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Educational Results Obtained Using an Improved Two-Dimensional Panel Method Code in Undergraduate Fluid Dynamics and Aerodynamics Courses

[+] Author Affiliations
Robert Spall, Joshua Hodson

Utah State University, Logan, UT

Paper No. FEDSM2017-69031, pp. V002T17A001; 7 pages
  • ASME 2017 Fluids Engineering Division Summer Meeting
  • Volume 2, Fora: Cavitation and Multiphase Flow; Advances in Fluids Engineering Education
  • Waikoloa, Hawaii, USA, July 30–August 3, 2017
  • Conference Sponsors: Fluids Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5808-0
  • Copyright © 2017 by ASME


Undergraduate required fluid dynamics and elective aerodynamics courses include substantial material on analysis techniques for forces acting on bodies in external flows. These methods include momentum integral analysis, and, for aerodynamic applications, lift computed using circulation and the Kutta-Joukowski theorem. The author presented in a previous FED meeting code development and preliminary classroom results for the implementation of a fully interactive, two-dimensional potential flow solver for flow over both rigid and flexible thin-airfoil (or sail) geometries. The intent of the development was to design a code that could be used as a virtual wind tunnel. The solver was developed in Fortran 90/95 with user interface and graphics routines developed using the high-level plotting library DISLIN for use on Windows-based computers. The analysis code solves the potential flow equations for single or multiple airfoils using a vortex panel method in which the vortex strength varies linearly along the panel and is continuous from one panel to the next. A variety of controls are available to adjust airfoil shapes and angles-of-attack. The user may also specify either rigid thin airfoil shapes, or flexible airfoils in which the final equilibrium shapes are determined by the pressure distribution. Available graphics include velocity vectors, pressure coefficient contours, and streamlines. Lift, axial and normal force coefficients are also output in the form of bar graphs. Several improvements have been implemented in the code, based on early student feedback, to improve its suitability for educational purposes in fluid dynamics and aerodynamics classes. These include pressure plot distributions over the airfoils, the inclusion of standard NACA 4-digit airfoil definitions, the output of velocity and pressure data about a closed contour for use in circulation and momentum integral analysis calculations, and improvements regarding compatibility for use on computers of widely varying screen resolutions. In this work to be presented, recent improvements to the code, and subsequent educational/student learning results based on a series of Qualtrics online student survey questions are presented. These survey questions query the students understanding of a) momentum integral analysis, b) circulation, c) lift calculations using the Kutta-Joukowski theorem, d) airfoil-to-airfoil fluid flow interactions, e) the necessity for attention to details when performing engineering analysis. The code may be downloaded for use by educators and students at other universities.

Copyright © 2017 by ASME



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