Asee peer logo

Development Of An Educational Interface For “Hands On” Student Experience Cfd In Undergraduate Engineering Courses And Laboratories

Download Paper |


2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.450.1 - 9.450.31

Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Frederick Stern

Download Paper |

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

the final section was insulated providing an adiabatic mixing length to allow a single or bulk reading of the final air temperature. The apparatus was equipped with instrumentation for measuring (1) air mass flow rate, (2) pressure drop over a given length, (3) temperature distribution along the duct wall and temperature rise of the air, (4) temperature profile at the exit of the duct, and (5) energy input to the heating ribbon. In previous years, this lab involved operation at one heated condition (corresponding to a single Reynolds number and Nusselt number) and several unheated conditions. In order to accommodate complementary numerical simulations using FlowLab, the lab was modified to include operation at one heated condition only with operation at the unheated conditions being dropped.

In the first week of the lab for each student group, the instructor introduced the experimental set- up and data acquisition as well as the pipe flow template. The hands-on template introduction involved each student following directions from the instructor for simulating the heated pipe flow using sample input data. This was done in a computer lab adjacent to the experimental apparatus. In the second week, data processing was discussed in a recitation session. The lab report was due a week after that. Students were provided with a handout that discussed (1) the basic strategy of CFD, (2) the CFD solution process, (3) the details of stepping through this process in the pipe flow template, (4) background on turbulence modeling, and (5) operating details of running FlowLab, such as controlling the graphical display and exporting files into Excel, and using the computer lab. This handout will be made available on the FlowLab website as an example for interested instructors at other universities.

In their reports, students were required to compare the friction factor and Nusselt number obtained from their experiment with corresponding values from their FlowLab simulation and correlations in the literature. A typical comparison of the results for a Reynolds number (based on pipe diameter) of 100,820 is shown in Table 5. The simulation results compare reasonably well with those from experiment, with the difference in friction factor and Nusselt number being 7% and 4%, respectively.

Table 5: Typical results for the pipe flow lab at Cornell university. Exper iment Simulation Cor r elation Friction factor 0.0180±0.003 0.0168 0.0177 Nusselt no. 185 192 183

The pipe flow template enabled students to visualize velocity vectors and the temperature field which helped them gain a better physical understanding of the experimental system than is possible from a few point measurements. This was noted by a majority of students in their course evaluation. The template helped them appreciate that numerical modeling involves approximations and tradeoffs. The simulations were used to confirm some of the assumptions made in data reduction for the experiment, for instance, that the adiabatic mixing region is long enough for the temperature to be uniform at its exit. The template results provided confirmation of the experimental and correlation results, and showed how these approaches can complement each other.

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Stern, F. (2004, June), Development Of An Educational Interface For “Hands On” Student Experience Cfd In Undergraduate Engineering Courses And Laboratories Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2004 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015