August 2014: The Where, Why, and How of CFD

Where does Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) figure in the design process? Why should you use CFD? How could you use CFD? If you are looking for answers to any of these questions, then this month's articles are a must read for you.

Concept Design Phase CFDConcept Design Phase CFDParametric study of pipe diameter

All CFD Should Be Upfront CFD

There is a category of CFD called Upfront CFD. It typically refers to CFD software embedded in and launched from within CAD systems. Upfront, the term, also implies that it is something that happens before something else, maybe prior to detailed design in the design process - even during the concept design phase. I think the use of the term Upfront CFD is great marketing, but a poor differentiator of the actual CFD software. Read more >>

CFD Is Not Enough

Although most CFD software vendors would have you believe otherwise, a CFD tool alone does not a successful product make. Consider that Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) tools, such as CFD, are widely available yet some engineering organizations succeed and others fail. An excellent example is Formula 1, where all the teams use the latest state-of-the-art CFD tools, but some teams routinely win while others struggle. Clearly the governing factor is not the CFD tool they are using. The difference is the overall design and development process that encompasses CFD and, in no small part, the ingenuity of the engineers driving the process. Read more >>

Design is Compromise

Rare is the occasion when you can design a new widget without constraints, in fact I'd argue that it's not only rare but it's never. Engineering design is all about compromise. Take a Formula 1 car as an example, its success on the race track is overwhelmingly governed by the efficiency of its aerodynamics - yet even though it's so important the external aerodynamics for F1 cars is an exercise in compromise. Compromise to satisfy regulations, which are in place to actually slow cars down for safety's sake. Compromise to ensure that the wheels are supported correctly relative to the road. Compromise to ensure that the engine gets enough inlet air, cooling air, and a path to eject exhaust. Compromise in terms of the driver's safety structure. Compromise after compromise. No one element of a design can be optimized without considering the effect on the overall design. Read more >>

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