33933 - Computational Thermo-Fluid Dynamics M

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The course provides an introduction to the numerical simulation of heat transfer and fluid dynamics problems in industrial processes, using open source CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) codes (OpenFOAM). Students will learn to evaluate accuracy and to interpret the meaning of numerical results by validating test cases widely used in the automotive and engineering fields.

Course contents

Module 1 - Thermo-fluid dynamics modeling

- Review of the elementary notions of thermal fluid dynamics.
- Deduction of local balance equations in a fluid.
- Boussinesq approximation.
- Prandtl hypothesis of the boundary layer for two-dimensional incompressible flows.
- Blasius boundary layer for the flow around a thin plane wall: similarity assumption.

Module 2 - Numerical modelling of the boundary layer
- Blasius solution: velocity field and drag coefficient, temperature field and Nusselt number.
- Numerical solution for boundary layers with the similarity variable method.

Module 3 - Numerical simulation

Discretization and solution methods of thermal fluid dynamics equations, with particular focus on the finite volume method. The method is then applied (via the Open Source OpenFOAM code) to the following case studies discussed analytically during the first module, in order to obtain validations of the numerical code by comparison with the analytical solutions:
- Boundary layer problems in two-dimensional and three-dimensional domains.
- Extension to problems of fluid dynamics in turbulent regime dealt with RANS and LES methods.
- Classical problems of isothermal fluid dynamics: 2d and 3d flows around obstacles in turbulent regime.
- Results validation and post-processing methods. Evaluation of the uncertainty associated with numerical simulation using the Roache method.


- Lecture notes.

- S. Kakaç, Y. Yener - Convective Heat Transfer - CRC Press, 1994.

- V.S. Arpaci, P.S. Larsen - Convection Heat Transfer - Prentice-Hall, 1984.

- A. Bejan - Convection Heat Transfer - Wiley, 1984.

- S.V. Patankar - Numerical Heat Transfer and Fluid Flow - McGraw-Hill, 1980.

Teaching methods

Classroom and laboratory lectures with guided solution of exercises

Assessment methods

The exam consists in an oral test. The oral test is oriented to the evaluation of the achievement of an appropriate knowledge on the basic topics of the course, both under the theoretical perspective and for the capability to solve numerically elementary problems of heat and fluid flow.
The student will prepare a written report on one of the topics covered in the course, freely chosen, addressing both the theoretical aspects and the numerical simulation. The oral test will consist in the presentation and discussion of this written report.
The final mark, less or equal than 30 (positive outcome is greater or equal than 18), expresses the overall evaluation on the theoretical knowledge and on the practical ability with respect to problem solving.

Teaching tools

Blackboard lessons, pc presentations, examples of numerical solutions

Office hours

See the website of Antonio Barletta

See the website of Claudia Naldi

See the website of Beatrice Pulvirenti