Computational Fluid Dynamics


Credit Hours:


Learning Objective:

The course will cover introductory aspects of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) with focus on canonical flow problems, while providing exposure to the latest advancements in discretization methods for fluid flow problems. We will use programming languages (Octave or Matlab) and commercial software such as Fluent.

Topics Covered:

The course will cover the following topics:
  1. Classification of partial differential equations
  2. The finite difference method
  3. Review of control volume analysis, Navier-Stokes equations
  4. The finite volume method
  5. ANSYS Fluent tutorial on Purdue???s supercomputers (Dr. Xiao Zhu)
  6. Finite element methods for flow problems
  7. The Lattice-Boltzmann method
Students will write their own solver for simple problems, and run ANSYS/Fluent for more complicated problems.


Prerequisites for the course include basic knowledge of fluid mechanics, linear algebra, partial differential equations and average programming skills. Please take note of the following software/hardware requirements for the course:
  • Octave Coding Language: Free Software (Same language as Matlab, but free)
  • ANSYS: (1) ICEMCFD Mesher, (2) Fluent Flow Solver
  • Working Laptop (bring it to class): for Windows only, procure SSH shell emulators, such as Putty.

Applied / Theory:

40 / 60

Web Address:


Homework assignments and final reports turned in LATEX and/or with supporting images generated in vector graphics are strongly encouraged. The grade distribution is: 10% Homework 1, 10% Homework 2, 30% Midterm Exam (in class), 10% Homework 3, 10% Homework 4, 30% Final Project.


Project details to be discussed during class.


Midterm and Final Project


Some material will be based on selected pages from:
  1. Ferziger, J., and M. Peric, Computational Methods for Fluid Dynamics, Third Ed., Springer, 2001
  2. T.J.R. Hughes, The finite element method: Linear static and dynamic finite element analysis, Courier, 2012.
  3. Pletcher, R. H., Tannehill, J. C., and Anderson, D., Computational Fluid Mechanics and Heat Transfer, CRC, 2011.
  4. R. Leveque, Finite Volume Methods For Hyperbolic Problems, Cambridge, 2004
  5. Lloyd N. Trefethen, Finite Difference and Spectral Methods for Ordinary and Partial Differential Equations, unpublished text, 1996, available at

Computer Requirements:

Examples of source code will be provided in Python only. The use of Python is strongly recommended but not mandatory. Sharing of ideas on the homework assignments is encouraged but submissions need to be individual. Note that it is trivial to check whether parts of source code have been copied.