Student-Specific Projects for Greater Engagement in a Computational Fluid Dynamics Course

Article excerpt


Introduction to Computational Fluid Dynamics (ICFD) is a combined final year undergraduate/ postgraduate course, running for 12 weeks, 3 hours per week (h/w). While prerequisites for the course include fluid dynamics and mathematics, students come to the course from a wide variety of backgrounds, including different schools in the Faculty of Engineering, particularly the Masters and PhD students, who make up approximately 50% of the class of typically 65 students. The course introduces the student to the terminology, principles and methods of computational fluid dynamics (CFD). As CFD is used in many areas of engineering, including aerodynamics, hydrodynamics, air-conditioning and minerals processing, the students find relevance to many other courses they are currently taking and build on knowledge gained in other courses such as fluid mechanics, thermodynamics and numerical methods. The course familiarises the student with the terminology associated with CFD, and the class are given insight into the basic principles of CFD and learn how to validate and verify their solutions.

The objectives of the course are to familiarise the student with:

* the terminology associated with CFD

* a commercial CFD code, ANSYS CFX

* incompressible flow

* basic conservation equations primitive variable equations

* stability analysis

* explicit, implicit methods, discretisation schemes and solution methods

* solving the basic conservation equations

* writing CFD code

* validation and verification.

The teaching strategies used in the course include presentation of the material in lectures and discussions so that the students know what to expect in industry, computer laboratory sessions to give the students proficiency in using the commercial package ANSYS CFX, and practical application of the principles by way of assessments to give the students proficiency in using and interpreting the requirements. Engineering training should focus on the comprehension of physical phenomena and the development of creative modelling, rather than simply the mathematics (Hung et al, 2005).

ICFD is a 6 unit-of-credit (UoC) course, and involves 3 h/w of face-to-face contact. For a standard 24 UoC in the session, the normal workload expectation of a student is 600 hours, spread over an effective 15 weeks of the session or 40 h/w, for an average student aiming for a credit grade. This means that students should aim to spend not less than about 10 h/w on this course, ie. an additional 4 h/w of their own time. It is suggested that this time is spent in making sure that the lecture material is understood, completing the set assessments, further reading about the course material, and revising and learning for the examination.

The teaching strategy on which the course is based ensures appropriate graduate attributes.

This university's graduate attributes include a set of skills and abilities used to ensure each course taught delivers the required graduate outcomes. The graduate attributes are:

1. the skills involved in scholarly enquiry

2. an in-depth engagement with the relevant discipline

3. the capacity for analytical and critical thinking and for creative problem solving

4. the ability to engage in independent and reflective learning

5. information literacy - the skills to locate, evaluate and use relevant information

6. the capacity for enterprise, initiative and creativity

7. an appreciation of, and respect for, diversity

8. a capacity to contribute to, and work within, the international community

9. the skills required for collaborative and multidisciplinary work

10. an appreciation of, and a responsiveness to, change

11. a respect for ethical practice and social responsibility

12. …


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