Poor Assessment of CFD for Rooftop Solar Arrays

In the press release announcing the report "Rooftop Solar Arrays and Wind Loading: A Primer on Using Wind Tunnel Testing as a Basis for Code Compliant Design per ASCE 7 (pdf)," there is the phrase:

"It also addresses the applicability of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), which is sometimes proposed as an alternative to testing."

With eager anticipation I read the report and found a quite damning assessment of CFD.

Oceanic Domination

Not content with air domination through Virgin Airlines and Virgin America, and space domination through Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson has now set his sights on ocean domination with Virgin Oceanic.

LinkedIn Group Discussions Linked to CFD Market Reports

A recent report "Global Computational Fluid Dynamics Market 2010-2014" caught my attention. This report and a number of similar CFD market reports from Infiniti Research on their TechNavio website bare an uncanny resemblance (based on their titles and summaries) to a series of questions and discussion in the LinkedIn group Computational Fluid Dynamics.

Nasal CFD

The range of applications that can benefit from Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis is quite literally breath taking. Take for instance a recent study that used CFD to analyze re-constructive surgery of a virtual nose, which could lead to improved nasal surgery.

Virtual NoseVirtual Nose

To Drone or Not

Unmanned aerial vehicles are all the rage at the moment and for obvious reasons - they don't risk humans in hostile environments and they don't get tired or need bathroom breaks. So it's a little surprising to see Firebird, a prototype surveillance airplane from Northrop Grumman, that can operate as a pilotless drone or operate as a piloted airplane.

The Jetpack You're Looking For

A jetpack from Martin Aircraft has taken flight and reached an impressive 5000 ft. Technically it's a twin rotor ducted fan, so it isn't really a jet but you get the idea. However, this is the jetpack you're looking for.

Rocket for One

Copenhagen Suborbitals is a Danish team of rocketeers who are planning to launch a one person suborbital rocket called Tycho Brahe. The project has progressed to the demonstration stage with a dummy taking the place of the single passenger. It's a cozy fit with the rocket diameter not much large than the chest measurement of the lucky (brave) passenger, who will have to stand upright in the nose cone.

Fake Real Cutaway Models

I just had to follow up on my recent fake real wireframe post with a similar theme on cutaway models. As an engineer I've always found it fascinating to see how things work, and so when I come across cutaway schematics of planes, cars, engines, etc. happy am I. Better still if I find an actual physical cutaway. So for your enjoyment, but also for mine, check out the physical cutaway collection at Oobject.

Fake Cutaway MiniFake Cutaway Mini

Wind Tunnels Are Not Perfect

Much has been made of the CFD-only strategy recently abandoned by the Virgin Racing Formula 1 team as an admission that CFD is responsible for the team's poor performance. Whether this is in fact the case is open for debate. I believe VR's poor performance is due to a general lack of funding across many disciplines not just aerodynamics, but that's another story. Anyway, as a counter to those who think wind tunnel testing is essentially flawless, consider the recent problems Ferrari have experienced with their wind tunnel.

Ferrari F150 F150th Italia Launch: Wind tunnel woes were to follow

New Strategy = CFD + Wind Tunnel

The Virgin Racing (VR) Formula 1 team are parting ways with their CFD guru Nick Wirth after a poor start to the 2011 F1 season and a dismal first season in 2010. Most of the heat for VR's poor performance (wrongly in my opinion) has been laid at the feet of its CFD-only strategy advocated by Wirth. I argued in a recent blog post that the root cause of VR's problems are more likely a general lack of funding, rather than its CFD strategy.

VR Looking for a Wind Tunnel Like Red Bull's?

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