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2021/22 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

MECH5770M Computational Fluid Dynamics Analysis

15 creditsClass Size: 225

Module manager: Dr Carl Gilkeson

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

Pre-requisite qualifications

In order to study this module it is essential that fluid mechanics and thermodynamics have been studied as prerequisites to this module. It is expected that students will be familiar with the following areas: conservation laws, key parameters (e.g. pressure coefficient, Reynolds/Peclet numbers etc), basics of flow physics (e.g. development of boundary layers, flow separation, recirculation etc), turbulence/transitional/laminar flows, lift/drag/side force coefficients and knowledge of thermodynamics including fundamentals of heat transfer (e.g. conduction/convection/radiation).


MECH1215Thermofluids 1
MECH2670Thermofluids 2

Module replaces

MECH 3485 Aerodynamics with Computational Fluid Dynamics

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module provides the basic theoretical and practical knowledge to allow a student to competently perform Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis using commercial software packages used in industry. This is reinforced through a series of practical tasks modelling flows of varying types and complexity. These tasks relate to various engineering applications including aeronautics, mechanical and civil engineering. Participants should be able to apply this knowledge to other application areas including automotive, wind, biomedical and oil ang gas engineering.


Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, the student will be able to:
1. Understand the governing equations for fluid dynamics and appreciate the limitations of numerical methods/algorithms required for solving them;
2. Appreciate the challenges and limitations of CFD application including the importance of verification and validation;
3. Evaluate and select the most appropriate solution strategy for a particular application;
4. Undertake the simulation and analysis of practical problems using a commercial CFD package and critically assess the output solution.

Upon successful completion of this module the following UK-SPEC learning outcome descriptors are satisfied:

A comprehensive understanding of the relevant scientific principles of the specialisation (SM1m, SM7M)
A comprehensive knowledge and understanding of mathematical and computational models relevant to the engineering discipline, and an appreciation of their limitations (SM5m)
A critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights most of which is at, or informed by, the forefront of the specialisation (SM8M)
Understanding of engineering principles and the ability to apply them to undertake critical analysis of key engineering processes (EA1m)
Ability to identify, classify and describe the performance of systems and components through the use of analytical methods and modelling techniques (EA2)
Ability both to apply appropriate engineering analysis methods for solving complex problems in engineering and to assess their limitations (EA3m, EA6M)
Ability to use fundamental knowledge to investigate new and emerging technologies (EA5m)
Ability to extract and evaluate pertinent data and to apply engineering analysis techniques in the solution of unfamiliar problems (EA6m)
Understanding of the use of technical literature and other information sources (P4)
Understanding of appropriate codes of practice and industry standards (P6)
A thorough understanding of current practice and its limitations, and some appreciation of likely new developments (P9m)
Ability to apply engineering techniques taking account of a range of commercial and industrial constraints (P10m)
Apply their skills in problem solving, communication, information retrieval, working with others and the effective use of general IT facilities (G1)

Skills outcomes
In addition to providing a firm foundation in the subject, this module develops the analytical and problem solving skills.


1. Introduction to Computational Fluid Dynamics
2. Fundamentals of numerical schemes: discretisation schemes, iterative methods and numerical diffusion
3. Mesh generation including best practice guidelines
4. Boundary conditions: types, uses and implementation
5. Numerics: pressure and density based solvers, grid staggering and the finite volume method, pressure-velocity coupling algorithms
6. Turbulence modelling: energy cascade, hierarchy of models (RANS, URANS, DES, LES, DNS), wall functions and best practice guidelines
7. Verification & Validation (V&V): dealing with sources of error and uncertainty during the application of CFD
8. Post-processing & data presentation: types of post-processing, drag extraction techniques and best practice guidelines
9. High Performance Computing (HPC) and simulation strategies: scalability, scripting, under relaxation, solver techniques
10. Multi-physics simulation: heat transfer, species transport, multiphase, fluid-structure interaction (FSI) and radiation modelling
11. Current capabilities and future trends

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours124.00
Total Contact hours26.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

- approximately 15 hours of private work for the CFD analysis of set tasks (12 hours total),
- approximately 36 hours of work for Report 1.
- approximately 73 hours of work for Report 2.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Every student must complete 10 tasks after doing the tutorials. A multiple-choice questionnaire, per task, will be set up for them to get some formative feedback and to make sure they are on track. Students also have the opportunity to ask for feedback from the demonstrators in weekly Q&A sessions. 

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Computer ExerciseCFD analysis of set tasks10.00
ReportReport 1 - Project Report. Perform CFD analysis and report on the process, results and interpretation30.00
ReportReport 2 - Project report. Perform CFD analysis and report on the process, results and interpretation.60.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Resit assignments offered.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/06/2021 16:23:30


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