Archive for Nazita Saye
CFD doesn’t mean Color For Directors
I don’t know about you but I read. A lot… It’s almost as if I’ve got an unquenchable thirst for information.
It all started when I was 6 during a school break. I was bored and pestered my mom one too many times. In those pre-Nintendo days, she unceremoniously dumped me in my father’s study and told me to read a book. I couldn’t reach most of the books on the shelves but my oldest sister had left her copy of Mary Poppins on a side table so I started reading it. I read that book so many times that by the end of summer it was in tatters much to the annoyance of my sister. During subsequent summers I moved from Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn to some rather heavy books such as Les Miserables. Thinking back I’m sure most of the heavy themes went way above my head but I was hooked. Thanks mom
Now I read newspapers, magazines, books and blogs relating to world politics, the economy and the environment. And since I’m not an engineer but work with them I tend to read a lot of engineering related information simply because it helps me to do my job better.
That’s why I was so pleased to see a new initiative from my division – a publication called the Engineering Edge. It’s a quarterly magazine full of interesting and educational material relating to fluid flow simulation. In the latest issue you can learn about thermal simulation in the automotive industry, sports engineering and even cow bones in space! To read the latest issue simply follow this link and if you like what you see then subscribe to receive the publication. It’s really fast, easy AND free.
I’m grabbing my issue and will find a sunny spot to read it – for once we are expecting a sunny 3-day weekend and I am planning on doing a fair bit of hiking, laughing with friends and catching up with some reading when I’m too tired to do anything else.
Until next time,
You all know what a chatterbox I can be when I’m excited about something. So believe you me when I say the past few months have been excruciatingly hard for me. I’ve been sitting on some pretty big news and I’ve been itching to tell the world all about it. Now that the cat is officially out of the bag, there’s no holding me back…
The news I’m referring to is the announcement of our latest new product, FloTHERM XT. We officially announced the product last week but I’m just coming out from under the avalanche of emails and meetings post announcement to have a quick informal chat with you about it. For those of you who haven’t heard the news (and I can’t imagine there being many) FloTHERM XT is the coolest electronics cooling simulation solution to be introduced to the world in a long time. Like its sister product FloTHERM, FloTHERM XT is a specialized product – designed for use by the design engineer and the analyst who wants to optimize cooling of their electronics. What is really neat about FloTHERM XT is that it has also been designed to be used earlier in the design process – from concept through to verification and prototyping. So it brings the EDA and MDA (mechanical design analysis) flows closer so engineers can use the same design data throughout the design flow to create an even better design.
Leveraging the electronics cooling DNA from FloTHERM and the CFD technology from FloEFD, FloTHERM XT can make light work of solving complex electronics cooling problems. It also supports direct interfaces with all major MCAD software as well as Expedition Enterprise EDA software so you can import data when you need it, from where you need it. By bringing the two flows together, FloTHERM XT makes it possible to reduce the number of late-in-process errors. And it lets you quickly validate each design thereby enabling you to do more “what –ifs” to identify the best possible design … faster.
Now I know I’m biased but I’ve also been in the CAE business for quite some time so it takes a lot to impress me. The first time I saw this product I congratulated the development team for creating such an elegant product. And yes I mean elegant. Because FloTHERM XT is such a radically cool product, we couldn’t just use the written word to describe it. So we created a short 7 minute video that beautifully describes the MDA/EDA design flow. To watch the video, simply follow this link. And if we’ve piqued your interest and you’d like to know more about how FloTHERM XT can improve your design flow then please attend this free online presentation on May 8th. The presenter Ian Clark is the Product Manager for FloTHERM XT and he has been intimately involved in the design and delivery of this product so he is the best person to tell you more about it.
The electronics cooling simulation market just got hotter. And I like it.
But some people can’t handle the heat so they’ve started some rather silly rumors. So let me dispel them for you. FloTHERM XT does not replace FloTHERM. These two products each have a vibrant product roadmap and will continue to sit beautifully alongside one another in the design process flow because they each satisfy a different need in the electronics cooling simulation market. And anyone who tells you otherwise is telling you a big fat boldfaced lie!
Until next time,
PS. Unlike the electronics cooling simulation market, temperatures in England remain unreasonably low (notice I didn’t say unseasonably… it’s unreasonable that we get snow in the spring especially since we’ve been experiencing winter weather since oh last October?). Brrrrr….
A few months ago one of my colleagues showed me a picture of the Jaguar F-Type. In case you haven’t heard, it’s the newest model and their return to the 2-seater luxury market. I love Jaguar cars but I never felt old enough to drive one. Until I saw a picture of the F-Type. This beast is a thing of beauty.
So when three weeks ago the same colleague told me that a car magazine was looking for a handful of folks to attend a preview event I threw my name in the hat thinking that my chances were worse than an ice cube in the middle of the Sahara desert. So imagine my surprise when within 15 minutes I got confirmation of my selection! I really should have bought a lottery ticket that day too. Never mind. I requested a day’s leave and started counting the days. The drive up to the meeting location, Castle Bromwich near Birmingham, was about 125 miles from my place and on a good day with a stiff wind behind you the journey would take about 2 hours. Being very keen I allowed for 3 hours… you just never know here. I got there in 2 hours 45 thanks to the M3 being shut down on the day. But I still got there – wild horses couldn’t have kept me away.
When I arrived I was greeted by 9 other fans. The ice was broken when the guys started talking about their cars … we had some Jag owners, a few Porsches, and a Mercedes and then there was me with my Mini. After the laughter died down, a couple admitted to having Minis in their garages _as well_. The lovely folks at Jaguar took us on a factory tour – since the F-Type is still not production ready, we got the XF factory tour. Each car takes a total of 48 hours to be built and once it rolls off the assembly line it goes through another 4 hours of testing. What really amazed me was the amount of electronics in each car (I assume that is the case for most cars nowadays). I think our guide mentioned that each car had 1.5 miles worth of cables in it.
We then were taken back to the briefing center for a delicious lunch and finally were guided to the unveiling room. At this point we are all buzzing with excitement. We had had glimpses of the F-Type as we were being driven around the grounds but now was our chance to see it in the flesh so to speak. Ian Callum, the legend behind the gorgeous Aston Martin cars and now with Jaguar, was on hand for the unveiling and shared a few stories about how his team designed this beautiful car. It was clear that he lived and breathed design … it’s lovely to meet folks who have so much passion for what they do. It is truly inspiring. Anyway, he mentioned how he was keen on having the hood (bonnet) curve at a certain angle but the engine was in the way. If I remember my numbers correctly, it took the design and the engineering teams about 3 months to lower the engine 13 mm to accommodate the curve. I can’t even imagine how much that effort had cost the company but when you see the car you understand that it was worth every one of those hours.
We also got to meet Ian Hoban, the product director responsible for taking Mr. Callum’s design and making it a reality. He mentioned that this car was a product of 4+ years of his life. After I got a chance to sit in the car and play with the gadgets, I had a quick chat with Mr. Hoban. I sheepishly said I never thought I was old enough to drive a Jaguar and that the F-Type is the first Jag that I’d see myself driving. He looked at me with a sparkle in his eyes and said then he’s accomplished his goal.
I know this post has nothing to do with ROI or CFD. But it has everything to do with my admiration of engineers and the effort it takes to build pretty much anything. You sweat the details for years and I as the consumer get to enjoy the end product never knowing your sweat equity. While I didn’t get a chance to actually drive the car (none of us were allowed since the car is preproduction) they did bring over a road-ready V8 and let us listen to the engine growl (yes it doesn’t purr, it growls). I so look forward to seeing/hearing it out on the road and one day, yes one day, I will own one. In the meantime, thanks Jaguar engineers for giving me something really nice to daydream about.
Until next time,
Tags: design engineer
When I used to work in San Francisco, I had a lovely office. My window had a breath taking view of the Bay Bridge (this is while the Gap HQ building was under construction so I had a completely unhindered view of the bridge and the bay). One day I was sitting at my desk when I noticed something moving fast out of the corner of my eye. I looked up from my screen to see the magnificent Blue Angels announcing their arrival in San Francisco by flying over and under the Bay Bridge. They were beyond magnificent and gave us all a free show – whetting our appetites for what was to come that weekend … a full on aerial display.
The Blue Angels have always had a special place in my heart and I can’t help but grin like a small child whenever I see them. Now before I make my colleagues too upset, I do admit that the Red Arrows are not so deeply bad either and I wonder if we’ve ever had a fly-off between the two… now wouldn’t that be 10 kinds of awesome?
Whenever I see fighter planes a part of my brain also thinks about their raison d’être and the fact that when these planes go out on missions, sometimes they may need to be refueled in flight. I’m sure this opens a whole can of worms for the engineers designing the various pieces of equipment needed for this accomplishment. So imagine my surprise when I recently came across an article about this topic. In the article titled Flow Analysis of an Air-to-Air Refueling System published in Aerospace Engineering (Oct 24, 2012), John Isaac, writes about the challenges facing the engineers involved in designing air-to-air refueling systems.
According to Mr. Isaac, solving this refueling system would require that the system designed meet three major specifications –
1) Can the system deliver fuel at an acceptable rate to the receiving aircraft?
2) Can the system deliver fuel at an even rate?
3) Can the system handle a rapid disengagement of the plane from the tanker without causing excessive pressure surge (which can damage the system)?
Turns out CFD simulation is a great tool for answering these questions and more. Since I don’t want to duplicate the good work of Mr. Isaac, I thought you may find reading the actual article more interesting. So please feel free to follow this link to the original article. I hope you too find the article interesting.
Until next time,
I was reading an article in City A.M a while back – a freebie newspaper containing banking and business news and distributed to those lucky souls in London who take public transport. On this wet and cold morning no one was interested in taking a copy so as I walked by the guy handing them out, I stuck out my hand. I wasn’t expecting much but it was better than staring into nothingness (as you do on public transport in London because eye contact with your fellow passengers is to be avoided at all cost). I quickly thumbed thru the usual stories about one company or another that had merged or acquired another company. Then I came across an article by Marc Sidwell who is the managing editor of the said newspaper. I loved what he had to say about the Paralympics. I am now paraphrasing but effectively he said that by using all the available technology available to them engineers have been able to design better equipment for Paralympians who can then be faster and stronger. And by providing them access to the best equipment, engineers have enabled the athletes to liberate their human potential.
I think Mr. Sidwell’s editorial really hit it home for me because a few pages earlier I had read an interview with the new CEO of Dyson – Michael Bow. Dyson is one of those inspiring companies that got its start by taking a ho-hum product and market and slap it upside the head – ok I know vacuum cleaners are not something you write home about but Dyson made vacuum cleaners (or as they say hoovers on this side of the pond) cooler than a very cool thing on a balmy summer’s day.
Mr. Bow believes that companies need to invest more in R&D and to encourage risk taking in their engineers and designers. Apparently he practices what he preaches. Under his leadership, the company has reported record profits (profits have grown 30%) while their investment in R&D has increased from £45M to £59M – a very aggressive investment in their future. Unfortunately he has a resource problem – not materials, but human resources. In order for Dyson to continue innovating, they need a steady supply of engineers but according to the same article, the UK “produces only about half the engineers of say Mexico”; therefore, I suspect finding enough talented candidates may be a challenge for them. Now this is a dilemma and a half – without a steady stream of qualified engineers ready to innovate, the company may not be able to sustain its envious position in the market.
Reading these two articles in the space of 15 minutes got me thinking. It really is a crying shame that fewer kids decide to follow the path of engineering in England (I suspect this trend is the same in North America as well). Despite this trend, I personally don’t think the shrinking numbers should be a stumbling block for any manufacturer in the short term because those few who are entering the workforce are taught to use state of the art tools at school – from CAD to CAE and rapid prototyping. As a result, by the time they enter the workforce they hit the floor running. Therefore, their level of innovation hasn’t suffered because they can do more in a shorter period of time. And risk-taking has become more acceptable (I know many engineers by nature may even be risk averse). For example, simulation makes it easy to conduct multiple what-if tests to find the best possible design. As a result, you can take as many design risks as you like because you can test virtual prototypes and only advance the best of the best to the next step.
So even though this lack of engineering talent may mean that we may not have cooler and cooler vacuum cleaners or gadgets in the future, somewhere in the back of my mind I also think that fewer engineers means fewer opportunities for finding the next big thing that would further liberate human potential – whether it is to help Paralympians shatter new records or to help create prosthetic hands that help someone who’s lost his/her arm to hold his or her child. And wouldn’t that be a shame?
Until next time,
When was the last time someone asked for your opinion at work? I don’t mean “where should we go for lunch” type of question. I mean the type where someone really wants to know what you think about something. Being a talkative and opinionated sort, whenever someone asks me a question I’m perfectly happy answering them. Most of the time when this question is posed to me it’s about projects but sometimes the bosses want to know my opinion so I tell them the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. And you know what? When they listen to what I’ve got to say then I stand a bit taller – they may not agree with what I’ve got to say every time but the fact that they asked my opinion and listened to what I had to say feels pretty good.
Chad Jackson, from engineering.com is running a survey on measuring the value of simulation. As a vendor, I’ve stood on my soap box plenty of time extoling the virtues of simulation. From my conversations with the engineer-at-large I know some of you agree and some disagree. That’s all good – a discussion on all subjects is not only healthy but should be encouraged. So here’s your chance to tell the world what you really think. To participate in this short survey, please follow this link . And in case you’re worried, this is an anonymous survey and takes only a couple of minutes to complete so I really hope that you participate.
Until next time,
Saturday lulled me into a false sense of security. The weather was absolutely gorgeous and for once in a long time I wasn’t out hiking. I thought that’s fine… there’s always tomorrow. Then bam on Sunday the rain came … the monsoon kind of rain. It reminded me of a quick conversation I had with a German friend of mine over the summer. He quipped that if rain were an Olympic event, GB would win Gold, Silver and Bronze.
So as I gaze out the window now I see that the rain is back good and proper – it hasn’t stopped raining in 24 hours. I can hear the water cascade down the side of the building (it’s not the nice gentle pitter patter of raindrops but more like a waterfall… incessant in its presence and demanding your attention). In England, the ever present rain thru the fall and winter months becomes a backdrop to your life. For example, my friends don’t stop hiking just because of a bit of moisture in the air and a bit of mud on the ground. They venture forth and have sworn to drag along this fair-weather hiker kicking and screaming. Gulp! I guess I’ll need some waterproof kit. After all, if you were to wait for good weather to show up in England you’d never do anything.
This weather reminds me of the state of world economy. It’s gloomy, wet and cold. Most companies don’t want to do anything aside from batten down the hatches and hold out until they see a glimmer of sun or good weather. In the meantime, life still goes on. And if they want to survive, they still have to produce goods and sell them to an equally grumpy consumer. So I always wonder about how companies ride out these blips in the economy.
So when I ran into Chad Jackson’s blog Engineering Matters I was really intrigued. In case you haven’t met Chad (there are very few folks who haven’t in this industry), then you should really look him up. He has been in the industry for 15+ years and has extensive knowledge of the inner workings of the PLM industry as an analyst. Chad just joined the team at engineering.com as the managing editor of the Design Software micro blog – BTW I highly recommend this site to all engineers. It’s informative, it’s no nonsense and the guys have a cracking sense of humor so the stuff you find there will actually be informative and entertaining. And Chad deals with a lot of these big picture issues. Anyway, Chad will be presenting an on-demand presentation on a topic very near and dear to my heart: Hand-tied to Profitability – Conducting CFD During Product Development in a Tough Economy. The 45-minute presentation will take place on October 16 and is bound to be a good spend of time. To read more information or to register, just follow this link. After all, which one of us doesn’t have to prove ROI whenever we want to invest in a new tool (or renew the license for your current solution) especially in this economy?
I for one will be logging in to watch this on-demand presentation to get some pointers on how to “waterproof” my “design kit” to deal with this economy. Hope to see you there too!
Until next time,
I live in a 3D world –3D simulation that is. I remember when my work life went from 2D to 3D. I used to sit in a cubicle across from a software developer who specialized in graphics. He was a pesky lad. Whenever he’d get stuck on a particularly difficult piece of code he would throw missiles of all kinds at me – anything from crumpled pieces of paper to rubber bands and paper clips. I don’t know why I was blessed with this treatment but ignoring him would only result in more missiles being launched at me at a more frequent rate so my only option was to throw them back at him. Before you’d know it we’d be in the middle of a war involving a few other cubes. On this day he had been particularly quiet – a bit too quiet. At the end of the day he leaned into my cube, made an exaggerated point at his screen and coolly said “this stuff is in 3D man” in his thickest California surfer dude accent. And that’s how my marketing world went from 2D to glorious 3D images and animations.
All fluid flow problems are 3D so it’s natural that we would like to solve flow problems in 3D as well. But 3D simulation has a cost – depending on the size of the model and its complexity simulation can take a long time (especially if you use a traditional CFD code).
So imagine my surprise when I heard about 1D CFD. I first became aware of 1D CFD when my division acquired a company called Flowmaster. Flowmaster provides 1D software for the simulation of thermo-fluid systems. 1D CFD can be the ideal solution for solving a wide range of system-level problems such as those encountered in liquid or gas systems ie piping networks of any size or complexity. Engineers can quickly try out variations of the system design, see the impact on the entire system and ultimately find a reliable and optimized design.
Having lived in a 3D CFD world for quite a few years, the first thing that popped into my head was which one is better?
The correct answer is depends on your problem. Both 1D and 3D CFD let engineers improve their understanding of fluid flow and engineering designs and lots of companies use both to improve product and system design. But they each have strengths that make them a better fit for solving different types of problems. For designing complex systems 3D CFD is extremely accurate but it can be “computationally expensive” especially if you have a large/complex model. 1D CFD on the other hand offers a faster solution speed; however, it requires a lot of data to characterize the 3D elements of a system accurately.
Rarely do systems or components exist on their own… usually a system consists of a series of components. So wouldn’t it be great if we could harness the power of 3D and use 1D CFD to solve large system problems. Well, that brings us to why we acquired Flowmaster. Thanks to this acquisition, we now provide a tightly coupled general-purpose 3D-1D CFD simulation software solution. With this combination, engineers can characterize the more complex elements of the system in 3D and then insert those models and data into the 1D system-level simulation. Here’s a snapshot of the process. Design engineers run the analysis on components in FloEFD, save the results, and open the saved files containing the needed data in Flowmaster for analysis of the entire system.
Why is this unique? Because this is the first 3D-1D solution that can actually be deployed straight from the box without any customization and translation of data. And that means you can start becoming productive faster and achieve a return on your investment (ROI) faster. By exchanging data between the two simulation tools until convergence is reached for both the 1D and the 3D models we get better boundary values and more accurate system behavior. So in this case 3 plus 1 equals to a lot more than 4 – it results in a much better system-level design than ever thought possible without breaking the bank. This combination can be used in many applications involving complex heat transfer or geometry. And quite clearly this new coupled solution has captured the imagination of the engineering community judging by the amount of press it has gotten lately around the world.
So. Which one is better? The answer is they’re each great on their own but together they offer you an even better solution.
Until next time,
PS. I did manage to get Paralympic cycling tickets at the last minute and had the most awe-inspiring 3 hours of my life at the Velodrome (affectionately called the Pringle because of the shape of the building). 6000 of my closest friends and I watched as Team USA won a silver and a bronze and Team GB won a gold and a silver. I of course cheered everyone heartily (much to the delight of the people sitting next to me who decided to join in). To sum up that day, it was magic!
I don’t know about you but last Saturday night I decided to stay in – I was only halfway done with my weekend but I was exhausted. The day before I had taken a vacation day and driven down to Weymouth to watch Olympic sailing and got up super early to drive back to London to do an 8-mile hike in Surrey. So the thought of going anywhere or doing anything too taxing was out of the question (especially since I had to get up early on Sunday for a 9-mile hike). So I vegged out in front of the TV.
Not a very exciting life (even I’m having a hard time suppressing my yawn) but considering that the best show on earth, the Olympics, had been on TV for days it really wasn’t too difficult of a choice. I grabbed a nice tall glass of iced-tea (I know blasphemy for my English friends) and parked myself in front of the TV. Then I watched history being made. Watching the American women’s team doing the 4×400 relay truly left me breathless. As they were waiting for the men’s race to start, the BBC announcers were reading the questions via tweets coming in from the public on aerodynamics. A lot of folks were interested in knowing whether Jason Richardson’s hair (he’s an American hurdles specialist) puts him at a disadvantage when he runs. For those of you who don’t know what he looks like here’s a link to his picture on another website. A lot of these types of questions were coming in and the announcers were desperate to hear from a specialist. Alas none came forward with an answer – at least nothing that made any sense in 140 characters or less.
Considering that I work with a few aerodynamics experts, I thought this sounds like an interesting discussion for the guys and gals back at the office.
When I brought up the question (via email) to my circle of experts, a flood of emails came in from around the world. The discussion quickly expanded to include cyclists as well as swimmers and body hair including mustaches and beards. We all had a good chuckle over male swimmers and cyclists shaving their legs. There seems to be a belief that the absence of hair on their legs makes them more aerodynamic. I haven’t seen any CFD analysis on this but I really can’t see how a bit of hair on your legs would affect performance. Most cyclists tell me they do it in case they get a road rash… being hair free makes it easier to clean the wound. Ok that sounds perfectly reasonable for cyclists but it doesn’t apply to swimmers. I suspect many of them do it for vanity as opposed to functional reasons especially now that most swimmers and divers seem to be wearing nothing larger than a tea towel.
Since I’d like to avoid this post degrading into a conversation about athletes and their uniforms, let’s get back to our original discussion. The most sensible response came from one of my colleagues in the States – Travis Mikjaniec. Some of you may already know him. He’s got his own blog and writes about some truly fascinating things – he most recently explored the aerodynamics of a badminton shuttlecock, a chopper bike, and a hockey puck. Needless to say Travis knows his stuff.
Anyway, we started by talking about facial hair most commonly found in the form of stubble (who hasn’t seen one of the guys on Tour de France with a 2- or 3-day growth). Because their faces form such a small area, he figures that facial hair may not make a significant impact for cyclists. As for swimmers, their head is out of the water quite often (depending on the stroke) so any hair on the face would be even less important. That’s cool because we don’t need to worry about analyzing all these permutations (as suggested by another colleague who said if I insist on doing this simulation then we’d probably have to keep all of these permutations in mind… absolutely fantastic!).
As to the question of measuring the impact of dreadlocks (in the case of Jason Richardson), Travis suggested that the best way would be to firstly characterize the flow resistance for different hair types (dreadlocks vs straight for example). Then once we had the data we could use it for simulation. I really would love to do this but the process would be a lengthy one and I’m not sure I can steal the resources away from other groups to do what would be a fun exercise. Of course if any of you have done this type of research before I’d love to hear from you.
In the meantime, I’m desperately trying to get tickets to Paralympic track cycling. I’ve had the privilege of watching the Olympics ladies road race, men’s time trials and sailing so I’m hoping with a bit of luck and a stiff wind behind me that I’d get the tickets to go cheer on a few more heroes from this little planet of ours.
Until next time,
PS. I had an absolute blast watching the sailing events. The venue was breathtakingly beautiful and it was lovely watching CFD up-close and personal yet again!
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