Engineers often face situations, where they need better understanding on the performance of the product in certain conditions. For instance, how the fluid flows in geometrical complex structures or how heat conducts through different materials. A ship builder may be interested in simulating how the wavers hit the ship hull.
Physical measurements and mock-up experiments are costly and time consuming. In some cases they may even be impossible to conduct. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) provides a cost-efficient and reliable solution. Etteplan was one of the first providers of CFD services which include models and calculations to visualize results, improve material and energy efficiency as well as to reduce physical measurements. Typically CFD is provided as an integrated part of our process or part of a larger project package.
“Etteplan always analyzes the benefits for the customers with scope and application before recommending a CFD analysis, says Ilkka Pöllänen, Technology Director for Plant engineering and Engineering analysis. “Some assignments require several prototypes and measurements such as electronics design. In these cases, CFD offers time savings up to 50 percent. And today CFD models are very cost-effective.”
Image: Ilkka Pöllänen, Technology Director for Plant engineering at Etteplan
CFD can be applied in almost any product
CFD can be used in a wide variety of applications, as the method is scale and geometry independent. We can model portal crane wind loads or factory flue gas distribution in large scale (km scale) or detailed temperature distributions for electrical components in small scale (mm scale). For instance chemical reactions, thermal radiation, particle tracking and separation can be added to the simulation when needed.
Thermal calculations are widely used in electronics design and are carried out at several Etteplan offices. Simulated thermal distributions or CFD pressure loads can be used in structural simulations or other engineering analyses. If needed to thermal stresses, displacements and component life-span can be easily estimated.
Internet of things (IoT) and wireless measurements in general can provide a wealth of measurement data for CFD and thermal simulations. Measurements allow us to validate the model and gain increased simulation accuracy. It is also possible to add automation to the CFD simulation and make time-dependent simulations which are able to provide system specific (e.g. system response lag and amplification) variables.
“Since our engineers have extensive modelling experience, we can quickly get a grasp of the customer’s opportunities by working with CFD. Thanks to our long track record of successful assignments, we know which parameters are critical for the outcome, underlines Pöllänen.
Reduced prototype costs
The direct benefits of CFD come mainly from reduced unit and operating cost and reduced costs for prototyping and measurement. However, the benefits of CFD go beyond the actual models and calculations. Apart from serving the engineers with more precise calculations and simulations, CFD also provides technical performance charts, design optimization, excellent marketing material for external as well as internal presentations, and 3D-digital prints of the results which can be viewed with free software.