August 15, 2018

Simulation apps provide graduates with a competitive advantage

Engineering and science educators are aware that prospective employers are seeking graduates with skills using product design and simulation software. To address this need, one professor at the University of Hartford has pioneered the use of simulation apps by undergraduate students in the mechanical engineering program. The apps provide students with easy-to-use specialized user interfaces to run realistic simulations and visualize results without any previous training. This inquiry-based learning method enables deeper understanding of the physics and theory. Students can then easily progress to learn more about the underlying model and even build their own simulation apps in the Application Builder that is available in the COMSOL Multiphysics software.

Simulation app built by undergraduate students Iliana Albion-Poles and Jeffrey Severino. Their work is supported by the Connecticut Space Grant for Faculty Research. The app predicts the appearance of tones in a dual stream 4-strut nozzle for jet engines.

Working with simulation apps helps students to create a narrative describing the boundary conditions and setup used in the model, as well as arrange visual data, charts, graphs, and equations. “Our students tell us that the use of simulation software has enhanced their learning and helped them to easily visualize difficult theoretical concepts without exposing them to the underlying complexity,” said Ivana Milanovic professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Hartford.

Simulation apps serve as an easy entry point into numerical analysis. “Once students are familiar enough the concepts and the modeling techniques, they can eventually create their own apps using the Application Builder to further expand their knowledge and the reach of their collective analysis capabilities,” concludes Milanovic.


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