A course on flow-system configuration and multi-scale design
This paper brings to the attention of the AES community our experience with developing and trying out a new course that focuses on the generation of system configuration (geometry, architecture, and drawing) during the optimization of performance. The configuration is free to morph. Real systems are destined to remain imperfect because of finiteness constraints. They are plagued by resistances to the flow of fluid, heat, and electricity. Resistances are always finite because of constraints. The balancing and distributing of resistances (irreversibility) through the available volume is the mechanism that generates the architecture. Our approach to this key topic is evolutionary, and from simple to complex. In the 2004 format, the course covers several main topics: the relationship between optimization and the generation of configuration, multi-scale hierarchical structures for fluid flow and heat flow, and tree-shaped networks for collection and distribution, The paper relies on classroom-level examples to illustrate these topics. The paper also discusses the teaching method, and the applicability of this course concept to other domains (cost minimization, urban design, etc.). Copyright © 2004 by ASME.
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