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Computer Applications in Engineering Education


John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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A robust and intuitive understanding of fluid mechanics—the applied science of fluid motion—is foundational within many engineering disciplines, including aerospace, chemical, civil, mechanical, naval, and ocean engineering. In‐depth knowledge of fluid mechanics is critical to safe and economical design of engineering applications employed globally everyday, such as automobiles, aircraft, and sea craft, and to meeting global 21st century engineering challenges, such as developing renewable energy sources, providing access to clean water, managing the environmental nitrogen cycle, and improving urban infrastructure. Despite the fundamental nature of fluid mechanics within the broader undergraduate engineering curriculum, students often characterize courses in fluid mechanics as mathematically onerous, conceptually difficult, and aesthetically uninteresting; anecdotally, undergraduates may choose to opt‐out of fluids engineering‐related careers based on their early experiences in fluids courses. Therefore, the continued development of new frameworks for engineering instruction in fluid mechanics is needed. Toward that end, this paper introduces mobile instructional particle image velocimetry (mI‐PIV), a low‐cost, open‐source, mobile application‐based educational tool under development for smartphones and tablets running Android. The mobile application provides learners with both technological capability and guided instruction that enables them to visualize and experiment with authentic flow fields in real time. The mI‐PIV tool is designed to generate interest in and intuition about fluid flow and to improve understanding of mathematical concepts as they relate to fluid mechanics by providing opportunities for fluids‐related active engagement and discovery in both formal and informal learning contexts.



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