Using Virtual Reality for Teaching the Derivation of Conservation Laws in Fluid Mechanics

Konrad Boettcher, Alexander Behr


In many fields of study, physical sub-areas are treated mathematically in order to teach students the tools for optimization in their professional lives. In the derivation of the fundamental conservation equations theoretical con-structs or infinitesimal elements are used, additionally engaging a Taylor expansion of the variables. For undergraduates, this often means that the understanding of the physical interrelationships is left out in the cold. Practical experiments are not possible for clarification, since important quantities in the mathematical for-mulation can only made visible in experiments with extreme effort or are even in-accessible like theoretical constructs or infinitesimal values. Numerical calcula-tions may be used to show some quantities, but students cannot carry them out for themselves. Therefore, a virtual-reality laboratory for fluid mechanics is creat-ed with the software UNREAL ENGINE 4. This enables the students to learn the derivation of conservation laws and to influence the flow in order to experience and examine the basics of theoretical constructs. The results are evaluated in self-assessments, exercises, tutorials associated to the fluid mechanics course, and the results of an exam. Benefits for the use of virtual reality (VR) in teaching conser-vation laws were ascertained.


virtual reality; virtual laboratory; fluid mechanics; fictitious domain; immersive learning

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International Journal of Engineering Pedagogy (iJEP) – eISSN: 2192-4880
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