Richard Smith's blog

Wind Tunnel Reveals Dinosaur's Flight Secrets

Researchers at the University of Southampton have tested a model of a Microraptor (a feathered, four-winged dinosaur) in a wind tunnel and found that it was optimized for slow gliding. Its multiple wings performed the same function as a modern-day, high-lift configuration used on airliners for takeoff and landing.

Caedium CFD Simulation Around The Great SphinxMicroraptorSketchUp Model

The Great Sphinx CFD Wind Erosion Study

There are many erosion processes that relate directly to either water or air flow. And if it flows, then Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) can help. So it should come as no surprise that CFD was used to better understand and predict the wind erosion on the Great Sphinx in Egypt.

Caedium CFD Simulation Around The Great SphinxCaedium CFD Simulation Around The Great SphinxRendered in POV-Ray

Automated CFD Angle of Attack Sweep for an Airliner

Often in a Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) study you will find yourself repeating a series of operations that are prime candidates for automation. For instance, performing an angle of attack (alpha) sweep for an airplane configuration is a great example where automation can be a significant time saver as I will demonstrate.

CFD Simulation of an AirlinerCFD Simulation of an AirlinerAlpha = 6 degrees, velocity contours and arrows

CFD Simulation of a Pitot Tube and Manometer

Pitot tubes are critical devices used to determine the airspeed of an aircraft. In aerodynamics it is important to know the speed of an aircraft relative to the surrounding air to alert pilots to stall conditions. Pitot tubes are also used in wind tunnels to determine airspeed, sometimes using a manometer to measure the pressure difference between static pressure and total pressure to determine the dynamic pressure. I thought it would be interesting to see if we could simulate a pitot tube connected to a manometer (two-phase flow, air + water) using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and to share my findings with you.

CFD Simulation of a Pitot Tube and ManometerCFD Simulation of a Pitot Tube and ManometerBlue is water and red is air

Virtual Wind Tunnel and Free Air CFD Comparison Part 2/2

Welcome to the concluding episode of my two-part project to compare results between the virtual wind tunnel and free air using a series of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations. Recall that the previous post outlined the free air tests and expectations for the comparison. Here I present the results and conclusions.

CFD Simulation of a Racecar in a Wind TunnelCFD Simulation of a Racecar in a Wind TunnelPressure contours on the racecar

Virtual Wind Tunnel and Free Air CFD Comparison Part 1/2

Often the ultimate aim of performing a wind tunnel test on a scale model is to provide data on how the full size equivalent will behave in free air. This is especially true in motor racing (e.g., Formula 1) where teams use a combination of wind tunnels and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) to guide what they hope is a winning racecar design. As a follow on to my project to build a virtual wind tunnel to test an open wheel racecar, here I start a two-part project to compare results between the virtual wind tunnel and free air using a series of CFD simulations.

CFD Test Section for a Racecar in a Wind TunnelCFD Test Section for a Racecar in a Wind Tunnel

CFD Simulation of a Racecar in a Wind Tunnel

Having recently built a Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulation of the Honda Wind Tunnel at Imperial College, it seemed only fitting to actually use it to perform a virtual test on a scale model. Clearly, given the wind tunnel's close association with motor racing, the test model had to be a racecar.

CFD Simulation of a Racecar in a Wind TunnelCFD Simulation of a Racecar in a Wind TunnelVelocity magnitude iso-surfaces

Wind Tunnel Explained With Computational Fluid Dynamics

Have you ever wondered what are the main features of a wind tunnel and what purpose do they fulfill? Well wonder no more. With the help of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) let's explore a closed return wind tunnel based on the Honda Wind Tunnel at Imperial College, London.

Wind Tunnel CFD SimulationWind Tunnel CFD SimulationVelocity magnitude iso-surfaces

Moving Reference Frame for Computational Fluid Dynamics

A Moving Reference Frame (MRF) is a relatively simple, robust, and efficient steady-state, Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modeling technique to simulate rotating machinery. For example, the rotors on a quadcopter can be modeled with MRFs.

MRF CFD Simulation of a Quadcopter in FlightMRF CFD Simulation of a Quadcopter in FlightShows streamlines colored by velocity magnitude

Simulation For Your 3D Printer

3D printers are the new black.

Whether 3D printing can live up to the hype remains to be seen. However, making things has been around since time eternal. The fact that 3D printers have reached a price point allowing small businesses and hobbyists, collectively referred to as Makers, to leap on board is definitely exciting. However, what hasn't changed is that building a physical thing still costs time and money. What can we learn from the millennia of building things prior to the availability of 3D printers?

First Generation 3D Printer for HobbyistsFirst Generation 3D Printer for Hobbyists

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