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Microdynamics versus Macrodynamics – An Interdisciplinary Student Project

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Approaches to Mathematics Curriculum to Include Projects and Technologies

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Page Count


Page Numbers

24.904.1 - 24.904.15



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Paper Authors


Gunter Bischof Joanneum University of Applied Sciences

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Throughout his career, Dr. Gunter Bischof has combined his interest in science, engineering and education. He studied physics at the University of Vienna, Austria, and acquired industry experience as development engineer at Siemens Corporation. Currently he is a faculty member at Joanneum University of Applied Sciences and teaches Engineering Mathematics and Fluid Mechanics. His research interests focus on vehicle dynamics, materials physics, and on engineering education.

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Annette Casey B.A. University of Applied Sciences FH JOANNEUM, Graz, Austria

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Annette Casey is a faculty member of the Institute of Automotive Engineering at the University of Applied Sciences FH JOANNEUM, Graz, where she has been teaching undergraduate English for Specific Purposes (ESP) courses for the past fifteen years. After graduating from Dublin City University with a B.A. (Hons.) in Applied Languages, she taught at several schools in Austria, before taking up a three-year appointment as an exchange lecturer at the Department of English and American Studies at the University of Klagenfurt, Austria. She has also worked extensively as a freelance language trainer at other third level institutions and in industry. Her research interests include ESP, Engineering Education, Project-based Learning, Materials Development and Educational Research Methods.

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Emilia Andreeva-Moschen Bombardier Transportation Austria GmbH

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Since 2013 Bombardier Transportation Austria GmbH
Director Drives Engineering
Since 2013 External lecturer at the Technical University Vienna
Sensors and Actuators

2012 – 1997 FH JOANNEUM
2006 – 2012 Head of Department of Automotive and Railway Engineering:
2006 – 2012 Head of accredited test laboratory (accredited to EN ISO/IEC 17025).
2008 – 2012 Head of Budget Committee
2008 – 2012 Member of the working group responsible for quality at the UAS.
2006 – 2012 Head of Board of Trustees of Department of Automotive and Railway Engineering.
2006 – 2012 Founder and Coordinator of the Field of Competence “Measurement Technology”
2006 – 2012 Founder and Coordinator of the Field of Competence „Engineering Education“
1998 – 2005 University’s representative in the national project “Women in Technic”
1997 – 2006 Professor of “Measurement Technology, Signal Analysis and Informatics in the Department of Automotive and Railway Engineering

1994 – 1997 EVK, Graz (Automation, Measurement Technology)
Project leader, Product management and marketing, Engineering

1991 – 1994 CPA/Steinklauber, Graz (Automation, Control)
Project management, engineering

1989 – 1991 Institute of Microprocessor Technology in Sofia
Software and hardware development


2001 – 2005 PhD at the Technical University Graz, graduated with distinction
1985 – 1989 Degree in Technical Journalism at the TU Sofia, graduated with distinction
1984 – 1989 Degree in Electrics and Electronics, specialization in medical electronics at the TU Sofia, graduated with distinction
1983 – 1984 Professional education at the Commercial Academy in Sofia, sales assistant certificate, passed with distinction
1982 - 1983 Professional education at “Orbita” Tourist Agency, certified translator and tour guide (German and Russian), passed with distinction
1979 – 1984 German High School, passed with distinction
Further education: numerous trainings, workshops and distance study programs in personnel management, controlling, economics, quality management, etc.

2012 Member of the curatorial of the Siemens Railway Award
since 2007 Member of the curatorial of the Magna Excellence Engineering Award
2008 Member of the development team of department of Industrial Management
2005 Member of the development team of department of Industrial Electronic and Technology Management
2002, 2007 Expert at the European Commission
2003, 2004 Visiting lecturer at TU Sofia
since 1988 Translator

Languages: German (mother tongue level), English (business fluent), Bulgarian (mother tongue), Russian (good)

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Microdynamics versus Macrodynamics – An Interdisciplinary Student ProjectProject based learning has proved to be an appropriate method to demonstrate the interaction ofmathematics, science and informatics in the engineering disciplines. A particularly suitable way ofdoing so turned out to be the establishment of interdisciplinary student projects within theframework of the Information Systems and Programming courses in close cooperation with theEngineering Mathematics courses. The students are offered a variety of project proposals at thebeginning of the semester and choose their projects according to their interests and skills. One ofthose projects, the development of computer programs for the simulation and visualization of two-dimensional incompressible fluid flows, will be presented in this paper.The behavior of a viscous incompressible fluid is governed by the simplified Navier-Stokes equations,a coupled system of nonlinear partial differential equations. While the numerical solution of linearpartial differential equations is part of the standard undergraduate engineering mathematicscurriculum, the nonlinearity of the problem made it necessary to offer supplementary lectures inorder to bridge the students’ knowledge gap. On the basis of this pledge of support, threesophomore student teams took up the challenge to simulate and visualize the flow of incompressiblefluids within the finite difference method.For comparison, another student team tackled the same problem with a cellular automatonapproach. The microscopic interactions in such lattice-gas cellular automata lead to the same form ofmacroscopic equations for the simulation of fluid flow. These models are different to the classicalfluid dynamics computations based on the discretization of partial differential equations. Theyconsider artificial micro-worlds of particles located on lattices with interactions that conserve massand momentum. From their microdynamical Boolean rules macrodynamical equations can beobtained, which reduce in suitable limits to the incompressible Navier-Stokes equations.For a better comparability of the results of the macrodynamical and the microdynamical approach, astandard example in fluid dynamics - the viscous flow driven by the tangential motion of the topboundary in a rectangular cavity - was to be simulated by all participating student teams.After a period of some conceptual difficulties, the cellular automaton project team was makingbetter progress than the teams who directly solved the Navier-Stokes equations, and managed tosimulate and visualize the flow of incompressible fluids through and around various two-dimensionalgeometries.At the end of the semester, each team was required to give a presentation to the other students ofthe class and the project advisors. Question and answer sessions following the presentations gavethe students the opportunity to discuss their approaches and methods in some detail.The projects, in general, and the visual perception of the flow fields derived from their self-madecomputer programs, in particular, have led to a deeper insight into fluid dynamics than solelyteacher-centered instruction could convey. In this paper the project work, the students’ learningprocess and its assessment will be discussed, and the outcome of the projects will be presented.

Bischof, G., & Casey, A., & Andreeva-Moschen, E. (2014, June), Microdynamics versus Macrodynamics – An Interdisciplinary Student Project Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--22837

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