LTU profs win grant to advance fluid power education

Four Lawrence Technological University professors have won a $25,000 grant from the National Fluid Power Association to bring problem-based and entrepreneurial-minded learning to fluid mechanics and thermodynamics education.

The LTU team is led by principal investigator Liping Liu (pictured above), assistant professor in LTU’s A. Leon Linton Department of Mechanical Engineering. Other members are Robert Fletcher and Andrew Gerhart, professors, and James Mynderse, assistant professor, also in the mechanical engineering department. 

“The NFPA wants students to know more about fluid power,” Liu said. “Some of the elements are covered in our current fluid mechanics classes, but they want more students engaged in this area and to make students more aware of fluid power applications, including pneumatics and hydraulics.”

Liu said Lawrence Tech’s existing involvement with engineering programs emphasizing entrepreneurship and innovation – such as KEEN, the Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network – lay a strong foundation for the entrepreneurial-minded course modules to be developed under the grant.

Liu said the four professors are already at work developing fluid power-based modules for LTU fluid mechanics and thermodynamics courses, which are taught to mechanical engineering majors in their junior year. Those modules will be shared with the engineering education community.

Founded in 1953 and based in Milwaukee, the National Fluid Power Association brings fluid power industry partners together to advance fluid power technology and foster members’ success. NFPA’s 315 members include fluid power manufacturers, distributors, educators and researchers.