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From CAD User Mechanical Magazine Vol 19 No 12 - DECEMBER/JANUARY 2007
The latest version of CFdesign upfront CFD software generates first-pass flow and thermal simulation in minutes and delivers high-fidelity design reviews 20 times faster
Blue Ridge Numerics – the name comes from its birthplace in the Blue Ridge mountains of Kentucky – is a front runner in the integration of CFD with CAD applications. The company has recognised that current modeling applications provide all of the data that is required to perform complex CFD analysis, and that design engineers now want to test and evaluate their models as they develop them, without having to export their design data to external CFD specialists using expensive dedicated software, and re-import the results of each test before they can develop their models further.
It has, therefore, ensured that its application, CFDesign, is both available in all popular CAD packages, and has simplified its usage, automating the most complex operations, so that the average design engineer can initiate, run and produce results from a wide range of analytical processes.
Extending the product further, Blue Ridge has recently released a new version of its CFdesign upfront CFD software that enables users to set up and view first-pass CFD simulations in minutes while generating high-fidelity design reviews up to 20 times faster than with previous versions. CFdesign V9, developed for multi-tasking mechanical and thermal engineers, also offers new analysis features to increase innovation during new product development.
“The single greatest requirement among engineers in our marketplace is speed,” says Ed Williams, president of Blue Ridge Numerics. “There is no other CFD package on the market that allows an engineer to go from 3D concept to an optimised, production-ready design as quickly and efficiently as CFdesign V9.”
End to meshing headaches
Automation in CFdesign V9 allows both novices and experts to breeze through simulation set-up thanks to two new features: auto mesh sizing and rules on parts.
Auto mesh sizing performs a comprehensive topological interrogation of the geometric model, assigning mesh sizes based on curvature, geometric gradients and proximity to neighbouring features. An optimally sized surface and volume mesh ensures faster mesh generation and higher-quality simulation results without any user input.
“This was the last aspect of our software that required some guru-like CFD expertise,” says Williams. “With auto mesh sizing, that headache has left the building.”
CFdesign V9 beta customers report that the mesh is cleaner and smoother, critical transition regions are instantly and expertly managed and the final CFD solution is achieved faster than ever before.
The new rules on parts feature in CFdesign V9 intelligently detects MCAD part names within an assembly and automatically assigns volumetric boundary conditions and material properties. Boundary conditions include heat generation and total heat generation, both of which can be steady-state, transient or temperature dependent. Materials are assigned from CFdesign’s customisable library of fluids, solids, printed circuit boards and the newly added two-resistor electronic components.
The new Accelerant™ Solver within CFdesign V9 uses proprietary CPU optimisation algorithms to radically reduce the time it takes to achieve fully converged fluid-flow and heat-transfer results. Testing conducted by Blue Ridge Numerics and CFdesign customers shows that simulation results for simple models can be generated 40 percent faster than in previous versions and extremely complex simulations can be completed up to 2,000 percent faster.
“We’re addressing the need for speed,” says Williams. “Our surveys show that CFdesign allows project completion up to 70 percent faster than physical test methods and 65 percent faster than traditional CFD tools.
Added analysis power
Blue Ridge Numerics has added new analysis features in CFdesign V9 based on its long-established premise that advanced functionality is fully compatible with ease of use.
- Solar loading shows transient electromagnetic heat transfer from the sun, which can for example affect the performance of outdoor security cameras, climate control systems and power utility transformers. This feature includes radiation through transparent media and even shows shadowing based on the movement of the sun. Simulation set up is simple: specify time of year, time of day and location on the globe using the database in CFdesign, or assign specific latitude/longitude coordinates.
- Compact Thermal Models allow electronics, mechatronic and thermal engineers to answer one of the biggest questions related to product reliability: “What are the temperatures within integrated circuits during system operation?” CFdesign V9 can supply junction and case temperature and heat transfer information for every component within the system and supports a wide range of microchip configurations.
- Free motion allows movement of solids in any flow direction. Users can enable or limit any of the six degrees of freedom and apply forces, gravity, initial velocity and rotation. Free-motion functionality also tracks forces and torque, detects collisions and records subsequent reactions and enables users to apply gravity and gravitational acceleration, even using values different from those on Earth.
- Thermostatically controlled fans and blowers enable users to control a fan or blower with a specified trigger temperature. The fan is activated automatically when trigger temperature is reached to provide a highly realistic view of full-cycle system performance.
New design optimisation technologies
CFdesign V9 delivers its greatest value to the customer when used to conduct comprehensive design optimisation studies prior to physical prototype testing. The software contains two new enabling technologies for this effort: process automation scripting and the design review server.
Process automation scripting allows users to create a project-specific script that defines model set up, analysis execution and results extraction for a large number of similar analyses that differ parametrically. A trade-off study containing unlimited result quantities is presented as a function of the varying input. Scripts can also be created that allow CFdesign to operate as part of a design optimisation environment.
The design review server distributes computations across available networked computers, providing a convenient way to conduct extensive, highly interactive design review sessions while working within current hardware and network limits.
Full CAD/CAE integration
CFdesign V9 is fully associative and integrated with Autodesk Inventor, Catia V5, CoCreate, Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire, SolidWorks, Solid Edge and UGS NX 3D MCAD systems. Fluid-flow and heat-transfer results can be transferred as an input deck for structural simulations in Abaqus, Ansys, Cosmos, Nastran and Pro/MECHANICA.
About Blue Ridge Numerics
Blue Ridge Numerics puts comprehensive fluid-flow and heat-transfer simulation upfront in the product development process, where it creates tremendous value for small, medium and large companies around the world. Leading companies in aerospace, appliances, automotive, electronics, food and drug, HVAC, material processing, medical, military and defense, plumbing and power generation use CFdesign software to save money and time by reducing the amount of flow-bench, thermal-rig and wind-tunnel testing necessary to validate new designs.
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