TOWARDS IMPROVED LEARNING OF FLUID MECHANICS VIA INTEGRATION OF A COMMERCIAL SOFTWARE PACKAGE INTO AN UNDERGRADUATE COURSE Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • The integration of software packages intochemical engineering courses is widely regarded tobenefit students in two ways. First, the active learningenvironment encourages a deep understanding of thecourse material. Second, it gives students practicalexperience with ‘state of the art’ tools that are used inindustry. However, surveys of chemical engineeringprograms have shown that the use of software packagesinto traditional fluid mechanics courses is quite low (lessthan 10%). Recently, the software package PIPE-FLO(from Engineered Software Inc.) was integrated into thesecond-year fluid mechanics course (ChE 2O04) atMcMaster. The software performs a full hydraulicnetwork analysis for a variety of piping configurationswith numerous piping components such as pumps,compressors, and control valves. The implementation ofPIPE-FLO as a simulation tool is in accordance with therecent initiative by the Canadian EngineeringAccreditation Board (CEAB) to determine directions forprogram improvement. A set of ten self-guided tutorialswere prepared to teach the students how to use the fullprofessional version of PIPE-FLO that was available inthe campus computer labs. Each tutorial was developedto enhance the understanding of the theory learned inclass and included references to the appropriateequations from the course textbook. Feedback from thestudents was overwhelmingly positive and encouragedgreater integration of the software into future offerings ofthe course.