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Development And Implementation Of Interactive/Visual Software For Steady State And Transient Heat Conduction Problems

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Computing Tools for Engineering Education

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.451.1 - 11.451.12



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Paper Authors

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Hassouneh Al-Matar Oklahoma State University

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Afshin Ghajar Oklahoma State University

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Ronald Delahoussaye Oklahoma State University

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

Development and Implementation of Interactive/Visual Software for Steady State and Transient Heat Conduction Problems

Afshin J. Ghajar, Ronald D. Delahoussaye, Hassouneh Al-Matar School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Oklahoma State University Stillwater, OK 74078

Abstract This paper describes a versatile, user-friendly, and easy to understand computer program that has been developed to teach the numerical solution of steady state and transient heat conduction. The program has been class room tested for many semesters and it was very well received by the students.

Introduction The school of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Oklahoma State University offers MAE 3233, “Heat Transfer”, as a required course for the Mechanical Engineering degree and an elective course for the Aerospace Engineering degree. Student use of software to analyze 1-D and 2-D steady state and transient heat conduction problems has been an important part of this course since 1994. Use of software has been particularly important in appreciating the power of numerical methods in solving engineering heat transfer problems. The software described in this paper is based on the finite difference method and can handle three types of boundary conditions (constant temperature, specified heat flux, and convection) and two types of numerical schemes (implicit and explicit). The user has access to a built in material properties library for selection of realistic material properties. The program provides tabular output, graphical output, and shaded and animated temperature plots for steady and transient cases. The primary goal of this project was to develop MS Windows based software that is effective for teaching; easy to use, maintain and update; and freely available to all.

Motivation for the Project Before starting this project, the authors were aware of many existing software options for computer based heat transfer analysis. Unfortunately, all of them had major drawbacks for our purposes. There are professional level programs that can perform highly detailed heat transfer and fluid flow analysis, and most are available at a substantial educational discount. These programs have three major drawbacks: they are not designed to teach numerical heat transfer analysis; the time required to learn to use these programs is substantial; and the cost to individual students is still fairly high. Many heat transfer textbooks (see for example References 1 and 2) now include software aimed at teaching the concepts of numerical heat transfer analysis, but these are only available to students who purchase the textbook. Our preferred textbook did not offer such software at the time we undertook this project. In general, we prefer to choose the textbook on the basis of the content of the book itself. Any software provided by the book is an added bonus. This paper is in no way intended as a criticism of the software available with current Heat Transfer textbooks.


Al-Matar, H., & Ghajar, A., & Delahoussaye, R. (2006, June), Development And Implementation Of Interactive/Visual Software For Steady State And Transient Heat Conduction Problems Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--539

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