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Project-based Learning: some Insight from Engineering Sciences

Hello everybody and welcome to today’s post! Today, I want to give you some examples of projects that I did during the last year in the Engineering Sciences school at KTH, Sweden’s highest-ranked technical university.

Picture of a door of a KTH campus building with red autumnal leaves
Most of my lectures take place in the beautiful main campus of KTH!

A few words about my programme

I study Engineering Mechanics, a programme part of the Engineering Sciences school that focuses on the physics behind Mechanical Engineering. In particular, I am specialising in Fluid Mechanics. The uniqueness of this programme was the main thing that pushed me towards KTH, along with its position in the global rankings and the beauty of Stockholm!

My favourite fluid dynamics projects

Since August 2022, I had the opportunity to do tons of projects and assignments in the area of fluid mechanics. My favourite one was – by far – the final project of the “Data-driven Methods in Engineering Mechanics” course. The course focused on applications of machine learning in Fluid Mechanics, and the final project consisted in the development and comparison of different reduced-order models for the flow around an airfoil. My friend Pedro and I had the chance to code autoencoders, convolutional and recurrent neural networks, as well as comparing them to more traditional methods like the Proper Orthogonal Decomposition or the Dynamic Mode Decomposition. We also used the neural networks to predict the future time dynamics of the system. Lots of coding involved, but the hard work paid off!

Also, I have really enjoyed working on the final project of the “Computational Fluid Dynamics” course, where we had to code from scratch a finite difference solver for the flow inside a cavity. The entire course was very challenging and had a lot of side assignments, but the joy of seeing your code delivering good results was really overwhelming!

Picture of a professor writing an equation on the blackboard
Most Engineering courses at KTH have a strong theoretical part alongside project work.

Not only fluids…

Even if I’m specialising in Fluid Mechanics, electives play a big role in my programme, meaning that I could attend many courses in other subjects!
The one I liked the most was FEM Modelling, a practical course focusing on multiphysics modelling using finite elements. The course was very intense, with four assignments and a final projects. The four assignments focused on setting up simulations for different problems, following the professor’s requests. For instance, we simulated the stresses and deformation caused by fluid compression inside a bicycle damper, the non-linear deformation of a train stopper following a train crash, the stresses arising in a lithium battery due to thermal expansion… very interesting (and tough) problems! For the final project, my group and I decided to simulate the fluid-solid interaction inside a blood pump. Therefore, both the non-newtonian Navier Stokes equations and the solid mechanics equations had to be solved on a rotating mesh. This course also taught me the importance of having good report writing skills!

Picture of a computer room at KTH
I particularly like working in KTH computer labs. Plenty of fast computers and blackboards are available!

These were just some of the projects I carried out during the last year, and one blog post wouldn’t be enough to describe them all! I do hope you found this interesting, anyway. Maybe in the future I’ll tell you about my favourite labs 😉.

If you wish to apply to KTH, don’t forget to check out the upcoming KTH webinars and give a look at Sai’s post on the application timeline!
Also, Sam wrote a brilliant post on how to land a KTH scholarship, and I recommend you to check it out. You will be inspired!

Have a great week, and see you next week!

// Lorenzo

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