Engineering Simulation

Computer generated image of a machine with rainbow thermal coloring

Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) or engineering simulation, provides powerful capabilities for the tasks leading to the simulation, validation, and optimization of products. While engineering simulation is widely used for university research and student projects, its use in the undergraduate engineering curriculum remains a relative rarity. In collaboration with Ansys, Michigan Engineering is supporting pioneering professors and lecturers to refresh and teach core engineering courses, using real-time interactive simulation.  Here’s a link to a recent call for proposals (deadline has passed and new calls are not planned at this time).

2021 Funded Projects

Developing Enhanced Student Learning of High- Fidelity Real-Time Flow Analysis in a Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) Environment through Ansys Discovery Simulation Solutions

Machine part mock-up made using a real-time simulation tool

Project Team: George Halow, Morgan Serra, and Parker Trambley (Aerospace Engineering);  Maia Herrington (Electrical Engineering and Computer Science); Owen Marr (Climate and Space Sciences Engineering)

Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) is a rapidly-growing cornerstone in complex product development activities (e.g. aircraft, automotive, biomedical, and many others). The course will include expanded flow simulation through a high-fidelity and real-time simulation tool (Ansys Discovery).

Integrating Ansys Heat Transfer Simulations in Extended Reality Nuclear Reactor Laboratory

Graphic displaying order of nuclear reactor being simulated and used as VR learning experience

Project Team:  Brendan Kochunas and Yuxuan Liu (Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences)

This project will focus on the development of an eXtended Reality (XR) based nuclear reactor laboratory course that will enable students to walk around a control room and reactor floor, and interact with the control panel to perform the experiments. Ansys real-time models will enable a virtual reactor with all major field quantities available in real time for educational purposes.

Academic Innovation in Education Engineering Simulation – Ansys

Graph comparing precision, force, compliance, and degrees of freedom in actuator design

Project Team:  Abdon Pena-Francesch (Materials Science and Engineering)

Soft robotics uses flexible and deformable materials to achieve high compliance and complex deformations. However, this increases the degrees of freedom and makes soft robots difficult to design and control. This project will use Ansys tools to aid in the prototyping, optimization, and validation of soft actuator designs and to provide engineering simulation support in a new soft robotics course. This will provide an experiential learning platform for CAE-driven soft robotics design projects.

2020 Funded Projects

Developing Instructional Content on CAE to Support Introductory Engineering Design Education

Simulation of a water pump model
Project Team:  Kenneth Alfano (CoE Undergraduate Education and Program in Technical Communication)
This project will incorporate CAE/simulation into an introductory engineering course (ENGR 100).  This content has not been included to date as the learning curve was traditionally not amenable to the introductory level.  The goal is to use Discovery Live to bring preliminary simulation to novices.

Integrating GPU based Computational Tool into Required Design-Build-Fly Courses

Simulation of hovercraft model movement
Project Team:  Peter Washabaugh (Aerospace Engineering)
The goal of this project is to utilize Ansys Discovery Live for introducing and exercising complete engineering development cycles into airship and hovercraft undergraduate courses.  By using straightforward templates, many important parameters are easy to calculate (e.g. lift), and the software facilitates design by means of quickly being able to modify surfaces and witness the results. 

Integration of Ansys in Introductory Additive Manufacturing Course

Flow chart of additive manufacturing process
Project Team:  Kazuhiro Saitou, Kira Barton, Daniel Cooper, and Chinedum Okwudire (Mechanical Engineering), and Emmanuelle Marquis (Material Science and Engineering)
The goal of this project is to enhance the awareness and understanding of additive manufacturing from two different perspectives: as an alternative manufacturing process and as a key driver for digital smart manufacturing. Special emphasis will be placed on the benefit and limitation for additive manufacturing as compared to other manufacturing processes, and the hands-on experiences of the modern CAE tools that enable digital smart manufacturing.

Integration of Real-Time Interactive Simulation into Fundamental Mechanics Courses

Cross section of "I" shaped block in simulation tool
Project Team: Wei Lu and Andrew Kim (Mechanical Engineering)
This project will integrate real-time interactive simulation into fundamental mechanics courses  both in classroom teaching and broadly the office hours and homework assignments  by leveraging Ansys. A major challenge for students is understanding fundamental mechanics concepts, building up the intuition to understand the interaction among objects and deformation, and correlating the mechanical force, material properties, and deformations.

Using Ansys Heat and Fluid Flow Simulation Software for ME 335 (Heat Transfer) Core Course

Radial Velocity and Temperature Distributions and Average Velocity and Temperature in an impermeable wall Tube
Project Team:  Massoud Kaviany and J. Ferreria (Mechanical Engineering)
Traditional undergraduate core Mechanical Engineering courses such as ME 335 (Heat Transfer) rely heavily on the use of calculus and closed-form solutions and use of the MATLAB to solve and graph results. What is missing is modeling more realistic geometries with time dependence, and effective display of the two- and three-dimensional results with the simulation software. This project will use Ansys Heat and Fluid Flow Software (FLUENT) to provide valuable experience and skills to students and equip them with knowledge of the software they can use with later work.