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What maths would you need for mechanical engineering?

  1. Nov 11, 2011 #1
    I mean when we're getting into higher level courses and real life, what are the more applicable subjects in math for mechanical engineering?

    I'm not asking for myself but for a friend. He wants to get into Computational Fluid Dynamics and would like to prepare himself better during his undergrad years.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 11, 2011 #2
    Computational fluid dynamics uses computers. But to understand the math you should know multivariable calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, partial differential equations, and a few other broad, general types of math. A strong understanding of calculus is really necessary for understanding the intricacies of CFD.
  4. Nov 11, 2011 #3
    I agree with Travis_King but I would also add a few things.

    First I would add numerical methods but that is probably obvious.

    If your friend is going to be studying turbulent flows it will also be important to know some statistics and Fouirer transforms/spectral analysis.

    But this is all stuff you can learn from the relevant classes in school.
  5. Nov 11, 2011 #4
    By "knowing" does my friend have to learn the proofs of everything in that type of math?
  6. Nov 11, 2011 #5
    Definitely not. CFD is an engineering tool so its the application of the math that really matters. When you look at an equation you should be able to understand what it is telling you about the physics of the problem, and you should understand how to implement numerical algorithms. Also for CFD it is important to understand certain stability criteria for the numerical scheme you are using but you don't need to know the proof/derivation of the specific stability criteria.

    I don't do CFD but I believe a major part of it is understanding the various turbulence models so you know which model to apply in which situation and its important to understand the physics of the problem so you know which terms are important.
  7. Nov 16, 2011 #6
    Whats a good engineering math textbook to pickup for reference? I read here awhile ago that somebody recomended some holy grail engineering math textbook where you'd be able to reference all the equations needed.
  8. Nov 16, 2011 #7


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    "Advanced Engineering Mathematics" by Kreyszig has just about anything you need to know for engineering.
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