Computational Fluid Dynamics may seem like a subject found mostly in Post-Secondary Curriculum, but I have seen it crop up in quite a few surprising places.
What is CFD and where have I seen it used? CFD uses numerical methods and algorithms to analyze problems involving fluid flow, i.e. liquids and gases and their interaction with solid objects. This process is the beginning steps in the analysis of vehicle wind disturbance patterns and building wind impact analyses.
Autodesk Simulation is the current version of the former Algor simulation recently added to the Autodesk lineup. With this software you can study Static Stress and Linear Dynamics, Mechanical Event Simulation, CFD Simulations, and Multiphysics. This software also has direct associative data exchange with most CAD programs.
So CFD is something that perhaps a Grad student should be learning, and is in fact a fairly specialized application of the design process, but where and for what can it be used in the more intermediate levels of education?
I have recently visited a school who is utilizing this application in their automotive design process. This step has been combined with the design of a car body in Autodesk Inventor and Alias and the students now use it before the manufacturing of their prototype. This step allows the students to study their design before it is built and to go back to the design process after the manufacture of the prototype to further digitally prototype their design.This is a Grade 10 design class who builds their car bodies out of wood. These cars are then entered into competition with each other. Race winners and losers alike can then study why their vehicles performed in certain ways.
This additional step in the design process is teaching students very concrete and valuable skills that most classrooms in many schools do not come close to at all. Students are beginning a journey into simulation that may very well end with them doing digital prototyping on aircraft, next generation space vehicles, and the next fleets of consumer automobiles. These students are preparing for a career path well in advance of that expected of them and will find themselves very well equipped for the software, design processes, and prototyping methods that they will find in Post-Secondary education and in Industry.
If you would like to learn more about the opportunities to teach these skills to your students in your Mechanical Design and Architecture classes please contact us at Studica (888-561-7521 USA & 800-561-7520 CA) and we will be happy to assist you with the learning process.
Author: Matthew Colbeck