Richard Smith's blog

CFD Provides Insight Into Mystery Fossils

Fossilized imprints of Parvancorina from over 500 million years ago have puzzled paleontologists for decades. What makes it difficult to infer their behavior is that Parvancorina have none of the familiar features we might expect of animals, e.g., limbs, mouth. In an attempt to shed some light on how Parvancorina might have interacted with their environment researchers have enlisted the help of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD).

CFD Water Flow Simulation over a ParvancorinaCFD Water Flow Simulation over a Parvancorina: Forward directionIllustration only, not part of the study

Wind Turbine Design According to Insects

One of nature's smallest aerodynamic specialists - insects - have provided a clue to more efficient and robust wind turbine design.

DragonflyDragonfly: Yellow-winged DarterLicense: CC BY-SA 2.5, André Karwath

Runners Discover Drafting

The recent attempt to break the 2 hour marathon came very close at 2:00:24, with various aids that would be deemed illegal under current IAAF rules. The bold and obvious aerodynamic aid appeared to be a Tesla fitted with an oversized digital clock leading the runners by a few meters.

2 Hour Marathon Attempt

Wind Tunnel and CFD Reveal Best Cycling Tuck

The Giro d'Italia 2017 is in full swing, so how about an extensive aerodynamic study of various cycling tuck positions? You got it, from members of the same team that brought us the study of pursuit vehicles reducing the drag on cyclists.

Chris Froome TuckChris Froome TuckStage 8, Pau/Bagnères-de-Luchon, Tour de France, 2016

Active Aerodynamics on the Lamborghini Huracán Performante

Early on in the dash to develop ever faster racecars in the 1970s, aerodynamics, and specifically downforce, proved a revelation. Following on quickly from the initial passive downforce initiatives were active aerodynamic solutions. Only providing downforce when needed (i.e., cornering and braking) then reverting to a low drag configuration was an ideal protocol, but short lived due to rule changes in most motor sports (including Formula 1), which banned active aerodynamics. A recent exception to the rule is the highly regulated Drag Reduction System now used in F1. However, road-legal cars are not governed by such regulations and so we have the gloriously unregulated Lamborghini Huracán Performante.

Active Aerodynamics on the Lamborghini Huracán Performante

Fluidic Logic

Fluidic logic (fluidics) uses specially designed fluid paths to perform logic operations, such as AND, OR, and NOT gates. In electronics logical operations underpin all the digital devices that depend on CPUs for their brains. Using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) we can quickly explore potential fluidic components.

CFD Simulation of a Fluidic AND GateCFD Simulation of a Fluidic AND Gate

Stonehenge Vortex Revealed as April Fools' Day Distortion Field

As I'm sure you suspected the "Stonehenge Vortex Revealed by CFD" story was a figment of the April Fools' Day distortion field.

Ribbons Tracing a Contrived Vortex at StonehengeRibbons Tracing a Contrived Vortex at StonehengeCFD simulation shows ribbons colored by velocity

Stonehenge Vortex Revealed by CFD

Forget all the speculation as to the purpose of Stonehenge. After a detailed Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) study it appears Stonehenge's original purpose was to generate a focused vortex.

CFD Simulation of a Vortex at StonehengeCFD Simulation of a Vortex at StonehengeStreamline arrows colored by velocity

Bicycle Wheel and Fender Aerodynamics

In the bicycle world aerodynamics has taken on an ever increasingly important role. Cyclists are willing to go to great lengths and expense to realize performance enhancements through optimized aerodynamics in bicycle frames, wheels, and components. I thought it would be interesting to see where in the spectrum of aerodynamics performance disc rotors and fenders (mud guards) lie using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) as our guide.

CFD Simulation of a Wheel with a Fender and Disc RotorCFD Simulation of a Wheel with a Fender and Disc RotorVelocity contours at 25 degree yaw angle

Speedy Downhill

If you want to go fast downhill then you better know your aerodynamics. For an alpine skier and a downhill cyclist, drag is the force holding them back, but with the application of some basic fluid dynamics knowledge they can go faster - a lot faster.

Eric Barone - 223,30 km/h (138.752 mph) - World mountain bike speed recordEric Barone - 223,30 km/h (138.752 mph) - World mountain bike speed record

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