Prof. C. Fred Higgs has taught 3 courses combined, at Rice University and Carnegie Mellon: Undergraduate Thermodynamics and two graduate courses entitled Tribology: Fiction, Lubrication, and Wear and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD).

green enerygThermodynamics

The topics covered in this course include temperature and thermometry; equations of state for fluids and solids; work, heat, and the first law; internal energy, enthalpy, and specific heats; energy equations for flow; change of phase; the second law, reversibility, absolute temperature, and entropy; combined first and second laws; availability; power and refrigeration cycles. Applications to a wide range of processes and devices that produce energy are also studied. We also now introduce concepts of green energy.

Innovation: One innovation in this course was teaching the development of next-generation “Green Energy” technologies.

tribologyTribology: Friction, Lubrication, and Wear

This course will cover the science of surfaces interacting via dry, lubricated, and mixed (i.e., dry + lubricated) contact. Fundamental aspects include the Reynolds Equation, thermal-tribology, friction, and wear. Applied topics include bearings, surface analysis, nanomanufacturing, and biotribology. The course will concludes with a team project which will require computer programming.

Innovation: One innovation in this course was to teach students to do computational contact mechanics using real profilometry data.


fluid mechanicsComputational Fluid Mechanics

This course focuses on numerical techniques for spatial discretization: finite difference, finite volume, and the solution of the Navier-Stokes equations. Explicit and implicit methods to solve classicial PDEs are learned, namely a review of the finite difference methods applicable to elliptic, hyperbolic and parabolic equations and the concepts of stability, consistency and convergence. The course culminates in students developing their own full-Navier Stokes CFD solver and a crash-course training in the commercial CFD software Fluent.

Innovation: One innovation in this course was training students to develop their own CFD solvers (including the energy equation) to compare to commercial CFD tools.