Post-processing software is an essential everyday tool in the world of research and development. Scientists and engineers might use a variety of tools, including simple spreadsheets (i.e. Excel), flexible script-driven toolboxes (i.e. Python, Matlab, etc…), or fully-featured post-processing software packages (i.e. Tecplot 360 or FieldView). Whichever tool they use, the value proposition is clear – they want to be able to analyze, understand, and communicate the results of their simulations and tests. But what if we look beyond R&D (or before it!). What value does post-processing software provide in the classroom? Read on for 5 ways that post-processing software can amplify learning in science and engineering courses.
1. Less Time Learning Software, More Time Drawing Conclusions
Students in virtually any science or engineering degree program are assailed with a host of different tools across their many courses. Aerospace Engineering students, for example, may use Abaqus or ANSYS Mechanical for structural analysis, tools like LabVIEW for data collection in wind-tunnel, structural, or vibration experiments, and StarCCM+, ANSYS Fluent, or OpenFOAM for CFD simulations. General science & engineering post-processing tools like Tecplot 360 and will load all of these codes, making a huge difference by providing a consistent software interface across many types of technical data.
2. Easy to Create, Beautiful, and Meaningful Reports
Homework assignments, group projects, lab write-ups, capstone courses… Students produce an amazing amount of work throughout their academic careers. Those that go the extra mile to communicate their work neatly & clearly tend to get the most out of their classes. Post-processing software, or any software for that matter, can’t replace a strong work ethic or a genuine desire to learn, but it can certainly make presenting results a lot easier. Tools like Tecplot 360 provide a flexible way to style & export beautiful images and insightful plots from technical data.
3. Reinforce Programming Knowledge with Alternative Modes of Use
Virtually all Engineering students are expected to learn at least some type of scripting language. A commonly taught language these days is Python, for its versatility, ease-of-use, and powerful free packages. The more opportunities the student is given to apply their coding knowledge the more adept they will become, which is why Tecplot’s Python API (PyTecplot) can provide an excellent opportunity for crossover from their programming coursework to their simulation & experimental courses, increasing their retention and further preparing them for the workforce.
4. Application Specific Toolboxes Emphasize Important Features
Undergraduate studies focus heavily on theoretical concepts – and rightly so. But when those students enter the workforce, they may find that much of the work they are expected to perform on a day-to-day basis is much more… practical in nature. Post-processing software that comes with application specific toolboxes (such as the CFD Analyzer toolbox in Tecplot 360) can give students hints about what engineers in industry typically care the most about. These toolboxes don’t eliminate the need for a robust understanding of first principles, but they can help a new researcher or engineer focus on the results that matter most.
5. Learn Industry Standard Tools & Methods
Last, but certainly not least, is the primary reason that many pursue a degree in the first place: preparation for a career in industry. Exposure to commercial-grade post-processing software is just one of many ways that science and engineering students can prepare themselves for their careers. Tecplot has tens of thousands of users worldwide and is prevalent in government research labs and various industries such as aerospace, defense, automotive, energy, marine, geosciences, and many more. It’s a safe bet that students who pursue a technical career path will have an opportunity to use Tecplot or a similar post-processing software at some point in their future – and those who have used it before will have an advantage.
Tecplot in the Classroom
Special pricing is available for academic users upon request. Learn more about the Tecplot Academic Suite »