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Kanazawa Institute of Technology, College of Engineering
Helping Students Acquire a Basic Knowledge of CFD through the Implementation of CFD

Picture 1: Associate professor Daisuke Sasaki (PhD in Information Science), Kanazawa Institute of Technology, College of Engineering, Mechanics field, Department of Aeronautics

[Vol. 1] In the Department of Aeronautics and Department of Mechanical Engineering at the College of Engineering of Kanazawa Institute of Technology, SC/Tetra, a thermo-fluid analysis software product, is used as a part of their curriculum. This general-purpose tool helps students learn the basic applications of CFD, which is essential in the aeronautics field. Associate professor Daisuke Sasaki (Picture 1) of Department of Aeronautics explains how they apply CFD in class.

In the Department of Aeronautics and Department of Mechanical Engineering of Kanazawa Institute of Technology (KIT), general-purpose CFD tools are widely used in classes and for graduation works. SC/Tetra has been adopted by Associate professor, Daisuke Sasaki, who specializes in aerodynamic design and computational fluid dynamics. He explains how they use the software in class and shares feedback about the software from students.

 

One of Dr. Sasaki’s research themes is analyzing complicated geometries of airplanes and fluid machine efficiently and accurately with Cartesian mesh. His research also aims to reduce variation in the analysis results, which can be varied depending on tool (meshing) users. In fluid analyses, unstructured mesh is used in most cases as with SC/Tetra. However, when Cartesian mesh is used, users generate mesh comparatively in the same way. This way, differences in analysis results can be reduced, regardless of tool user. The process to generate mesh can also be simplified using Cartesian mesh instead of unstructured mesh. In addition, Dr. Sasaki works through robust aerodynamic optimization using CFD. The term ‘robust’ means that the performance of an object does not vary significantly even if its shape or conditions slightly differ from those at the design point. For airplanes, if the performance such as drag and lift varies significantly depending on Mach number or angle of attacks, the design is below the acceptance level. Every year in KIT, for example, students create human-powered airplanes to participate in contests where they compete in terms of flight distance and time. In the process of creating airplanes by themselves, they sometimes find geometrical differences between the original design and final outcome. To solve these kinds of issues, he proposes to achieve design approaches that can secure the product performance under a certain level of shape variety.

 

Introducing a Software Package

SC/Tetra was already used in KIT when Dr. Sasaki started to work there in 2012; however, they had used an earlier version for five or six years because they had a paid-up license. At that time, Windows 8 was released, and Dr. Sasaki and some of his fellow colleagues at the School of Engineering decided to update the tool.

 

“One of SC/Tetra’s advantages is that it is a software package”, said Dr. Sasaki. He continues: “One software package includes the preprocessor (meshing), the solver, and the postprocessor (visualization). We can easily work through a series of tasks with SC/Tetra in classes. If they were not packaged, we had to purchase each module such as a mesh generation tool separately.”

Picture 2: Numerical simulation class in the Department of Aeronautics during the case study interview

Widely Experiencing CFD including Compressible Fluids in Classes

SC/Tetra is used in many courses, which include two third-year courses: ‘Numerical simulation’ in the Department of Aeronautics, and ‘Fluid Dynamics’ in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. In addition, the software is used in classes and for graduation works of the master’s courses and the undergraduate courses. In the Department of Aeronautics, students operate the CFD tool for the first time at the latter period of the third year in the ‘Numerical simulation’ course (Picture 2).

 

The course lasts 16 weeks. Students study structural analysis in the first 8 weeks. Then, they acquire basic knowledge about the simulation tool and learn how to use the tool using a general-purpose CFD tool in the second 8 weeks. SC/Tetra has been adopted as the CFD tool of choice for this course.

 

During the following 8 weeks, one topic is given every two weeks and the students write reports on each topic. The four topics given in the course are high-speed flow, unsteady flow, turbulent flow, and a topic that each student chooses and solves by himself. The first topic 'high-speed flow' involves shock wave generation in an inviscid flow and includes understanding of CFD process. They also have to explain the significance of mesh generation. In the second topic, students analyze flows around a cylinder. Then, they analyze turbulent flows around an airfoil.

 

Basics of CFD are explained in the first 30 minutes of the classes, and students work on the exercises in the rest of the 60 minutes. In these exercises, students generate mesh, create analysis conditions, conduct calculations, and visualize the analysis results by themselves based on the given information.

Learning the Nature of Fluid Analysis

Dr Sasaki said that the goal of the course is to understand the operation flow of the fluid analysis tool. The reason why compressible fluid with shock waves is the first topic given in the course is as follows; the software provides the simulation results even if a flow which has to be set as compressible is set as incompressible, thus, students may not recognize the mistake but may assume it is appropriate when they conduct analyses. As for mesh generation, Dr. Sasaki wants his students to acquire the basic knowledge necessary for CFD analyses, including why finer mesh is located in a specific area and what happens if mesh is extremely fine. After acquiring the basic knowledge sufficiently, they should study what they need.

Picture 3: Mr. Yuki Imura (left side) and Mr. Kensuke Nishii (right side) in the third year of the Department of Aeronautics

At the time of the interview, it was the end of the first week for fluid analysis in the numerical simulation course. We asked the students how SC/Tetra was, and they gave us the same feedback that the software was easy and user-friendly in generating mesh. “In the structural analysis we worked on previously, we had to input numbers to specify the range. With SC/Tetra, the range can be specified on the model. It was much easier (Mr. Yuki Imura in the third year of the Department of Aeronautics/left side in Picture 3).” On the other hand, another student comments: “We have a hard time adjusting to CFD terminologies (Mr. Kensuke Nishii in the third year of the Department of Aeronautics/right side in Picture 3).”

 

Dr. Sasaki says it seems difficult for students to operate the tool appropriately for the first time. SC/Tetra has more setting items than a typical structural analysis tool. They have to adjust themselves to the tool and tend to make mistakes in setting boundary conditions. Sometimes they specify wrong conditions for all six surfaces. A calculation may stop on the way, or the analysis result may not be correct. Once they succeed, they will improve their skill by themselves.

Picture 4: Ms. Saori Tanji in the third year of the Department of Aeronautics

Ms. Saori Tanji (Picture 4) in the same course worked as an intern for a design company last year. She learned how to use SC/Tetra throughout the day and operated it with an in-house manual. She said “I understood what I had done reviewing it the next day.” From her comment, we see that students have a hard time adjusting themselves to CFD tool operation; however, they will understand the tool operation flow and achieve positive results by experiencing a series of the tool operation procedure.

*All product and service names mentioned are registered trademarks or trademarks of their respective companies.
*Contents and specifications of products are as of November 30, 2016 and subject to change without notice. We shall not be held liable for any errors in figures and pictures, or any typographical errors in this brochure.

Company Details

 

Kanazawa Institute of Technology,
College of Engineering
Founded April 1, 1965
College Established in 1965
Location Nonoichi-shi, Ishikawa
Type of university Private

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