April 2008

We have two news items to share with you this month: we've moved our website to a more reliable hosting service; and we are investigating an OpenFOAM Caedium add-on. For the full scoop read-on.

One last thing - did you spot our April Fools' day blog post?

VenturiWind Funnel: April Fools' day blog post

New Website Hosting

We've noticed (probably you have too) that the Symscape website was suffering regular outages at peak viewing times, so we've switched our hosting service. The new service has proved very stable without a single outage in our first 2 weeks - a very promising start.

OpenFOAM on Windows

We recently produced and made freely available a patch for OpenFOAM that for the first time enables the creation of a native Windows version using a cross-compiler running under Linux. OpenFOAM previously only worked under Cygwin (Linux emulation) on Windows.

OpenFOAM is an open source physics software toolkit for Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and linear-stress analysis. Our native Windows OpenFOAM port is part of a larger effort to assess the feasibility of an OpenFOAM Caedium add-on.


Below are teasers for our latest blog posts. The titles are links to the full posts.

FanWing: A Flying Lawn Mower
What do you get if you cross a reel lawn mower with an airplane? The answer is FanWing - a low-speed airplane concept. Unlike a traditional fixed-wing airplane, the FanWing can generate lift independent of its forward airspeed. The source of its lift is a cross flow fan resembling the cylindrical blade on a reel lawn mower.

Wind Funnel to Replace CFD
Anyone well versed in aerodynamics knows that Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is an indispensable analysis tool - just ask the automotive industry. However, CFD, like all analysis methods, has limitations. For example, try calculating the unsteady air flow around an entire Formula One (F1) car in less than a week. Fear not though; help may be at hand in the form of a new experimental analysis method using a Wind Funnel.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Up, Pilots Down
In the near future it's likely that airplane pilots will not actually venture into the air. Most 'pilots' will instead 'fly' Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) from ground-based virtual cockpits. This trend is already evident in the military, but it is poised to extend to and transform all branches of piloted aerospace vehicles.

Flying Car Contenders
Combining a car and an airplane into a single vehicle has proved to be an elusive dream. The convenience of a so-called flying car goes unquestioned, but the technical challenges are immense. It seems that the flying car is eternally 5-10 years away from reality. Each of the latest crop of would-be flying car manufacturers thinks that they have the necessary secret sauce to bring the flying car to life.