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ME40054: Computational fluid dynamics

[Page last updated: 04 August 2021]

Academic Year: 2021/2
Owning Department/School: Department of Mechanical Engineering
Credits: 6 [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Notional Study Hours: 120
Level: Masters UG & PG (FHEQ level 7)
Semester 1
Assessment Summary: CW 50%, EX 50%
Assessment Detail:
  • Computing (CW 50%)
  • Examination (EX 50%)
Supplementary Assessment:
ME40054 Reassessment Examination (where allowed by programme regulations)
Description: Aims:
To introduce the full Navier-Stokes equations and give the physical significance of each term in the equations.
To introduce the student to CFD techniques appropriate for practical engineering applications (the finite-volume method).
To introduce the student to the use of commercial CFD packages, the importance of validation and the need for caution in applying the underlying models for turbulent flow.

Learning Outcomes:
After taking this unit the student should be able to:
* Use CFD codes to compute 3D flows and understand the physical significance of the solutions.
* Compute rates of heat transfer and shear stress.
* Set up viscous fluid flow and heat transfer problems using a commercial code (with regular and possibly body-fitted grids), and extract features of the computed solutions for interpretation and validation.

Problem solving; IT; numeracy; working independently; written communication.

LAMINAR FLOW: Navier-Stokes equations and energy equations; physical significance of the terms. Discretisation and solution of the non-linear equations using the finite-volume method. Pressure-velocity coupling. Alternative mesh structures.
TURBULENT FLOW: Introduction to computational models of turbulence. Application to the computation of developing boundary layers and recirculating flows. Other methods of simulation and limitations of the current generation of turbulence models.

Programme availability:

ME40054 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Mechanical Engineering
  • UEME-AFM04 : MEng(Hons) Aerospace Engineering (Year 4)
  • UEME-AKM04 : MEng(Hons) Aerospace Engineering with Year long work placement (Year 5)
  • UEME-AFM16 : MEng(Hons) Mechanical Engineering (Year 4)
  • UEME-AKM16 : MEng(Hons) Mechanical Engineering with Year long work placement (Year 5)
  • UEME-AFM38 : MEng(Hons) Mechanical Engineering with Manufacturing and Management (Year 4)
  • UEME-AKM38 : MEng(Hons) Mechanical Engineering with Manufacturing and Management with Year long work placement (Year 5)
  • UEME-AFM47 : MEng(Hons) Mechanical with Automotive Engineering (Year 4)
  • UEME-AKM47 : MEng(Hons) Mechanical with Automotive Engineering with Year long work placement (Year 5)


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2021/22 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2022/23 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2021/22.
  • Programmes and units are subject to change in accordance with normal University procedures.
  • Availability of units will be subject to constraints such as staff availability, minimum and maximum group sizes, and timetabling factors as well as a student's ability to meet any pre-requisite rules.
  • Find out more about these and other important University terms and conditions here.