The world of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is expanding rapidly because of the push by the consumer for faster and more efficient transportation systems while also being environmentally friendly. 

This is an enormously difficult feat to accomplish, however, automotive and aerospace companies like Tesla and Airbus are constantly investing hundreds of thousands of dollars every year to achieve even the slightest of aerodynamic performance improvements.  

The scope of computational fluid dynamics is not just limited to the aerospace and automobile industries. It also extends to aspects of energy generation like for that of turbines.  

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So, if you are in the first or second year of your engineering degree and are wondering if CFD is the right pick for you to chart out your career, this article will help you make a wise decision.  

What Is Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)? 

CFD, in essence, refers to the science that simulates and replicates one dimensional, two dimensional and three-dimensional fluid flows in a virtual realm using powerful digital computers. 

A CFD software helps perform simulations that are as close to the real-world conditions as possible and help the CFD analyst or scientist to comprehend the results by producing the numbers, equations, and conclusions in a human-readable format. 

Who Are the Ideal Candidates to Specialize in CFD? 

If you are interested in aerodynamics, IC engine simulations, or just about anything that deals with how the fluid around you or an object affects the pressure, velocity, temperature, and more of a component or a body, then CFD could be the right domain for you to look into.  

Having the interest to understand the interactions of fluids is not the only thing that decides if CFD is the right career path for you. You should also be naturally inclined, skilled, or willing to upskill in: 

  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Fluid Mechanics

Stage 1: Get the Hang of CFD Basics  

On a broad spectrum, there are two things you need to know about CFD as somebody who just stepped into the world of engineering.

Graphical User Interface (GUI)

As a fresher, you need to start getting comfortable with the graphical user interface (GUI) of the CFD software that you are using. Popular CFD software programs include Star CCM+, Open Foam, and SOLIDWORKS. 

To familiarize yourself with GUI, you can check out one of our courses here at Skill-Lync on the introduction to CFD using SOLIDWORKS. This course is one month long and is GUI-based.  

A GUI-based course basically means that you do not have to worry much about the math behind it. Freshers can understand all the concepts just by setting up simulations and interacting with the graphics that the software provides you.  

Mathematics

Once you are familiar with the physics in CFD, you can move on to the mathematics that is involved in it. Maths is important in CFD because the only way to define a fluid flow in a computer is by using the Navier-Stokes equation, which is a partial differential equation. 

This partial differential equation has no solution yet, and it is next to impossible for a human to manually solve, in a lifetime. Hence, powerful computers help us make good approximations so that the result is closer to that of the real-world scenario.  

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The fundamentals mentioned above will be taught in our course called 'Introduction to CFD using MATLAB and Open Foam', which consists of both finite differences as well as finite volume methods. On the whole, it is a combination of both mathematics and computer programming. 

This course can be taken by students as an upgrade from the previously mentioned course. The course will also benefit freshers who want to commence their entry into CFD with a challenge. 

Stage 2: Mastering the GUI 

This is the stage where you actually specialize in the graphical user interface (GUI). There are five regimes:  

  1. CFD using ANSYS Fluent
  2. Aerodynamics using Star CCM+
  3. Advanced IC engines
  4. Heat Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC)
  5. Turbo Machinery

Here, you will gain insight into a lot of CFD concepts, including combustion modeling, spray modeling, and emission modeling.  

Once you have gotten the hang of a GUI to such an extent that, when you click a button on the screen, you understand the math solved in the back end, you can transition to the next stage.  

Stage 3: Move on to Complex Programming  

Once you have got down the mathematical fundamentals involved in CFD and are also capable of interacting conveniently with any GUI, then you can start getting into solving complex problems using advanced programming techniques. Here are two paths:  

  1. Computational combustion using Python and Cantera
  2. Finite volume method for advanced CFD using C++
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This stage is particularly useful for people who are getting into companies like ANSYS as software developers.  

Conclusion  

If you were wondering how to become a CFD engineer as a fresher, you now have a clearer picture of what you need to make a breakthrough in this domain.  

All the CFD courses at Skill-Lync are structured in such a way that you first understand the fundamental physics and mathematics of CFD. Later on, you can specialize in the GUI of a particular CFD solver like Open Foam, and then proceed onto or even build an advanced solver.  

If you think Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is your cup of tea, get started right away! The CFD courses at Skill-Lync will help you master CFD and land a job in the best companies. Click here to know more. 


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