Contribuciones a la Educación en Ingeniería. Identificación de retos y propuesta de soluciones

  1. Martínez Luna, Macarena
Supervised by:
  1. José Manuel Andújar Márquez Director
  2. Francisca Segura Manzano Director

Defence university: Universidad de Huelva

Fecha de defensa: 16 October 2023


Type: Thesis


This report is organised in 5 chapters according to the following distribution: in "Chapter 1. Introduction", a description of the structure of the Thesis is given, briefly commenting on the objective and contribution of each of the chapters, the projects that have supported and financed this Thesis report are presented, as well as the scientific output that the work carried out in this Thesis has produced to date. , begins with a timeline on the evolution of the participation of women graduates in higher education classified by disciplines in both the EU and Spain. This timeline shows the low participation of women in the STEM field from 2014 to 2020, not exceeding 34% in the EU and 29% in Spain. Similarly, another graph, this time from the University of Huelva, shows the number of women enrolled in Industrial Electronic Engineering, Industrial Mechanical Engineering and Computer Engineering. This graph, like the previous ones, shows that the number of women enrolled in these three engineering degrees has not been able to exceed 20% from the academic year 2013/2014 to the current 2022/2023. After observing this background, the chapter conducts a study to analyse the possible causes of this low participation. The study covers the period from primary education to the first years in the world of work, and is carried out by means of surveys. These surveys are based on three predictive models from psychology: 1) Expectancy Value Theory of Motivation, 2) Social Role Theory and 3) Gender Stereotypes Theory. The chapter ends by analysing the results obtained from the surveys and the possible reasons why, in the 21st century, there is still no equity in the participation of women in the STEM field. In addition to distributing surveys, participatory workshops have been held in primary and secondary schools. The aim of these participatory workshops is to introduce students to STEM careers through techno-scientific practices. The complexity of these participatory workshops is adapted to the age of the students. According to the "Gender Stereotypes Theory" explained above, stereotypes influence the choice of a profession. For this reason, in order to attract girls to the STEM field, women related to this field have been responsible for leading the workshops. These participatory workshops are related to renewable energies, electronic engineering and chemical engineering. transform the teaching-learning method in education, adapting to the new challenges posed by COVID-19, as well as the new ecological transition adopted by the EU. In order to bring education to the students, the EU had to adopt several measures, converting education into a hybrid model, combining online and face-to-face education. The chapter then discusses the four types of laboratories that exist: virtual laboratory with local access; virtual laboratory with remote access; real laboratory with local access; real laboratory with remote access. Of these four types, it is determined that the laboratory that offers the most advantages is the real laboratory with remote access, also known as remote laboratory. Among the advantages of these laboratories are, for example, 24/7 access; students with a job have no difficulty in adapting their schedules to the practical activities; students can repeat the practical activities as many times as they need. The chapter proposes the implementation of remote laboratories as a new teaching method, especially in laboratory practices in science and technology courses. Remote laboratories are still a developing technology, but with the advent of COVID-19 they have become a useful and versatile new methodology. But the implementation of remote laboratories proposed in this chapter is not an isolated idea; it is a collaboration between five European universities to create a standardised platform capable of hosting different remote laboratories physically located in these universities. This merger of these five universities generates a great technological variety for students, since an engineering practice laboratory involves a large financial outlay, maintenance and, above all, physical space. With this collaborative network of laboratories, students can have a wide range of laboratories at their disposal, broadening their knowledge in other branches of engineering. Moreover, these laboratories not only allow them to broaden their knowledge in other fields, but are also based on renewable energies, which allows students to learn and become familiar with this type of technologies implemented in the short term by the EU. For some years now, several institutions have implemented the use of remote laboratories in their academic practices, but the creation of a collaborative remote laboratory platform had not been addressed. This platform, apart from some of the advantages mentioned above, includes the implementation and development of renewable energy applications in a residential use. For this reason, students, apart from enjoying various remote laboratories and broadening their knowledge about different renewable energy sources, can also see their practical application in real life. The remote laboratory implemented by the UHU is based on a bank of supercapacitors. Supercapacitors are storage elements that allow fast charge and discharge cycles. This is due to their high energy density, which endows them with some advantages, such as being able to handle high current values, have large voltage and temperature ranges or have long operating cycles. With all these advantages, supercapacitors are nowadays used as energy back-up, covering peak demand so as not to overload the grid; they cover supply interruptions; or they stabilise the voltage supplied by photovoltaic panels. Another advantage of supercapacitors is their use in hybrid cars, and their installation in hydrogen-based systems is feasible. can be understood as a continuation or practical application of the work developed in the previous chapter, starting from a theoretical acquisition of knowledge through the remote laboratories based on renewable energies implemented in the universities, and ending by putting this theoretical knowledge into daily practice. Today's lifestyles have changed, the population is becoming increasingly urban, and by 2050, the urban population is expected to reach 68%, with urbanisation being one of the most transformative trends of the 21st century. With the increase in world population and the general improvement in living conditions, the demand for food, water and energy is expected to increase by 50%, 30% and 45%, respectively. The increase in demand for food, as well as the expansion of on-line trade, will be accompanied by a proportional growth in the transport of food, usually refrigerated. However, the transport sector is one of the most polluting sectors, in Spain, for example, in 2019, it accounted for 29.1% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Specifically, light trucks and vans used for a wide range of services such as construction, refrigerated food delivery and ambulances, are responsible for 2.5% of total carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the European Union (EU). On the other hand, the cold chain, which guarantees the quality and safety of food during transport and delivery, is maintained by refrigeration systems integrated in the vehicles. These refrigeration systems, whether electric or mechanical, are always powered by a combustion (diesel) engine, the same combustion engine that powers light trucks and vans, or an auxiliary combustion engine in large trucks. Therefore, transport vehicles equipped with refrigeration systems consume more fuel and emit more GHGs. The environmental impact of a diesel engine cooling system can be up to 40% of the vehicle's propulsion engine. The additional diesel consumption due to cooling systems is around 12%, which represents a fuel cost of EUR 6 000 per year, approximately 40% of the direct cost. In view of the above, refrigerated transport is recognised as one of the main processes in terms of potential energy savings and reduction of GHG emissions in cold chains. The replacement of diesel refrigeration systems by diesel is a strong recommendation for the coming years. In this context, the European Parliament has set an average CO2 emissions target of 147 g CO2/km for new light commercial vehicles (LCVs) registered in the EU between 2020 and 2024. Spain has a fleet of around 2.5 million LCVs, and aims to reduce emissions by 27 Mt CO2 by 2030. With the implementation of these new measures, which will be developed gradually, it is very important that the population becomes aware of global warming. For this reason, this chapter aims to make students aware of the benefits of using renewable energies. To this end, the practical application that students will carry out consists of replacing the truck's cooling system with green hydrogen technology, i.e. a fuel cell. The actual implementation of a hybrid fuel cell system involves a thorough study of all the elements that make up the system and the interrelationship between them. In addition, it must be taken into account that fuel cell systems are not yet widely available on the market and, therefore, their availability and commercial offer is quite limited. On the other hand, the physical characteristics and operation of this type of system place additional requirements on the power conditioners and auxiliary sources. discusses the most relevant conclusions obtained in this Thesis, and frames the lines of research that have been opened up by the work carried out, as well as proposing strategies and actions in this sense.