June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
11.141.1 - 11.141.13
A Virtual Laboratory on Fluid Mechanics Abstract
This paper describes the development of an interactive Web-based virtual laboratory on fluid mechanics at Stevens Institute of Technology (SIT),1 which integrates animations, graphics and analysis results in order to achieve a realistic feel of the experiment and to enhance the students’ understanding of some complex concepts of fluid mechanics. Based on existing real experimental setups, different experiment simulations were implemented using the Python programming language, such as a wind tunnel and an air flow rig. In the wind tunnel experiment, the lift forces for several kinds of airfoils can be experimented with virtually. The users can specify certain parameters for controlling the simulations and obtain the corresponding lift force outputs, including tables, figures and data listings. Furthermore, the users can display a 3-D rendering of the wind tunnel equipment in the graphical user interface as well as a 2-D animation of the stream lines. The simulation achieves a good degree of accuracy for steady state conditions over a wide range of parameters.
Key words: Virtual laboratory, fluid mechanics, wind tunnel, air flow rig, Python programming language
Fluid mechanics is the study of fluids, i.e. gases and liquids. It is one of the most challenging areas of engineering sciences with difficult to understand concepts. Many kinds of experimental equipment are used to study the various phenomena of fluid mechanics, such as wind tunnels, Reynolds number rigs and fluid flow rigs. While such equipment is very helpful to students for better understanding theoretical concepts through experimentation, it is also difficult to analyze arbitrary fluid motion. Currently, modern information technology based on the Internet is rapidly being adopted in engineering education as a tool for enhancing the educational experience of students residing on campus as well as beyond the local campus. Many educational instructors have implemented virtual and remote laboratories.2,3,4,5 Chaturvedi et al.6 developed a thermo- fluids laboratory titled “Venturimeter as a Flow Measuring Device” as a computer-based experiment for undergraduates. This virtual experiment combines three unique aspects: the use of computer-generated data to recreate the physical phenomenon, virtual experimentation and measurements on a computer, and the coupling of the virtual experiment with the LabVIEW software to introduce students to digital data acquisition and analysis. Gillet et al.7 described the development and sharing of Web-based experimentation resources. Their program integrates the necessary components to carry out hands-on practice in a flexible learning context. At the same time, the experimental devices of this program can be accessed by more students from remote locations at any time over the Internet. A physical laboratory called SoftLab was developed at Purdue University 8 to provide an environment for both physical experiments and numerical simulations. A more realistic Fluids Laboratory 9 as an integrated learning environment was developed by IIHR-Hydroscience & Engineering at The University of Iowa. This laboratory is configured to provide unrestricted and user-friendly access to comprehensive insights in fluid mechanics and hydraulics. With the addition of the Virtual Fluids Lab, experiments can be conducted online at any time and from any place.
Jia, R., & Xu, S., & Gao, S., & Aziz, E., & Esche, S., & Chassapis, C. (2006, June), A Virtual Laboratory On Fluid Mechanics Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. https://peer.asee.org/1151
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