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Using Computational Fluid Dynamics To Excite Undergraduate Students About Fluid Mechanics

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

TIME 9: Thermal Fluids/Fluid Mechanics

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.1370.1 - 9.1370.8

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Paper Authors

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David Pines

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

Session 3666

Using Computational Fluid Dynamics to Excite Undergraduate Students about Fluid Mechanics

David Pines

College of Engineering, Technology, and Architecture University of Hartford


Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) has been included in the junior-level Thermal-Fluids Engineering course at the University of Hartford. The laboratory modules consist of analyzing entrance length region of a pipe, a sudden contraction, and an orifice using Fluent 6.1. Two- dimensional mesh files are given to the students because it is felt that students should concentrate on understanding the fluid flow characteristics and not spend time learning how to create and mesh the models. Students are required to enter input parameters such as viscous model, fluid properties, and boundary conditions. The system’s velocity and pressure characteristics are then analyzed using vector, contour, and x-y plots. Feedback from students has indicated that the fluid visualization post processing tools (i.e., vector and contour output plots) gets them interested in the project and motivates them to do a thorough analysis of how changes in Reynolds number affects the fluid characteristics of the system. Furthermore, it is felt that an early introduction to CFD may inspire some students to take more advanced fluid mechanic courses or go to graduate school.


At the University of Hartford, the civil, biomedical, and acoustical engineering students take a 4- credit Thermal Fluid Engineering course in their junior year. The fluid mechanics part of the course covers topics such as fluid properties, fluid statics, continuity equation, momentum balance, energy balance, pipe flow, and flow over bodies. Demonstrations supplement the lectures by providing students an opportunity to see first- hand various aspects of fluid flow. However, most undergraduate students are not aware of the power of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) for visualizing, analyzing, and designing fluid/thermal systems. It is these elements, especially visualization of fluid flow, which can get students excited about fluid mechanics.

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

Pines, D. (2004, June), Using Computational Fluid Dynamics To Excite Undergraduate Students About Fluid Mechanics Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah.

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