Richard Smith's blog

Car Design and CFD

I've noticed a flurry of announcements that cite the use of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) in the design of new cars for public roads and race tracks. While none of these announcements say that CFD was responsible for the design of the whole car, equally they don't say, with much clarity, what exactly did CFD contribute?

Build Your Own Paper Rocket

"What's the fastest way to become a commercial space millionaire? Start as a commercial space billionaire." So goes the joke in the space industry, and some billionaires are putting this theory to the test, as I covered in "Just For Fun: The New Space Race." But if you are missing the billions and just want some inexpensive rocket fun, then consider a more earth-bound air-powered paper rocket.

The Linux Desktop and Computer-Aided Engineering

Is the Linux desktop ready for Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE)? Or, more aptly, is CAE ready for the Linux desktop?

Virtual Wind Turbine Breaks Betz' Law

Given the technological sophistication of today's wind turbines, it's quite humbling to think that their theoretical maximum efficiency was derived by wind turbine pioneer Albert Betz in 1920. Betz' Law, as it is now known, is a relatively simple proof that the maximum efficiency of a wind turbine, irrespective of its design, cannot exceed 59%. Still, some believe laws are there to be broken - at least in the virtual simulation world.

Future of Commercial CFD

Having covered the Origins of Commercial CFD and the Evolution of Commercial CFD it seems only fitting that I stick my neck out and provide predictions on the future of CFD. Let's start by extrapolating from recent events and use the analogous CAD market as a reference.

Evolution of Commercial CFD

The evolution of the commercial Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) industry from the original pioneers makes for an interesting trip through time. Join me as I trace the ancestry of current day CFD vendors.

Origins of the Commercial CFD Industry

Some may remember the 1980s for its over-the-top fashion (think big shoulder pads), even bigger hair styles, action movies (who can forget The Terminator?) and the Gordon Gekko greed is good mantra. Others will remember the introduction of personal computers - a "dent in the universe" to quote Steve Jobs of Apple. A few may even remember that the origins of the commercial Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software industry can be traced to a small number of pioneers in the 1980s. If you are one of the few then maybe you'll find this post on the origins of commercial CFD will stir a few fond memories.

Turbulence to Skydiving: The 2007 Blog Review

2007 was quite a ride. Looking through my posts you'll find a veritable mystery tour from Turbulence to Skydiving Without a Parachute. Various themes emerged without warning - there was no master plan - I just went where the wind blew and the water ran.

Skydiving Without a Parachute

Jump out of an aircraft without a parachute - are you mad? Probably. What if you could have a reserve parachute and wear a wingsuit? OK, keep talking...

MicroISV Rising

The rise of the MicroISV - small (sometimes a single person) independent software vendor - might be the jolt that the Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) analysis industry needs to break free of the current trend of ever more expensive tools offered by established CAE vendors. Just as the Google Lunar XPrize attempts to jumpstart a new outer space industry, MicroISVs have the potential to forge a brave new software frontier.

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