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Case Study

The University of Michigan Uses Ansys Discovery to Introduce Simulation to Engineering Students


  • Introduce first-year engineering students to simulation, without the learning curve of conventional simulation tools. 
  • Enable students to explore advantages and disadvantages of various potential design choices, in real time. 
  • Provide a tool for students to preliminarily evaluate their design concepts without physical prototyping.


Engineering Solution

In 2021, our instructional team began doing lessons on structural and thermal CAE simulation using the “Explore” mode of Ansys Discovery. Our CAE assignments had the students use the files they produced from when they learned CAD modeling (in preceding lessons, based on Ansys SpaceClaim). Specifically, the students were guided through designing a coffee mug and then changing its dimenensions and materials to evaluate the effects of such changes on stress and temperature throughout the mug. Some students opted to learn Discovery further and use simulation in their respective course projects.



Ansys Discovery enabled us to incorporate basic simulation into our ENGR100 course. Its “Explore” mode in particular is highly intuitive, and allows rapid iterative changes with immediate results. So right after our students learn basic CAD and create a design, they get to see how various possible changes in their dimensions and materials could affect structural and thermal aspects throughout their product. This helps them understand the value of simulation as an integral part of the design process, and gives them a solid start on gaining such skills.






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