified with regeneration.
Open feed water heater, closed feed water heaters.
Description of combustion characteristics of SI and CI engines.
Theoretical and actual combustion process.
Effect of fuel properties and limitations on engine performance.
Development of GT engine cycles from the simple cycle through reheat, intercooled and the use of heat exchangers.
The application of single and multi-shaft GT engines for power generation and the matching of engine component characteristics for particular types of load.

Review of methods of heat transfer:
Conduction: Mechanism, Fourier’s equation, the electrical analogy, heat transfer through walls, cylinders, other geometries. Conductors, insulators, lagging, economics/practicalities of lagging. Film/surface heat transfer coefficient (introduction to convection effects). Overall heat transfer coefficient.

Convection: Mechanism, natural and forced convection, relevance of dimensional analysis, use of dimensionless groups, heat exchangers.

Radiation: Mechanism, surface effects, Stefan-Boltzman equation, Kirchoff’s law, black and grey bodies.
Examples of relative contributions of conduction, convection and radiation effects.

Teaching and learning activity

The course will be delivered in term 1 which is a 12-week teaching slot. Timetabled class contact is 2 hours Lecture and 2 hours tutorial/lab session per week. The student is expected to spend another 8 hours self-study per week in order to complete the tutorial problems and course work assessment items in addition to reading the subject matter. A reading list is provided on course web page in Moodle. The course will aim to adhere to the indicated structure although the course coordinator reserves the right to alter week-by-week activities to cater to the students learning requirements, changes in technology and changes in resources availability. The week activities related to the course are listed below. More details on the set assignments and lectures will be provided in the course web page.


Students are required to pass all elements of summative assessment in order to pass the course.

In order to meet professional body requirements, students are expected to pass this course at 40% overall and with a minimum of 30% for each component.

Examination - 50% weighting, 40% pass mark.
Learning Outcomes 2 - 5.
Outline Details - 3 hours Closed book Written Examination.

Continuous Assessment - 50% weighting, 40% pass mark.
Learning Outcomes - 1, 2 & 5.
Outline Details - Individual and Group Assignment and Projects.

Formative Assessment - Case studies, mock exam.