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Use Of Computational Fluid Dynamics (Cfd) In Teaching Fluid Mechanics

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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

Thermodynamics and Fluid Mechanics Instruction

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1527.1 - 12.1527.13

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Paper Authors


Cuneyt Sert Middle East Technical University

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Cuneyt Sert received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from the Mechanical Engineering Department of Middle East Technical University (METU), Ankara, Turkey and his Ph.D. degree from Texas A&M University. He is currently working as an Asst. Prof. at METU. His current research interests include numerical simulation of thermofluidic transport problems and development of active/visual software for the use of engineering education.

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Gunes Nakiboglu ROKETSAN Missiles Industries Inc.

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Gunes Nakiboglu received his B.S. degree from the Mechanical Engineering Department of Middle East Technical University (METU), Ankara, Turkey. He is currently involved with the Virtual Flow Lab project as a masters student in the same department. He is also working full time as a member of the Propulsion System Design Department of ROKETSAN Missiles Industries Inc., Ankara, Turkey.

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

Use of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) in Teaching Fluid Mechanics


Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is a tool that allows the solution of fluid flow problems numerically by the use of computers. Its development is derived mainly by i) its use in the academia and research institutions for the inevitable need for understanding complicated flow phenomena where experimental and theoretical approaches either are not possible or do not provide enough insight, ii) its use in the industry via commercial software for an economical speed up of the design process. The use of CFD in engineering education is mostly limited to graduate level courses where the mathematical background necessary to write CFD programs is taught. Although recent undergraduate level fluid mechanics books involve CFD related chapters, references indicating the use of CFD as an undergraduate level teaching aid are limited.

This paper is about the possible use of CFD in teaching undergraduate level fluid mechanics. In the first part, the topics of a typical fluid mechanics course that may be supported with CFD are investigated. In the second part the tools necessary and suitable for the efficient use of CFD in teaching fluid mechanics are examined and a CFD software called Virtual Flow Lab developed by the authors is introduced and its capabilities and potential use for educational purposes are discussed.


In many engineering departments students take their first fluid mechanics course in their second or third year. Although for some of the departments a single semester course is enough, usually undergraduate level fluid mechanics is taught as a two semester course. Typical outline of a two semester fluid mechanics course is given below

1. Introduction to Fluid Mechanics and Fluid Properties 2. Fluid Statics 3. Integral Analysis of Fluid Motion (conservation of mass, momentum and energy) 4. Bernoulli Equation 5. Fluid Kinematics 6. Differential Analysis of Fluid Motion 7. Similitude and Dimensional Analysis 8. Viscous Flows in Pipes and Channels 9. Flow over Immersed Bodies 10. Introduction to Compressible Flow 11. Introduction to Turbomachines

Due to the inherent complexity of fluid motion, fluid flow problems require a different viewpoint compared to solid mechanics problems. Understanding the topics like continuum assumption and its validity, proper comprehension of the field concept such as the velocity or the pressure field, making the switch from the classical Lagrangian approach, which is taught in earlier statics and

Sert, C., & Nakiboglu, G. (2007, June), Use Of Computational Fluid Dynamics (Cfd) In Teaching Fluid Mechanics Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii.

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