Course Logistics

Course Objectives

Applied Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is a core course in the graduate Thermal and Fluid Sciences Curriculum. It provides an introduction to the use of commercial CFD codes to analyze flow and heat transfer in problems of practical engineering interest. The emphasis of the course is on the use of CFD as a virtual fluid laboratory. By studying a variety of flow situations students will develop a better intuition of fluid mechanics more quickly than is possible with traditional analytical approaces. An overview of the theory and numerics of CFD is provided, but students are not expected to write programs. At the end of the course students will understand the process of developing a geometrical model of the flow, applying appropriate boundary conditions, specifying solution parameters, and visualizing the results. They will also have an appreciation for the factors limiting the accuracy of CFD solutions.


ME 441/541 or consent of instructor


Time and Place

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4:00 -- 5:50 PM, Engineering Building, Room 510


Gerald Recktenwald, Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering Department
Engineering Building, Suite 400, 725-4290,
Office Hours


Star CCM+ is installed on machines in the MCAE Lab, Engineering Building Room 420.

Optional Textbook

Jiyuan Tu, Guan Heng Yeoh, and Chaoqun Liu, Computational Fluid Dynamics: A Practical Approach, 2008, Butterworth-Heinemann, ISBN 978-0-7506-8563-4.



The midterm exam will last one class period. The final exam will be comprehensive. Both exams are mandatory. Discuss any potential conflicts well before the exam dates. There will be no make-up exams.

Students are expected to turn in laboratory assignment and homework problems that are substantially the result of their own work. Study groups, discussion of assignments among students, collective brainstorming for solutions, and sharing of advice is encouraged. Copying of assignments, computer files, graphs, or other means of duplicating material that is turned in for grading is expressly forbidden. Cheating on exams will result in a zero grade for the exam.

If you have a disability and are in need of academic accommodations, please notify me (G. Recktenwald) immediately to arrange needed supports. If you need information about disabilities, please contact the Disability Resource Center on campus at 503-725-4150.

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Cumulative grades are based on the following weights:

35% Homework
20% Midterm Exam
25% Independent Work (Project or Portfolio)
20% Final Exam

A Few Web Sites Related to CFD

  1. On-line journal of Applied CFD
  2. CFD Online is a large site with discussion forums, a wiki, lists of commercial, open-source, and free CFD codes, Books and other resources. Check out the list of CFD and CFD-related codes.
  3. Students are often interested in obtaining their own CFD code. Free CFD codes are available but in general those codes require a substantial commitment to install and learn. One of the more popular and powerful open-source CFD codes is OpenFOAM.
  4. The IFISS Project is a collaboration between applied mathematicians interested in Computational Fluid Dynamics, Finite Element methods and iterative solvers. The software is written in MATLAB and is free. IFISS is an an acronym for Incompressible Flow & Iterative Solver Software. The user can choose different types of elements and from several types of iterative solution algorithms. This is a sophisticated package aimed at teaching the fundamentals.
  5. The Tetrahedral Unstructured Software System is a collection of free programs by NASA Langley Research Center. Taken together, the programs provide a CFD package that is well suited to external aerodynamic simulations. The software uses unstructured tetrahedral meshes, can run on PCs, Macintoshes, Unix computers, and distributed clusters. Refer to the overview section of the manual for a more detailed introduction
  6. A small sample of the Commercial CFD vendors: CD-Adapco, maker of StarCCM+, Fluent, now owned by ANSYS, CFX, also owned by ANSYS CFD 101 by Flow Science, the vendor for Flow-3D
  7. CD-Adapco, the vendor for STAR-CCM+ maintains the Steve Portal site with literally thousands of articles on using STAR-CCM+
  8. The NPARC Alliance between NASA Glenn and the Arnold Engineering Development Center has a nice tutorial on CFD verification and validation. This site is part of the on-line support for WIND Aerodynamic code.
  9. CFD Zone: A NASA web site explaining the (primarily aerodynamic) uses of CFD
  10. Fluent tutorials at Cornell [Alternative site]

On-line versions of Journals at Millar Library

On-line Journals by Title