Computational Fluid Dynamics

Module aims

Course aims

The aim of the course is to provide an introduction to the theory and application of computational techniques for predicting fluid flow and heat and mass transfer in nature, industrial plants and process equipment. Lectures are given on the main elements of the methodology underlying the majority of CFD computer codes, including the governing differential equations and numerical methods for solving them. The ten lectures are complemented by ten tutorials.

 The lectures are followed by two coursework projects. In the first project, the students will individually develop a one- and two-dimensional code in Matlab to predict fully developed channel flow and explore the solution methodology.

 In the second project the students will gain experience in the use of Star-CCM+ - a widely used commercial CFD software package – to explore a range of flow problems, in the manner of a laboratory experiment. Typical problems are flow over and around an Indy car, flow through a duct, flow over and around a motor car and flow over an aircraft. Groups perform the computer exploration and reporting thereon and this provides the additional benefits of improving collaboration and communication skills.

ECTS units: 7  

Contributing to Course Elements: 7 to ME4-mLCTVS Electives

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing this module, students will be able t

  • Discuss in depth — using appropriate terminology — the principles and methods of Computational Fluid Dynamics techniques and their implications on the accuracy and stability of their result.
  • Discuss the thermo-fluids phenomena illustrated in specific problems for CFD solution, and their practical applications.
  • Solve a theoretical thermo-fluids problem, developing a simple code in Matlab.
  • Solve a practical thermo-fluids problems using an industry-standard software package.
  •  Interpret the output from the two codes critically and intelligently in order to yield the required information.
  • Communicate the results of a CFD study in a formal written report and a presentation.

Module syllabus

  • Introduction: review of the equations of motion for fluid flow and heat and mass transfer. Reduced forms of the equations: inviscid, irrotational, potential and fully developed flow. Turbulent flow: Reynolds averaging and the need for closure approximations; the k-epsilon turbulence model; boundary conditions and wall functions.
  • Finite volume solution of the conservation equation for a scalar quantity: relevance (heat and mass transfer, fluid flow, fully developed laminar flow, potential flow etc.); solution strategy; discretisation by the finite volume method; conservation, choice of computational molecule, flux approximations, boundary conditions, properties of resultant coefficient matrix; solution algorithms for discrete equations (explicit, implicit, iterative, direct, factored); convection term discretisation - the extremum principle, boundedness, upwind, QUICK and TVD schemes.
  • The Navier-Stokes equations: governing equations, grid and storage arrangements; discretisation; solution - simultaneous satisfaction of momentum and continuity, calculation of pressure (the SIMPLE algorithm).
  •  Best practice guidelines: sources of errors and uncertainties, check-list for calculations.


Teaching methods

·        Duration: Autumn and Spring terms (21 weeks)

·        Lectures: 10 x 1h (Autumn Term)

·        Tutorials: 10h  (Autumn Term)

·        Computing: 10h on individual project using Matlab, (Spring term)

·        Computing: 10h on group projects using Star-CCM+ (Spring term)

·        Other: 2 problem sheets (not assessed) to be completed in own time

         (solutions provided at  end of second term)

Summary of student timetabled hours








Other (design, lab, computing etc.)



40 (if 10 tutorials attended)

Expected private study time

4-5 h per week, plus exam revision


Written examinations:

Date (approx.)

Max. mark

Pass mark

Computational Fluid Dynamics (1.5h)

This is a CLOSED BOOK Examination

April/ May




Coursework (including progress tests, oral presentations etc.)

Submission date

Max. mark

Pass mark



Project report (Matlab)*

Project report (STAR-CCM+#)

Group presentation

Grade only



20/03/17 and 21/03/17 





Total marks


* 15 page limit; # 25 page limit

Reading list


Module leaders

Professor Pavlos Aleiferis