Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) holds promise and delivers time- and cost-savings for aerospace and defense companies and engineers.
Where should CFD fall in a development cycle?
There are two schools of thought as far as CFD is concerned. One is that CFD is done after the fact, after a problem has been identified; then CFD is used by a specialist to help solve the problem. The other is that CFD can be embedded into the actual upfront design process. This latter approach enables design engineers to conduct multiple what-if tests in order to find the optimum design for performance and manufacturing.
When using the right tool at the right stage of development, even small to medium-sized aerospace and defense companies can benefit from reduced physical prototyping and development costs. For example, a CAD-embedded Concurrent CFD approach can reduce simulation time by as much as 75 percent in comparison to traditional CFD tools and enables users to optimize product performance and reliability while reducing physical prototyping and development costs without time or material penalties.
Compare CFD to other methods.
As with all other methods of testing, CFD simulation results depend on the quality of data input into the system. However, CFD has been proven time and time again by our customers as a great method for vetting the best possible design without having to build any physical prototypes. Some bypass physical prototypes altogether, while others build a prototype as the final proving stage.
Azonix Corp., a provider of computers and displays designed for extremely harsh conditions and military applications, used our FloEFD CAD-embedded CFD software and reduced the number of thermal prototypes needed for its Terra computer from up to 12 to only one.
Why should mil-aero executives consider implementing CFD?
At the end of the day, it's a question of time and money. Effective business owners and managers are concerned about getting product out the door affordably and quickly. Therefore, any tool that helps them to compress the time it takes to get the product out to the market, increase the quality of the said product and reduce the capital outlay is favored. CFD has very well known and hard metrics attached to it. Our solution further expands those metrics by an order of magnitude.
What advice do you have for mil-aero systems engineers?
They have done their first task already, in terms of understanding that they have to get rid of this excessive heat. The next task is to find the right way to do so. This can be tricky as there are many solutions-some more, some less preferable. Often the key is trying out all possible solutions to find the best suited for the application with minimal to no size, weight, power consumption, and cost increase. Simulation can help to try out these possible solutions and narrow down the selection to a few that will decide the final design.
NAME: Dr. Erich Buergel
TITLE: General Manager, Mechanical Analysis Division, Mentor Graphics
ROLE: Offers mechanical analysis and simulation solutions as part of the Mentor Graphics design automation software portfolio