INTEGRATING A SHORT SIMULATION PROJECT INTO AN INTRODUCTORY TRANSPORT PHENOMENA COURSE

Jan Haelssig, Devin O'Malley
2015 Proceedings of the Canadian Engineering Education Association (CEEA)  
Transport phenomena is an integral part of many engineering curricula. Some programs, particularly in chemical engineering, teach transport phenomena in an integrated manner, but most teach heat, mass and momentum transfer in separate courses. Since powerful computers and software packages are now available to solve transport problems numerically, many current transport phenomena courses incorporate these tools for demonstration purposes. Many institutions also offer advanced level courses
more » ... level courses focusing on the use of this type of software, but the intuitive nature of modern software packages also permits the integration of these tools directly into introductory courses.This paper summarizes efforts made in the Department of Process Engineering and Applied Science at Dalhousie University to integrate one such tool, COMSOL Multiphysics, directly into the introductory transport phenomena course. In an introductory course, the time available to study software tools is inherently limited, and therefore it is necessary to introduce these topics as efficiently as possible. In our course, several hands-on tutorials are used to introduce students to COMSOL. We avoid focusing too much on numerical methods, error estimation techniques, or even detailed model validation techniques. Instead, these tutorials focus on using commercial software to solve transport problems and demonstrating good modeling practices. Near the end of the course, students are asked to complete a short modeling project. In the latest iteration, students were asked to reproduce a simulation in a recent journal publication, to expand on the results, and comment on the significance of their findings. The main challenges related to implementing such a project include selecting problems that do not have unreasonably high computational requirements, the increased workload for teaching assistants, the required level of expertise among teaching assistants, and the increased workload for students.
doi:10.24908/pceea.v0i0.5836 fatcat:5jrwvo5jdrfkjprunh3vt5rlei