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Combining Experiments With Numerical Simulations In The Teaching Of Computational Fluid Dynamics

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Instrumentation and Laboratory Systems

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.302.1 - 8.302.11



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Paper Authors

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Laila Guessous

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session # 2220

Combining Experiments with Numerical Simulations in the Teaching of Computational Fluid Dynamics

Laila Guessous, Radoslav Bozinoski, Russell Kouba and Donald Woodward Dept. of Mechanical Engineering Oakland University, Rochester, MI 48309-4478


Due to the rapid increase in computing processing power and technology over the past two decades, Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) has become an essential tool, in addition to experimental and analytical methods, for the solution and analysis of fluid mechanics and heat transfer problems. The proliferation of commercial CFD software packages, such as Fluent, Star-CD, and Flow-3D, attests to the growing use of CFD in industry. This is in large part due to its usefulness in the design process. CFD analysis can provide insight and foresight into the operation and design of fluid systems, while reducing the “test-and-build” cycle by evaluating multiple designs cost-effectively. In academia, CFD methods have traditionally been taught at the graduate level. However, CFD computer programs and packages are also increasingly being integrated into the undergraduate curriculum, serving as “virtual fluids laboratories” to teach and reinforce concepts from fluid mechanics and heat transfer 1, or incorporated into senior-level engineering course electives 2, 3.

With the prevailing perception of such commercial software packages as mysterious black boxes, capable of generating results such as pressure drop, drag, and velocity distributions, it is important for mechanical engineering programs to graduate students with a basic understanding of the underlying concepts, capabilities, as well as limitations of CFD, i.e., graduates capable of assessing the validity and accuracy of the underlying numerical techniques used in commercial codes. This is particularly important since the “colorful” results of CFD can often mislead students into trusting all of the results (correct or erroneous) that the computer generates.

With this goal in mind, a senior/beginning graduate level course on Computational Fluid Dynamics (ME 439/539) was introduced in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Oakland University starting in the Fall semester 2001. The aspiration of the course was to strike a balance between 1) the “classical” teaching of CFD, which emphasizes the physical and mathematical foundations of CFD as well as computer code writing 4, and 2) a “hands-on” approach to CFD, which focuses on solving realistic problems using existing commercial software packages 5.

“Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education”

Guessous, L. (2003, June), Combining Experiments With Numerical Simulations In The Teaching Of Computational Fluid Dynamics Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12467

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