2.051 | Fall 2015 | Undergraduate

Introduction to Heat Transfer


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week; 1.5 hours / session

Recitations: 1 session / week; 1 hour / session

Note: This is a half-semester course that takes place during the second half of the term.


2.05 Thermodynamics


This course is an introduction to the principal concepts and methods of heat transfer. The specific objectives of this integrated subject are as follows:

  1. To develop the fundamental principles and laws of heat transfer and to explore the implications of these principles for system behavior.
  2. To formulate the models necessary to study, analyze and design heat transfer systems through the application of these principles.
  3. To develop the problem-solving skills essential to good engineering practice of heat transfer in real-world applications.

Topics covered in the course:

  • Fourier’s law
  • Conduction processes
  • Thermal resistance
  • Fins
  • Heat equation and lumped capacitance
  • Elementary convection, including laminar and turbulent boundary layers
  • Thermal radiation, including Stefan-Boltzmann law
  • Basic concepts of heat exchangers.

Students will have the opportunity to demonstrate a familiarity and ability to work on heat transfer. These outcomes will be demonstrated through an assessment of homework assignments, two quizzes.



Bergman, Theodore L., Adrienne S. Lavine, Frank P. Incropera, et al. Introduction to Heat Transfer. Wiley, 2011. ISBN: 9780470501962. [Preview with Google Books]


Lienhard, John H., and John H. Lienhard. A Heat Transfer Textbook. Dover Publications, 2011. ISBN: 9780486479316. [Preview with Google Books] A version of the textbook is available online, for free.


Homework Assignments 20%
Quiz 1 40%
Quiz 2 40%

Homework Policy

Problem sets for this course are not available on MIT OpenCourseWare. The homework policy is provided for your information.

All homework grading will be based mostly on effort. The reasons are several. First, effort is something over which you have full control, whereas numerical correctness is much harder to control. We therefore want to remove any anxiety based on thoughts such as “Did I get the right numerical answer or not?” Second, we hope that this will discourage you from copying the work of others. The effort-based grading scale is P / D / F, with the following meanings and numerical conversions:

  • P (worth 2 points) Good effort: Problem essentially completed.
  • D (worth 1 points) Minimal effort: Problem partially done.
  • F (worth 0 point) No effort: Problem set not done, or essentially not done.

Each problem (or part of longer problems) in the homework assignment will be graded according to this scale. Your problem set score will be the sum of all the grades on the individual problems (or parts of problems) in that set. Note that we define ‘Good Effort’ as completing all sections of a problem and employing sound physical principles. Assignments that are incomplete or demonstrate an inadequate physical understanding will not receive a ‘P’. Further, if we suspect your work has been plagiarized, we reserve the right to assign an ‘F’ (0 points) to the entire problem set.

Quiz Policy

There are two quizzes, which will each be administered on campus and will last for two hours.

A scientific calculator and writing instrument will be required. Crib sheets, other written matter or pre-programmed calculators will not be allowed. We will provide an equation sheet during the quiz, and it will be available for review prior to the quiz.

Students are strongly encouraged to take the quizzes at the specified times. In case a student has a major conflict (e.g., medical emergency) the instructors will likely administer an oral make-up quiz.

Academic Honesty

You have joined a community of scholars at MIT. In joining that community, you have inherently assented to embracing the values of that community. Among those values is a commitment to honesty with yourself, your peers and your faculty. We believe that most of our students are academically honest; and as a consequence, the faculty will assume that the class is abiding by this covenant. If evidence comes to light that an individual or group of individuals are not, in addition to direct sanctions within the course structure, the case will be referred to the Committee on Discipline.

You should not underestimate how important this covenant is held by the faculty and by the Institute. In the past, there are cases where students that have breached this covenant and were referred to the Committee on Discipline ended up being required to leave MIT.

A short non-exhaustive list of examples that constitute a breach of academic honesty:

  • Carrying prohibited crib sheets or calculator programs into a quiz.
  • Submitting homework in whole or in part that is not generated by you. (Copied from another source.)
  • Submitting another student’s work as your own.
  • Referring to prohibited reference material during a quiz.
  • Promulgate or willingly receive information on a quiz prior to its general dissemination to the class by the faculty.
  • Engaging in any behavior to reduce the grade or performance of another student.
  • Engaging in behavior to illegitimately obtain course materials before they are issued to the class by the faculty.

Further discussion and links on these issues can be found on the Mechanical Engineering Department’s Ethics and Integrity webpage.

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2015
Learning Resource Types
Online Textbook