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Course Materials and Educational Aids
Prof. John R. White

I am no longer actively teaching courses at UML!!! However, over the years, I have taught a variety of nuclear engineering and general mathematics and engineering courses at UMass-Lowell and, in some cases, I have generated a substantial amount of additional support materials for many of these courses. Since many of these resources may be useful to future generations of students, I have decided to make many of these educational aids available here.

In all cases, some general information about course content, along with some potentially useful additional educational resources (i.e. typical HWs, sample Quizzes and Exams, etc.), are provided. In some specific cases, however, significant course content is provided via detailed Lecture Notes and/or Lecture Presentations. Also, since most of my courses used Matlab quite extensively, links to a variety of Matlab examples for the various courses are also provided.

I hope you find some of this stuff useful!   Enjoy!!!

Nuclear Engineering Courses

Fundamentals of Nuclear Science & Engineering
This course provides an overview of a variety of fundamental nuclear science and engineering concepts that form the basis for all contemporary nuclear technology applications. The course topics include basic atomic and nuclear physics, some concepts from modern physics, an overview of some important nuclear models and nuclear stability considerations, basic nuclear reactions and the conservation laws that govern these interactions, various radioactive decay and transmutation processes, and the interaction of neutrons and gamma rays with matter. The course also includes the study of the energy dependence of neutron and gamma cross sections, the slowing down process, the computation of microscopic and macroscopic reactions rates, and the characterization of different materials used in a variety of nuclear applications. A variety of practical applications are highlighted.

Nuclear Reactor Theory
This course gives the necessary background to understand the design, operation, and control of nuclear reactors, with emphasis on what is happening in the reactor core and surrounding regions. Topics of interest include the development of the multigroup neutron balance equation, the analysis of neutron diffusion in non-multiplying media and within various critical reactor configurations, and the study of reactor kinetics and control (including reactivity effects and their impact on reactor safety). Longer term effects involving fission product poisoning and fuel depletion are also reviewed. The connection of reactor theory to real reactor design and operation, with a strong link to actual operation of the UMass-Lowell Research Reactor (UMLRR), is also emphasized throughout this course.

Reactor Experiments
This is a laboratory-based course that uses the UMass-Lowell Research Reactor (UMLRR) to illustrate, validate, and expand upon a mix of topics from reactor core physics, reactor operations and control, and balance-of-plant/energy removal considerations in nuclear systems. Typical experiments may include topics such as illustrating how to use the concept of subcritical multiplication to safely approach a critical state, the demonstration of various techniques for measuring reactivity, the actual generation of blade worth curves within the UMLRR, and the analysis of various reactor kinetics and dynamics scenarios (including temperature and xenon effects). Matlab is used for data analysis and for reactor simulation, as appropriate.

The course is offered as an Internet-based Reactor Lab (IRL) experience. The students participate in the reactor labs via the UMLRR Online application which allows real-time remote access to data from the reactor, and via web-based chat capability with the reactor operators and course instructor. The course instructor provides the class lectures and moderates the lab sessions using a remote conferencing tool. Everyone is able to observe and interact directly with the reactor staff during the labs and have access to the same real-time data available to the reactor operators. After completion of each reactor lab sequence, the composite operations data can be downloaded and used with offline visualization and data analysis tools to help extract and analyze the data pertinent for a given experiment. Pre-analysis and post-analysis of the reactor labs/demos are required as part of a sequence of structured weekly HW assignments. Regular involvement/interaction during class via routine informal discussions and a few short semi-formal oral presentations is also expected of all students.

General Mathematics and Engineering Courses

Differential Equations
This course represents an introduction to mathematical modeling and to the various solution techniques available to solve and analyze the resultant differential equations. The emphasis in this first course in differential equations is on the development of basic skills for the modeling and analysis of physical systems governed by one independent variable (ODEs). Computer implementation for visualization, analytical and numerical solution, and comprehensive analysis is also emphasized. Several computational examples are illustrated using the Matlab package.

Applied Problem Solving with Matlab
This introductory numerical methods course develops problem solving skills for a broad range of technical applications. Matlab is used as the programming environment, since it gives all the key elements of a full programming language, yet its large inventory of built-in functions and relatively concise syntax allows the solution of complex problems within short, well-structured programs. Applied numerical methods are introduced as a means for solving a wide variety of engineering problems.

The course is broken into two components, with the first several weeks devoted to learning Matlab, and the remainder on the couse focused on numerical methods and applications. In the second part of the course, after a brief discussion of numerical error, the numerical techniques studied include topics such as roots of equations, systems of linear and nonlinear equations, curve fitting, numerical integration, ordinary differential equations, etc., with the emphasis on how to use these methods to solve engineering problems.

Fluid Mechanics
This course introduces the student to several fundamental concepts and applications of fluid mechanics. It overviews the basic properties of fluids, the study of fluid statics and fluid flow systems, and the development and application of the appropriate mass, momentum, and energy balance relationships needed to solve a variety of practical problems, with a particular focus on the macroscopic view. Emphasis is on the ability to apply the basic principles to the design and analysis of engineering systems involving applications in hydrostatics, internal flows, pump selection, flow measurement, etc.. The course also focuses on proper problem-solving strategy and on the correct use of units in engineering analysis.

Heat Transfer
This course introduces the student to several fundamental concepts and a variety of engineering applications of heat transfer. The primary focus is to provide a good understanding of the principles associated with the three modes of heat transfer: conduction, convection, and radiation, and to use these principles to solve a wide range of practical heat transfer problems. The key mechanisms of heat transfer are illustrated and applied through the solution of a variety of in-class example problems and in the homework assignments.

Math Methods for Engineers
This course highlights several key analytical and computational techniques from the field of applied engineering mathematics. The primary focus is on the solution of ordinary and partial differential equations using both analytical and numerical methods. Selected topics from introductory differential equations and linear algebra are reviewed briefly. General solution methods for IVPs and BVPs are then treated with both analytical methods (where possible) and numerical techniques. Power series solution methods, special functions, orthogonality, the Sturm-Liouville problem, and generalized Fourier series are then discussed as tools for advanced analysis. Analytical solution of PDEs via the separation of variables method and the numerical solution of PDEs via the finite difference method are highlighted. Considerable computer work using the Matlab and COMSOL packages is required.

System Dynamics
This course introduces several analytical and computational aspects of system dynamics. The course presents the mathematical foundation necessary for the analysis of any dynamic system, with an emphasis on the generalized state variable approach for describing a system's transient behavior. Specific topics include matrix fundamentals, time and frequency domain simulation methods, transfer functions, and an introduction to control system design. Matlab and Simulink are used extensively throughout the course.

Last updated by Prof. John R. White (February 2020)

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