​B.S. Math and Physics, Heidelberg University, 1974​M.S. Mechanical Engineering, University of Toledo, 1979​Ph.D. University of Virginia, 1986

"I gear my teaching towards providing both the background and motivation for understanding engineering principles."

Rita Jane Schnipke, Lecturer

After receiving my PhD at UVA, I worked with a venture capitalist to start an engineering software business. After the venture capitalist sold that company to Ansys Inc, I started another engineering software business (Blue Ridge Numerics Inc) with a business partner. That company grew to 100 employees and 10 offices worldwide. Our software product, CFDesign was recognized as the premier product for upfront simulation in the design process. CFDesign was an integral part of the design process in over 1500 companies worldwide. The companies spanned the industry segments: aerospace, architecture, automotive, consumer products, data centers, electronics cooling, industrial flow control, manufacturing processes, medical devices, turbomachinery and water quality. Blue Ridge Numerics Inc was sold to Autodesk Inc in 2011. The CFDesign software is now the flagship CFD software sold by Autodesk Inc, Autodesk CFD. At UVA, my goal is to share my experience in the design process and my expertise in applying simulation techniques to this process to upcoming engineers.



  • University of Toledo - Distinguished Alumni 2016
  • Listed on Deloitte & Touche Fast 50 for Virginia 2005-2010
  • Listed on Deloitte & Touche 500 for technology companies 2005-2009
  • Winner of Virginia Piedmont Technology Council Tech Award 2007
  • Finalist for Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2006

Research Interests

  • Smart Buildings/Cities
  • Rotating Machinery
  • Fluid Mechanics
  • Environmental Engineering

Selected Publications

  • Implementing Computational Fluid Dynamics Early in the Design of HVAC Systems, ASHRAE Energy Modeling Conference, Atlanta, Georgia, October 2012. 2012. Den Hartog, J., Wright, P., Schnipke, R.J.
  • Tackling CFD Problems from the Beginnng, 2011 NAFEMS International Congress, Boston, MA, May 2011. 2011. Schnipke, R. J., Kania, L.
  • Improving Mixing in Distribution System Storage Faciliites, Proceedings of the American Water Works Association Annual Conference, June, 1998. 1998. Grayman, W.M., Rossman, L.A., Deininger, R.A., Arnold, C., Smith, C., Smith, J.F., Schnipke, R.J.
  • The Measurement and Prediction of Natural Convection Velocities in Triangular Enclosures, The International Journal of Heat and Fluid Flow, Vol. 16, pp. 106-113. 1995. Flack, R.D., Brun, K., Schnipke, R.J.
  • A Fluid Flow and Heat Transfer Analysis for Evaluating the Effectiveness of an IC Package Heat Sink, Fifth IEEE SemiTherm Symposium, San Diego, CA, February 1989. 1989. Schnipke, R.J., Hayward, J.D., Rice, J.G.
  • A Finite Element Method for Free and Forced Convection Heat Transfer, International Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering, Vol. 24, pp. 117-128. 1987. Schnipke, R.J., Rice, J.G.

Courses Taught

  • Fluid Mechanics
  • Advanced Fluid Mechanics
  • Machine Design
  • Computational Methods for Mechanical and Aerospace Engineers