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Teaching

The dissemination of CFD and Engineering Design knowledge and experience is a fundamental part of what DesignFlow does. Students at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels benefit from the Research and Practice Informed Teaching that we provide.
 
CFD
 
CFD has made the transition from being the preserve of academics to become an accessible industrial tool. Inevitably this means that equipping graduates with an understanding of the benefits and pitfalls of CFD will become increasingly important, not only to companies that have in-house CFD capability, but also to the rapidly growing number of companies that rely on interpreting results from outsourced CFD analysis.
 
Whilst we do teach the fundamental mathematics and science thFoil_CWK.pngat underpin commercial CFD software, we focus on the practical application of the software, teaching students to develop the critical skills essential for using the software effectively and evaluating the reliability of results. 
 
This is achieved, at the final year (BEng & BSc) stage, through structured tutorial based learning and the
completion of individual project work based on 2D and 3D flow around a simple symmetrical aerofoil. The projects allow students to develop an appreciation of the key elements of reliable CFD work:
  • Skills required to carry out a CFD simulation (Geometry, Meshing, Pre & Post-Processing).
  • Effects of grid & domain dependence, turbulence/transition models, wall functions, convergence, etc.
  • Validation using empirical/theoretical calculations and experiments in our wind tunnel.
  • Quantifying errors and managing uncertainty for a range of performance prediction methods.   
                                                                                                                                   
Self_Bailer.pngAt Masters level, students learn to further their skills by using CFD in a design context rather than just conducting an analysis.  They learn to harness the power of CFD software for iteratively improving and optimising designs.  A typical example of this is show here - this student analysed an existing sailing dinghy self-bailer, then iteratively improved the efficiency of the design using CFD, reducing hydrodynamic drag whilst maintaining bailing capacity. 
              
Alongside structured CFD modules, DesignFlow also supervise a huge range of individual CFD based projects, some examples being:
 
  • Mixing of fuel gas and air in a gas turbine combustor (BEng)
  • High speed open channel flow in a trapezoidal duct with piers (PhD)
  • Conjugate heat transfer modelling of ground source heating systems (BEng)
  • Micro-arterial blood flow (BEng)
  • Numerical modelling of a wave energy convertor (MSc)
  • Particle separation using a cyclone for compost recycling applications (BSc)
  • Automotive turbocharger performance analysis (BEng)
  • Gas turbine thermal fluid structure interaction (BSc)
  • Conjugate heat transfer in liquid heated composite tooling (PhD)
  • Archimedes Screw Turbine analysis and optimisation  (BEng) 
Engineering Design
 
Undergraduate engineering programs are structured around a central design theme. Traditional lecturingVaccine_Trailer.png
teaches students how to solve closed problems but real skill comes from learning how to close an otherwise open-ended problem.
 
DesignFlow helps to define and supervise industrially relevant design projects, encouraging students to follow a structured approach to design work, with emphasis just as much on accurate problem definition and development of creative and innovative concepts as it is on detail design and analysis.  DesignFlow expertise in the use of risk mitigation tools to not only support, but actively drive the design process also feeds into design tasks.
  
Project assignments are structured such that students learn project management skills and ability to work effectively in a design team, closely representing the way in which they are likely to work in industry.  The example given here is the design of a vaccine trailer to be towed by a motorcycle - keeping vaccines cool whilst being transported to remote rural locations in third world countries.  The project was a collaboration between students at Plymouth University and Auburn University, Alabama, USA.  Students worked together via video conference, defining the problem, producing a business case and generating design concepts.  As the design progressed, they used fundamental engineering theory combined with advanced software to predict and iteratively improve thermal, structural and dynamic performance of their device.  3D modelling software was used to produce a full set of detailed manufacturing drawings.
 
DesignFlow support a range of ongoing design and build projects at Plymouth University - examples including the development of an Ultra-Streamlined Handcycle for a world record attempt, and a Human Powered Submarine entry into the European International Submarine Races.
 
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