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Torsion Mobile App for Engineering Education Using a High Performance Computer (HPC) Cluster

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Mechanics of Materials

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1587.1 - 26.1587.14



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Paper Authors


Kurt C. Gramoll University of Oklahoma

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Prof. Kurt Gramoll is currently the Hughes Centennial Professor of Engineering at the University of Oklahoma. He has previously taught at the University of Memphis and Georgia Tech. He graduated from Virginia Tech with a PhD in Engineering Science and Mechanics in 1988. His research includes development and implementation of educational technologies for engineering education and training that utilize simulations.

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Torsion Mobile App for Engineering Education Using a High Performance Computer (HPC) ClusterEngineering students are rapidly expecting learning tools to be delivered on their tablets andsmart phones, including simulation tools for basic courses such as solid and fluid mechanics. Toaddress this issue, a basic torsional stress simulation tool for mobile devices was developed andimplemented into a traditional first year solid mechanics class (Mechanics of Materials). Theapp, torsionHPC, allows students to determine stresses for a variety of common torsional shaftcross sections. The app was used in class for discussion and homework assignments. The paperpresents how the app was developed and used. Student comments and response is also includedin the paperRunning engineering simulations using FEA on a mobile device was investigated forresponsiveness and speed. Users expect quick response for tablets and smart phones, but theyhave relatively slow CPUs when compared to desktop computers. The solution was to do allnumerical calculations at a remote server or server cluster. This allowed the actual the FEM codeto be compiled for a high-end server with multiple cores. Still, a number of innovative methodshad to be developed to ensure multiple users can access the servers at one time. Currently, a250,000 DOF linear torsional problem can be solved in less than 12 seconds, which includesnetwork communication and solving time.The paper also discusses developing engineering mobile apps as a non-computer scientist. Thework determined that Abobe AIR development framework allows relatively easy development ofweb and mobile apps when compared to native programming or HTML5 with JavaScript. AIRalso avoids programming the same app three times (web browsers, Android and iOS).Programming with AIR framework requires using ActionScript which is similar to JavaScript orC#, and is reasonably easy to learn. Unlike traditional desktop (and laptop) computers, mobiledevices generally must download software through specific web sites such as Apple App Storeand Google Play Store. The paper explores the problems with preparing academic apps fordelivery through the Play Store for Android devices and the App Store for iOS devices.

Gramoll, K. C. (2015, June), Torsion Mobile App for Engineering Education Using a High Performance Computer (HPC) Cluster Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24923

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