Considered by many to be the critical element in preparing students to succeed in the modern economy, STEM education is important to you and your children.
When his daughter and her classmates wanted to understand aerodynamics, Dr. Darrin Stephens of Applied CCM knew he could bring examples from his work to help. Dr. Stephens is a FieldView user and is accustomed to showing clients and colleagues characteristics of fluid flows he’s been studying using computational fluid dynamics (CFD). Using CFD simulation and FieldView gave him a powerful way to help students see what they can’t directly observe, a problem engineers face all the time.
The students are participating in a human powered vehicle competition. They recognized that as their vehicle moved faster, the affects of airflow could limit the speed they could attain and maintain. They asked Dr. Stephens to help them understand some basic aerodynamic concepts. He responded by bringing real-life CFD solutions to the classroom and sharing those results with XDBview.
“As part of my lesson I used FieldView XDBview (latest version is fantastic by the way!) with the result from my previous V8 super car simulations to help explain & demonstrate drag, induced drag, streamlines etc.” – Darrin Stephens, Applied CCM
XDBview allowed Dr. Stephens to show moving airflow and explain the impact on a racecar, effects that are similar to what the students would need to consider. Having used FieldView to post-process his unsteady OpenFOAM simulation solutions, he created lightweight XDB files and used XDBview to interactively explore the flow solution and explain aerodynamics to the students. Because the XDBview session was fully interactive, they were free to ask questions and see new representations of the flow field.
Fluid flows and aerodynamics surround us but students need some training to look for them and to consider them when pursuing projects like their human powered vehicles. Demonstrations such as Dr. Stephens’ shared help students see what they normally can’t, understand new phenomena and send them out of class better prepared to become skilled observers of fluid mechanics when they can see its effects during their daily lives.
After the demonstration, the students asked for videos they could continue to watch and share with their parents. The videos on this page show the CFD simulation results from a flow study of a Holden VE Commodore V8 supercar.
Darrin Stephens is a founder and managing director of Applied CCM, an engineering software development company with offices in Australia and Canada.