How to Learn CFD ? – The Beginner’s Guide

Jun 18, 2015 -- Beginner in CFD joinery has the first question in mind “ How do I start learning CFD?”  Because of the depth of subject and ocean of knowledge available online, there is high probability of getting lost in the learning joinery and in many cases getting demotivated from learning CFD itself. This question is asked by many, so we thought of laying out the learning path for CFD beginners. This guide gives a head-start to beginners about what to learn, what to focus on and most importantly from where to learn.

When one wants to start learning CFD without any prior knowledge about the subject, the biggest inertia is starting point. This inertia is expressed in many form of queries. Few of them are (Source and others)

These are different forms of the same question “ How do I start learning CFD?” Few questions above are related to pre-requisites for learning CFD and few have flavour of “ From where” in the question. 

The complete guide is divided into five sections and following is a small extract of complete guide. 

The two paths

This section covers what are different CFD learning approaches. The extract of this section is “There are two main views for learning CFD, first “The CFD developer’s view” and second “CFD application engineer’s view”. CFD developers is the one who writes computer programs/codes related to CFD. Developer’s main objective is to write CFD computer programs/code which will be used by himself or others for CFD analysis. CFD application engineer is the one who uses available programs/codes/software for the analysis of engineering problems.  Application engineer uses CFD as a tool for analysis, design and optimization of engineering devices. The learning path for CFD developer and application engineer is not entirely different. First few milestones in learning path are must and necessary for both.” 

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Basics of Fluid Mechanics and Heat Transfer

This section gives guidelines about why to learn fundamentals subjects, which are available courses and reference books.  The extract of this section is “For beginners, CFD is all about solving fluid flow and heat transfer problems. At later stage CFD might be used for multiphase flows, chemical reactions etc., but the start point is fluid flow and heat transfer problems. CFD software always gives some sort of results. It is CFD engineer’s responsibility to interpret if the results are correct or wrong. To do this correctly, one must have good idea about fluid dynamics and heat transfer physics. In my opinion, CFD just validates one’s thinking with more insights and accurate data. There are many locations/platforms from where you can learn fundamentals of these subjects. I recommend following two course for learning these subjects.” 

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Fundamentals of Computational Fluid Dynamics

This section give guidelines about learning approach of CFD application engineer. The reference to recommended CFD courses and books is given in this section. The extract of this section is “For using Computational Fluid Dynamics codes/software/tools, one needs to understand what happens behind the screen or UI (User Interface) of software. It is very critical to understand basics concepts of CFD before you start using it for analysis and solution of industrial problem. In long run what will distinguish good CFD engineer from average engineer is his/her understanding about CFD fundamentals. This milestone is considered as one of the tough one to cross. Following are the two courses you can attend to learn CFD.  

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Learning CFD Software

This section gives details about need to learn CFD software, the learning approach and recommended CFD software courses. The extract of this section is “The first question to ask is “ why to learn CFD software?” That’s a good question to start with. CFD application engineer is the one who uses some sort of codes/ programs/ software to solve engineering problems. So he/she has to learn how to use those software, what are different inputs required to solve particular problem and what sort of results are given by software. So learning software is must for an application engineer”. 

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Working on Industrial Projects

This section gives details about how one can get exposure to industrial CFD projects. The extract of this section is “If you have crossed first three milestone, you have all the required knowledge to use CFD for solution of any industrial problem. But most probably you have not solved any complex problem yet. It’s like, you have learned everything about how to drive a car, but have not gone out for road trip yet. Working on industrial projects is must before you start applying for CFD engineer position in industry. It is also required to test all the knowledge you have acquired so far.”    

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This guide contains links and references to recommended books one should use. The guide also contains links to recommended FREE courses on fundamentals of fluid dynamics, heat transfer and CFD. Links and references to FREE CFD software course are also provided. 

Read and download “ The Beginner’s Guide – How to Learn CFD?

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