Using flowlab, a computational fluid dynamics tool, to facilitate the teaching of fluid mechanics

John Cimbala, Shane Moeykens, Ashish Kulkarni, Ajay Parihar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Traditional fluid mechanics textbooks are generally written with problem sets comprised of closed, analytical solutions. However, it is recognized that complex flow fields are not easily represented in terms of a closed solution. A tool that allows the student to visualize complex flow phenomena in a virtual environment can significantly enhance the learning experience. Such a visualization tool allows the student to perform openended analyses and explore cause-effect relationships. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) brings these benefits into the learning environment for fluid mechanics. With these benefits in mind, FlowLab was introduced by Fluent Inc. in 2002. FlowLab may be described as a virtual fluids laboratory - a computer-based analysis and visualization package. Using this software, students solve predefined CFD exercises, either as homework or in a supervised laboratory or practicum setting. Predefined exercises facilitate the teaching of fluid mechanics and provide students with hands-on CFD experience, while avoiding many of the difficulties associated with learning a generalized CFD package. A new fluid mechanics textbook is scheduled for release in early 2005. This book includes FlowLab as a textbook companion, where student-friendly CFD exercises are employed to convey important concepts to the student. Because of the unique design of end-of-chapter homework problems in this book and the intimate coupling between these problems and the CFD software, students are introduced to engineering problems and concepts, as well as to CFD, via a structured learning process. The CFD exercises are not meant to stand alone; rather, they are designed to support and emphasize the theory and concepts taught in the textbook, which is the primary learning vehicle. Each homework problem has a specific fluid mechanics learning objective. Through use of the software, a second learning objective is also achieved, namely a CFD objective. The scope, content, and presentation of these CFD exercises are discussed in this paper. Additionally, one of the exercises is explained in detail to show the value of using CFD to teach introductory fluid mechanics to undergraduate engineers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInnovations in Engineering Education 2004
Subtitle of host publicationMechanical Engineering Education, Mechanical Engineering Technology Department Heads
PublisherAmerican Society of Mechanical Engineers
Pages17-27
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)0791847233, 9780791847237
DOIs
StatePublished - 2004
Event2004 ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, IMECE 2004 - Anaheim, CA, United States
Duration: Nov 13 2004Nov 19 2004

Publication series

NameInnovations in Engineering Education 2004: Mechanical Engineering Education, Mechanical Engineering Technology Department Heads

Other

Other2004 ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, IMECE 2004
CountryUnited States
CityAnaheim, CA
Period11/13/0411/19/04

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Engineering(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Using flowlab, a computational fluid dynamics tool, to facilitate the teaching of fluid mechanics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Cimbala, J., Moeykens, S., Kulkarni, A., & Parihar, A. (2004). Using flowlab, a computational fluid dynamics tool, to facilitate the teaching of fluid mechanics. In Innovations in Engineering Education 2004: Mechanical Engineering Education, Mechanical Engineering Technology Department Heads (pp. 17-27). [IMECE2004-59870] (Innovations in Engineering Education 2004: Mechanical Engineering Education, Mechanical Engineering Technology Department Heads). American Society of Mechanical Engineers. https://doi.org/10.1115/imece2004-59870