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Integration of Virtual Reality and CFD Techniques for Thermal Fluid Education

[+] Author Affiliations
Peng Zhou, Xiuling Wang, Ulises Morales, Xiaoli Yang

Purdue University Northwest, Hammond, IN

Paper No. HT2017-4793, pp. V001T03A001; 5 pages
  • ASME 2017 Heat Transfer Summer Conference
  • Volume 1: Aerospace Heat Transfer; Computational Heat Transfer; Education; Environmental Heat Transfer; Fire and Combustion Systems; Gas Turbine Heat Transfer; Heat Transfer in Electronic Equipment; Heat Transfer in Energy Systems
  • Bellevue, Washington, USA, July 9–12, 2017
  • Conference Sponsors: Heat Transfer Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5788-5
  • Copyright © 2017 by ASME


Engineering courses such as thermodynamics, fluid mechanics and heat transfer always involve many abstract math, physics concepts and equations — which are difficult to teach and understand. As fundamental courses in engineering programs, they are sometimes taught in big class size — where students may not receive adequate attention and assistance from instructors. To improve the teaching and learning efficiency, we proposed to develop virtual reality based interactive modules for learning computational fluid dynamics. In this paper, case-study learning module is demonstrated for conduction heat transfer. The programming languages of C# and Unity3D were used for the software development. Computational fluid dynamics simulation results obtained from ANSYS/FLUENT were incorporated in the program. The program has the integrated modules of mobility, interactivity, and controllability for the 3D modeling and simulations. Each module was developed separately for facilitating the program management, extension, and upgrades in the future. The developed interactive programs, incorporating rich, interactive, and engaging learning contexts, will help students gain and apply knowledge to solve real-world problems in mechanical engineering.

Copyright © 2017 by ASME



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