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ME 638 Computational Methods in Fluid Flow and Heat Transfer

Catalog Description

ME 638 Computational Methods in Fluid Flow and Heat Transfer (3). Prerequisite: faculty consent. Solutions of the momentum and thermal boundary-layer equations by means of the Runge-Kutta procedures, methods of solving the boundary-value problems with digital computers, finite-difference methods, finite-element method, and other methods for solving the equations of fluid flow and heat transfer. Computer-aided determination of the shearing stresses and the local heat transfer coefficient.

Prerequisites by Topic

  1. Fluid mechanics.
  2. Heat transfer.
  3. Advanced engineering mathematics.
  4. Ability to use a structured programming language such as C or Fortran.


Tannehill, Anderson, and Pletcher, Computational Fluid Mechanics and Heat Transfer, 2nd edition, Hemisphere Publishing Corp., 1997.


Yongsheng Lian, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering.

Course Learning Outcomes

This course provides mechanical engineering graduate students with a background in computational fluid dynamics. Students completing the course should have the ability to discretize the governing equations of mass, momentum, and energy conservation. Specific topics include finite difference and finite volume techniques, truncation error, numerical instability, verification of results, computational modes, and implementation of efficient algorithms for solving hyperbolic, parabolic and elliptic partial differential equations. Students also receive an introduction to the use of parallel computers and the inner workings of commercial CFD software packages.

Topics Covered

  1. History of computational fluid dynamics and current trends (2 classes).
  2. Partial differential equations (6 classes).
  3. Basics of discretization methods (7 classes).
  4. Applications to model equations (8 classes).
  5. Applications to fluid mechanics and heat transfer (9 classes).
  6. Parallel computers (3 classes).
  7. Discussion of homework assignments (4 classes).
  8. Examinations (3 classes).

Computer Use

Each student must program and run 6-8 CAE assignments.

Laboratory Projects


Class/Laboratory Schedule

Three 50 minute sessions per week devoted to lecture, discussion, and problem solving.

Professional Component Contribution

Engineering science: 3 credits.

Relationship to Program Outcomes

This course supports Mechanical Engineering program objectives by developing:

  • An ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering in the field of mechanical engineering.
  • An ability to function on teams.
  • An ability to identify, formulate and solve problems in the field of mechanical engineering.
  • A recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in, life-long learning in the field of mechanical engineering.
  • An ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern tools necessary for the practice of mechanical engineering.

Prepared by Y. Lian, July 2009

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