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Unit of study_

MECH9260: Thermal Engineering and Environment

Semester 2, 2023 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

This unit aims to develop an understanding of the principles of thermodynamics - energy, entropy and exergy balances, and the principles of heat transfer - conductive, convective and radiative heat transfer, and the application of these principles to analysis of engineering and environmental systems. Course content includes: 1) Thermodynamics - energy, entropy and exergy balances for closed and steady flow systems involving pure substances and mixtures, mixing and separation, psychrometry and air-conditioning, and chemically reacting systems, 2) Heat Transfer - thermal circuits, steady state and transient conduction, heat exchangers, forced and natural convection, boiling and radiation. At the end of this unit students will have the ability to apply the principles of thermodynamics and heat transfer to solve a wide range of problems that commonly occur in thermal engineering practice. This will include: 1) thermodynamic analysis of devices such as compressors, turbines, heat exchangers, nozzles and combustors, engines and fuel cells, mixing and separation of gaseous and liquid mixtures and heating, air conditioning and ventilation, and 2) heat transfer analysis of devices such as heat exchangers, fins and solar collectors, industrial processes such as quenching and annealing, buildings and Earth's energy budget. Students will also gain an appreciation for the importance of designing with an aim to reduce energy intensity and minimise emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants, in order reduce the impact of engineering projects on the environment.

Unit details and rules

Unit code MECH9260
Academic unit Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronic
Credit points 6
AMME9200 or AMME5200 or AMME9262
Assumed knowledge

Fundamentals of thermodynamics are needed to begin this more advanced course

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Michael Kirkpatrick,
Lecturer(s) Michael Kirkpatrick,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Supervised exam
hurdle task
Final exam
Supervised exam
60% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO1
Small continuous assessment Weekly Homework Problems
A set of problems to be completed at home each week.
20% Weekly 5 - 8 pages of calculations
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Online task Weekly Progress Quizzes
Short weekly Canvas quiz designed to allow students to gauge progress.
20% Weekly Approximately 2 pages of calculations
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
hurdle task = hurdle task ?

Assessment summary

Weekly Homework Problems: Submit your own handwritten solutions for the week’s homework problems on Canvas.

Weekly Progress Quizzes: Short online quizzes to allow you to gauge your understanding of the week's material.

Final exam: A two hour supervised exam will be conducted in the exam period.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

Weekly Homework Problems and Progress Quizzes: These must be submitted before the due time on the Canvas site. These are small continuous assessments designed to keep you on track and provide rapid feedback on your progress, so late submissions will not be accepted. Approved special consideration applications will result in a mark adjustment involving reweighting of remaining assessments for the unit.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
STUVAC Study for the final exam Independent study (16 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 01 T1 Review: properties, energy, entropy Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 02 T2 Exergy Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 03 T3 Mixtures Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 04 T4 Air conditioning and psychrometry Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 05 T5 Combustion Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 06 T6 Power cycles Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 07 H1 Steady state conduction Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 08 H2 Transient conduction Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 09 H3 Heat exchangers Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 10 H4 Forced convection Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 11 H5 Natural convection Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 12 H6 Radiation Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 13 Review Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Weekly Study the pre-recorded video material and associated sections of textbook. Create your own summary of each week's material. This should be done before the live lecture. 3 - 4 hours per week. Independent study (40 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Complete the weekly homework problems and do the weekly Canvas quiz. 3 - 4 hours per week. Independent study (40 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5

Attendance and class requirements

Pre-recorded videos: Material will be presented with an emphasis on giving students a sound understanding of concepts. It is essential that you study these videos and read associated sections of the textbook before attending the live classes.

Lectures: These sessions will focus on working through one or two example problems that illustrate application of material and analysis methods presented in the pre-recorded videos. Questions and discussion are welcome during these classes. Lectures will be recorded.

Tutorials: Tutors will work through separate tutorial problems with the class. They will use these problems as a vehicle to reinforce the theory and problem solving techniques required for this course. Questions and discussion are welcome during these classes.

Independent Study: Study the pre-recorded videos and read through associated sections of the textbook. I recommend making your own summary of this material, as this will aid in exam preparation at the end of semester. Work through the tutorial problems yourself. Do the weekly homework problems and progress quiz yourself. These tasks are designed to help you stay on track.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

Cengel & Boles, Thermodynamics - An Engineering Approach (5th or later). McGraw Hill.

Bergman, Lavine, Incropera & De Witt, Fundamentals of Heat & Mass Transfer (6th or later). John Wiley & Sons.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Develop an understanding of the principles of thermodynamics including properties of matter, energy, entropy, exergy, 1st and 2nd law analysis, mixtures, chemically reacting systems.
  • LO2. Apply the principles of thermodynamics to real engineering situations including thermodynamic cycles, air conditioning, combustion and mixing and separation of mixtures.
  • LO3. Develop an understanding of the principles of heat transfer including steady and transient conduction, forced and natural convection, and radiation.
  • LO4. Apply the principles of heat transfer to a variety of real engineering situations.
  • LO5. Predict heat transfer rates and be able to design and size heat transfer equipment such as heat exchangers in order to achieve required heat transfer rates.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

Changed from 4 large quizzes to smaller weekly quizzes to assist students with time-management and avoid clashes with large assessments in other units.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

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