Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Stephen Gent


CFD, computational fluid dynamics, grain dryer, modeling and simulation, model refinement, photobioreactor


This thesis investigates the effects of varying model refinement and representation of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations in two case studies. Product and process realization in engineering design requires substantial resources (time and money) in order to test novel designs for effectiveness. In recent decades, engineering has been relying more heavily on simulation-based analysis in the design process with computer models to help reduce the demands for real-life testing. The first case study analyzed in this thesis is a photobioreactor, which is used to grow microalgae for biofuel and require a balance of nutrients, light, and mixing for growth. The second case study analyzed is a laboratory scale grain dryer used to assess and quantify the drying mechanics of corn. The air flow in the system is analyzed to look at both the velocity and temperature stratification of the packed bed of corn within the drying chamber. The model refinement techniques used in these systems involved refining the computational grid and increasing the complexity of the simulated systems. A recommended model was obtained with successful iterations of the simulations. This model could then be used to describe and predict the system behavior. Through the use of modeling and simulation with CFD, the design process can be simplified.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Engineering design.
Computational fluid dynamics.
Bioreactors -- Design and construction -- Computer simulation.
Microalgae -- Biotechnology.
Grain -- Drying -- Equipment and supplies -- Design and construction -- Computer simulation.


Includes bibliographical references (pages 118-127)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright