Richard Smith's blog

Affordable Desktop CFD

Bigger is always better when it comes to Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), right? Big computers, big simulations, big budgets - fine if you are a big aerospace company or a big Formula 1 team. Though, it's not so good if you are a small business or a hobbyist who wants to perform CFD simulations within tight budget constraints on a desktop or laptop computer. Don't despair - we are here to help. It is Symscape's mission to provide Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) tools for all. We provide affordable software for performing meaningful CFD simulations on desktop computers.

Caedium CFD Simulation: Open wheel race carCaedium CFD Simulation: Open wheel race car

Kennedy Space Center: Saturn V

After attending the 2010 AIAA ASM Conference in Orlando, I took the opportunity to bask in the Florida sun (if not heat - it was unseasonably cold, though still a whole lot warmer than New Hampshire in January) and visit the Kennedy Space Center. The highlight of the visit to Cape Canaveral was the Apollo/Saturn V Center, which houses a complete Saturn V rocket - follow along for a pictorial review of my trip with historical perspective thanks to Wikipedia.

Tailgate: Up or Down?

Debate rages (OK, maybe rages is a little strong) amongst pickup truck drivers as to whether it is more efficient to drive with the tailgate up or down. The urban legend is that running a truck with the tailgate down reduces the truck's drag and therefore improves its fuel economy.

Airflow Around a Pickup Truck with its Tailgate UpAirflow Around a Pickup Truck with its Tailgate Up

3D Interaction Controls Revisited

Is it time for new interaction controls in 3D modeling applications such as Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) analysis tools? Interacting with 3D models on a 2D screen has always been less than intuitive. However, a recent flurry of innovation in human-computer controls holds out much promise for the future of 3D model control.

Vertical-Axis Wind Turbine Drafting

A recent study into vertical-axis wind turbines (VAWTs) showed that their efficiency could be improved by arranging them into clusters to exploit drafting, i.e., placing VAWTs in the wake of other VAWTs.

New F1 Team Uses CFD Only

As the 2010 Formula 1 (F1) season approaches, excitement is mounting as a new batch of teams enters the ring. One such team - Virgin Racing (VR) - is hitting the headlines with their radical approach of only using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) to test and develop the aerodynamics of their car.

Open or Closed Source Software

Raised eyebrows are the norm when people realize that I have developed a Closed Source Software (CSS) application by integrating a number of Open Source Software (OSS) systems. Before we explore the Symscape business model, keep in mind that everyone needs shelter, food, and health-care, i.e., even software developers need to be paid.

Caedium: State-of-the-art 'plumbing'Caedium: State-of-the-art 'plumbing'

British Steam Car with a Need for Speed

What is it with Brits and their Need for Speed? I've covered Greenbird, the record-breaking land yacht, Quicksilver, a contender for the world water-speed record, and Bloodhound SSC, the concept design for another world land-speed car from the team that holds the current record. What do they all have in common? You guessed it, they are all British-based teams. Well, we can add another team to the list - that of 'The British Steam Car,' who recently broke the world land-speed record for a steam-powered car.

Future Tech: Cheap and Simple

The idea that price and capability are intimately linked goes without question, but when a disruptive technology or business model introduces a step change in that relationship, then you have a revolution - or if you are the incumbent, you have a dilemma. Cheap and simple is coming, ready or not.

Riblets: 400 Million Years in the Making

Sharks have been around for over 400 million years, pre-dating the dinosaurs by some 200 million years. 400 million years is quite a time to perfect the swift swimming skills that make sharks one of the most efficient predators on the Earth. But it's not only technique that makes sharks fast. Their slippery streamlined shape helps to minimizes pressure drag, and a specialized skin layer (dermal denticles) minimizes skin friction drag and serves as the inspiration for riblets.

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