Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) has become an essential tool for the solution and analysis of fluid mechanics and heat transfer problems over the past few decades. CFD simulation can provide valuable insight into fluid flow behavior and proven to be a feasible tool for modeling complex fluid flow phenomena with a better understanding of the flow characteristics. CFD analysis uses physical laws to provide solutions for fluid flow problems in the form of partial differential equations. The undergraduate fluid mechanics curriculum is primarily based on analytical fluid mechanics (AFD) where students are required to solve problems using conservation of mass, momentum and energy equations. Solutions of differential and integral equations required for analysis of fluid flow characteristics may pose challenges as students are not be able to fully comprehend the concepts and may become disinterested in the subject. The integration of CFD into fluid mechanics curriculums is important as it can provide in-depth knowledge and understanding of flow behavior using visual images and graphical user interfaces. A commercial CFD code FLUENT was used to introduce concepts and applications of computational fluid dynamics in an undergraduate fluid mechanics course. Three different analyses were performed to study fluid flow using CFD: blood flow through an artery, airflow over the airfoil, and particulate multiphase flow in elbow geometry.
To validate the CFD analysis results, the experimental fluid dynamics (EFD) approach was introduced to analyze flow over an airfoil and flow inside an elbow. A wind tunnel was used to perform experiments to measure the flow over an airfoil Using all three approaches (AFD, CFD, and EFD) in the undergraduate fluid mechanics course provided better knowledge and understanding of different fluid flow phenomenon. Students were able to visualize the flow characteristics using both Eulerian and Lagrangian methods. A survey was conducted to assess student learning and their perception of the integration of CFD and EFD. The results of the survey showed positive feedback with an improved understanding of fluid flow characteristics. The motivations of students were also increased along with their skills in using approaches to solve complex fluid flow problems.
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