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Lessons Learned In Adopting A Cfd Package

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Software and E-learning in the ME Curriculum

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1017.1 - 12.1017.16



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Paper Authors


David Blekhman California State University Los Angeles

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David Blekhman is an Assistant Professor in the School of Engineering at Grand Valley State University. He holds M.S. in Thermal Physics from St. Petersburg State Technical University, Russia and a Ph. D. in Mechanical Engineering from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Since joining GVSU, he has taught courses in the Mechanics and Thermal-Fluids sequences. He has also focused on developing courses in Combustion and Alternative Energy.

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

Lessons Learned in Adopting a CFD Package

Abstract Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) used to be a luxury reserved for elective undergraduate or graduate engineering courses. Now it is being rapidly adopted in introductory Fluid Mechanics courses. This, in large part, became possible with the introduction of FlowLab, which is specifically designed for this purpose. The software is offered with several Fluid Mechanics textbooks and is free for the duration of the course. It comes with a selection of modules addressing both internal and external flows. It is designed to simplify the instructor’s work and to accelerate student learning by streamlining such issues as geometry, meshing, application of boundary conditions, and data postprocessing. However, this design has its drawbacks, allowing the instructor only limited capabilities in adopting the software. The experience of introducing FlowLab into the Fluid Mechanics course at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) was mixed. The course was offered with an integrated laboratory. Complexities arose from the need to introduce the Fluid Mechanics fundamentals before any productive work in FlowLab could be performed, leaving limited time for thorough integration. After a few introductory demonstrations and tutorials, students used FlowLab to simulate the experimental results from laboratories on the converging-diverging channel, flow over a cylinder, and flow over an airfoil. The results were mixed, ranging from an excellent agreement in the case of the airfoil to questionable in the case of the flow over a cylinder. Nevertheless, in all cases FlowLab was an excellent tool in visualizing the flow. Adoption of the software created more work for students, which was reflected in their responses. Overall, students’ involvement ranged from low to very excited. Some students asked for more features to solve real-world problems. A number of high quality publications have recently appeared on the topic, discussing the implementation and integration of the package into existing courses and the redesign of teaching philosophy. This paper continues the discussion, confirming that further improvements are warranted on the instruction side as well as on the part of the software developers.

Introduction Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is playing an increasing role in engineering. Both the advances in hardware and numerical methods have greatly contributed to the broad acceptance of CFD in the industry. Academics, while teaching the foundations of engineering, mold the curriculum to embrace the modern engineering tools. Over the past several years, a new CFD software, FlowLab, has been introduced to the wide academic community through the extensive efforts and commitment of Fluent Inc. and several core institutions. Previously a luxury reserved for elective undergraduate or graduate courses, FlowLab now significantly simplifies the integration of CFD topics into the undergraduate Fluid Mechanics and Heat and Mass Transfer courses. The inclusion of CFD into the curriculum takes place via several routes. Purely CFD-dedicated courses rely on the introduction of numerical methods in fluid dynamics and incorporate commercial packages like Fluent1, 2, CFX3 and Star-CD, to name a few, where Aung3 provides a

Blekhman, D. (2007, June), Lessons Learned In Adopting A Cfd Package Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1943

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