Posts Tagged ‘CFD’

11 March, 2014

I’d like to think of myself as a pretty competent person – throw a problem at me, I’ll find a solution for it. Case in point. Last week I noticed some cracks suddenly appearing in the kitchen walls and ceiling. The kitchen sits directly underneath the bathroom. The cracks looked like they were appearing where the bathtub was located and they felt damp. Doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to deduce this one… the sealant around the bathtub in the shower was failing.

I don’t know about your patch of the woods but finding anyone to fix anything in Surrey is pretty much impossible. All the construction folks are busy fixing the damage wreaked by the recent floods. I could ask a friend but felt rather embarrassed to admit that I had never done this – there was always a guy in my life who attended to such matters … my father, a landlord, or ex-husband. Being an emancipated woman I decided to face this challenge head on. After all, I have mastered the art of dispatching spiders without screaming (well, it’s now more of a whimper but at least my neighbors don’t call to make sure I’m ok), topping the pressure in my tires and even assembling lots and lots of flat-packed furniture on my own without killing myself in the process. Yes, I can… that’s my motto. So like any self-respecting newbie I started my research. After watching a few videos on youtube I headed out to my local DIY store. I hunted the various bits and bobs and reserved last Saturday for my latest adventure.

After breakfast on Saturday morning I put on my “working” clothes and tucked straight in. After a bit of to’ing and fro’ing and a whole lot of chin scratching I managed to seal around the bathtub.  It doesn’t look perfect and I’m sure the next time I’ll do a much better job of it but in the process of doing the task I realized that I needed a master list of things to do when sealing a bathtub … a how to guide. For example, the back of a wet soapy teaspoon is much more effective for smoothing out the sealant than the gadget I bought for £3 ($5). Or fill the bathtub with water and then seal around it. This way the sealant will be at its most expanded state but do not, and I repeat, do not sit down to get a better angle on smoothing out the sealant while standing in the bath tub because you’ll get wet. Yup rookie error but you betcha I won’t make that mistake again.

Now wouldn’t it be nice if someone were to create a series of practical “how to guides” for engineers? Well, search no more because (drum roll), our panel of experts have just published a series of whitepapers to help guide engineers new to the world of thermal simulation (or even not so new but needing a refresher). Please feel free to download and read any of these free whitepapers:

11 Top Tips for Energy-Efficient Data Center Design and Operation… A High-Level ‘How To’ Guide
12 Key Considerations in Enclosure Thermal Design – a High-Level “How to” Guide
10 Tips for Streamlining PCB Thermal Design – a High-Level “How to Guide”
10 Tips for Predicting Component Temperatures – a High-Level “How to Guide” 

Mentor Mechanical solutions apply at every stage. Image courtesy of Mentor Graphics. All rights reserved.

Mentor Mechanical solutions apply at every stage. Image courtesy of Mentor Graphics. All rights reserved.

The titles are all pretty self-explanatory and yes I could have listed them in numerical order but at Mentor Mechanical we advocate an enclosure down to the component-level simulation philosophy and if you really think about it a data center is just a massive enclosure hence the topsy turvy listing. So you see, there is method to my madness … not all the time but most of the time :-)

I really hope you enjoy reading these papers and I’d like to thank our panel of experts who wrote and contributed to these whitepapers – Drs Parry, Bornoff, Clark and Manning as well as Mr Blackmore. Talk about a thermal simulation dream team!
Until next time,


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3 January, 2014

Sharon, one of my friends, jokingly (but with a sinister tone in her voice) calls me the List Maker. And it’s true. Somehow making lists and crossing out items makes me feel a bit more in control of my life where the only theme is constant change. On the first day of my Christmas vacation I made a list of everything that I needed to do around the house… stuff that is time-consuming and requires more than one rainy weekend to do (because we all know good weather weekends are for hiking). One of those items was painting the bathroom. Now I don’t know if you’ve ever attempted to do any painting on your own (or decorating as it’s referred to here) but there’s a lot of prep work that needs to be done such as filling in cracks and masking the woodwork. Doing prep work doesn’t require a lot of brain power so my brain was left to wander about the year that was and the year that was coming.

Learning from the school of life. Image courtesy of Microsoft Clipart. All rights reserved.

2013 was a year of learning for me. Some of the lessons helped me grow as a professional, some as an individual but most of them made me realize that even at my age I’m still work in progress.

My top 5 lessons learned:

Flying is magic which is why it’s safe to keep your electronics on when landing in the States but not so safe when landing in Europe
A couple of years ago I wrote a post about how electronic gadgets were the nemesis of avionics. We have all asked the same question. Why do we need to turn off our gadgets during take-off and landing but it’s ok to keep them on while we are flying? No one has really offered a plausible explanation unless you count the one offered by the poor flight attendant on a video clip titled “why can’t you use phones on planes”. The basic premise of the video is that the flight attendant asks people on the plane to put their stuff away in preparation for take-off. A passenger asks why and that starts a flood of questions by other passengers. The questions continue to poke more holes in the flight attendant’s answers until the she loses it and says that no one knows why and that flying is magic. Well, that explains it! I’ve always liked the magic theory but flying back to the UK in mid-December I learned that –

  • It’s safe to keep your electronic devices on at all times while flying and landing in the US; but
  • It’s not safe to keep your electronic devices on when landing in the UK.

Lesson learned – I’m pretty sure that Europe doesn’t subscribe to the “magic” theory … it’s just that their aviation rules haven’t quite synchronized with their American counterparts yet. But sometimes it takes far too long for rules and regulations to catch up with science.

Simple doesn’t mean dumb
No siree… in fact, sometimes, it’s even more elegant than the most complicated ideas. I’m referring to the Moser lamp which is a mini skylight conceived from a plastic bottle, bleach, water, resin and a lot of sunshine.  The Moser lamp has brought light into many homes for little or no cost. Lesson learned – not all good ideas need to be complicated – sometimes all you need is a bit of engineering know-how which is why when the zombie apocalypse happens, I want to hang out with the engineers :-)

CFD can prove or disprove urban myths
There are a lot of viral videos making the rounds… some silly and some that make you go hmm. When it started getting cold here a rather interesting video went viral. The video proclaimed that you can heat a room with 4 tea-lights and two ordinary flower pots. Thanks to the ever increasing cost of heating a home in England, who wouldn’t want to know whether that’s true? After all, you can buy a handful of tea-lights for only a couple of pounds and everyone has got flower pots lurking in the shed. Thankfully one of my colleagues, Robin Bornoff, decided to look at this video with an engineer’s eye. And he wrote a series of great blog posts about heating your room for 8 pence a day (or 13 cents depending on the exchange rate). Considering that I live in a drafty old Victorian I was more than curious to see whether it was possible to do this. If you have come across the video too, then you should read Robin’s series by following this link.  Lesson learned – CFD isn’t just for testing super complicated products. It can even be used to check out urban myths!

CFD can help you with your cooking
Yup. Cooking. It’s been a few years since I’ve had to cook a whole turkey but I couldn’t avoid it this year. On Boxing Day (December 26th) a couple of my American friends who are also here without family came over so we could celebrate Christmas together (we couldn’t actually celebrate on Christmas because trains and buses weren’t running). Anyway, it’s a good thing that I had read Travis Mikjaniec’s blog on how to cook the best turkey well before putting the “beast” in the oven. The two major sins of cooking turkey are: not cooking the bird enough which could make you seriously sick or overcooking it which would mean that your guests would politely have to drown their turkey in copious amounts of gravy to make it semi-edible. Lesson learned – Based on Travis’ findings, I made sure to turn the turkey around a couple of times to allow for the uneven air flow in the oven. I ended up with a very tasty dinner (they even had seconds) and I didn’t even have to drive my friends to the emergency room. Unfortunately I still need to work on the “quantity” portion of the puzzle as I still have so much turkey left over that I’ll be eating turkey well into January and perhaps even February.

I’m not as tall as I think I am
I know, hard to believe. On a good day and when my hair behaves I’m just a nudge under 5’6 (when my hair doesn’t behave I clear 5’8 easy ;-)). On this cold December day when I started to paint the bathroom I realized that my 5’6 frame on a regular-sized ladder is just not tall enough to paint the edges where the ceiling meets the walls. I tried a few tricks but short of buying a very tall ladder and risking an injury I’m not well suited to the task. The realization that I’m too short was a bitter pill to swallow because I’ve painted so many rooms in my day. It seems that even though my previous houses had high ceilings, the ceilings in this house are freakishly high. Once reality set in, I continued to paint the areas that I could and decided to leave the rest to the professionals.  Lesson learned –I need to focus on what I do best and rely on others to deliver the rest. This is especially funny because it’s what I do at work every day so why am I not doing it in my personal life? (facepalm).

I learned a lot of other lessons but I think I’ll stop here because there’s a lot more to learn. I have the privilege of working with some very talented folks both inside and outside Mentor and I truly enjoy learning new things from them. So I wish you all a fantastic 2014 – another year to learn more from one another and to practice what we learned in the years past.

Until next time,

13 November, 2013

In this day and age where products come and go in a flash it is a great honor to be involved with something that has successfully passed several major milestones.
Twenty-five years ago, Flomerics opened its doors and FloTHERM moved from being a glimmer in the minds of Drs. Rosten and Thatchell to something real. The team of idealists had very definite thoughts when they sat down to create FloTHERM. They wanted to create something special. And that they did.

Almost a year after setting up the company, the team shipped FloTHERM to its customers. True to the founding fathers’ design, FloTHERM was the first in many areas:

•    the first CFD solution developed specifically for electronics thermal design
•    the first CFD solution that used non-CFD terms such as vents
•    the first CFD solution that could be used by thermal design engineers as opposed to expert analysts

And 24 years on, FloTHERM is still the de facto standard in the industry for electronics cooling simulation.

We started celebrating all things FloTHERM with a team lunch a couple of months ago. During our get-together we heard some great stories about the early days and our product managers shared some tidbits of information about the future. I don’t want to spill any beans but it is safe to say that while many folks would be happy to rest on their laurels, this team is not. Far from it. And I’m really proud to call these guys my colleagues (even though they can be very mischievous and pull my leg from time to time but I’m getting wise to their ways :-)).

The original gang reunited (image courtesy of Mentor Graphics).

After lunch our attention turned to a gorgeous cake (see below) which was baked and decorated by yet another colleague – Natasha. She had spent hours looking at pictures of PCB boards in order to create realistic decorations.  It contained 3 kilos (about 6 pounds) of chocolate and I won’t lie. Each slice was a divine piece of chocolaty goodness. As with all things “technical” the guys at my table started discussing the design of the cake. The discussion moved to Facebook later that day and ended when one person asked about the thermal impedance of the cake. After exchanging a few thoughts another person decided to look into it. I only hope that he is working on answering that question as we live and breathe because it would make for a brilliant blog post.

Now that's a PCB design I can sink my teeth into (image courtesy of Mentor Graphics)

The celebrations kicked off a whole slew of FloTHERM related activities – everything from user meetings around the world to a site dedicated to celebrating the world of electronics, electronics cooling and of course FloTHERM. The site is full of goodies including videos and blog posts. There is something for everyone… whether you’ve been using FloTHERM from day 1 or you’re a newbie to the world of electronics cooling.  Personally I really enjoyed the snazzy pictures of the founders and the original development team – I tell ya, these guys haven’t aged a day but thankfully they have updated their style … well somewhat updated ;-).

And last but not least, the latest issue of the Engineering Edge includes an electronics related supplement named Electronics Thermal Simulation and Test: Past, Present and Future It really is a fascinating read.

I hope you enjoy visiting the site and reading the supplement as much as I did.

Until next time.

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25 October, 2013

You all know how gadget-mad I am, right? Well guess what’s got my senses buzzing today?

A mobile phone that you can build yourself from various components … something akin to a Lego phone and it’s called the Phoneblok.

A Dutch designer, Dave Hakkens, came up with the idea after he wanted to replace a single broken component in his mobile phone. When he was told that he couldn’t just replace the broken bit but had to replace a whole module he thought why? And that simple question quickly led him to think of the concept of a modular phone – a phone where you select the processing power, the size of the camera, the display…

How cool is that?

But (and there is always a big but) there may be a glitch. A lot of issues would have to be dealt with such as cost of manufacturing, the size of the enclosure, the weight of the phone and of course cooling! After all, how would Joe Average know where to put everything? I guess one way of making sure all goes to plan is that the assembly instructions would look something like an IKEA manual and they would include advice for best layout to optimize cooling (because as we all know heat is the nemesis of electronics). This blueprint would ideally be created after a few rounds of CFD simulations to account for the various design permutations. Mind you, this is probably not that big a deal for you folks but the rest of us mortals will definitely need advice if this thing is to go mainstream.

Anyway, if you’d like to read more about Phonebloks then please follow this link.  And Mr. Hakkens if you’re reading my blog post, then feel free to check our library of reference material for optimizing electronics cooling here – I am sure you’ll find lots of helpful material. In the meantime, I’m dreaming of what my future phone might look like.
Until next time,

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3 October, 2013

I recently read an article about the Soviet space shuttle program which I found absolutely fascinating. We all know about the rivalry between the Americans and the Russians during the cold war so nothing new there. But what I found fascinating was how the Russians made a series of assumptions about the American space shuttle program based on information gleamed from various sources. And unfortunately, they made a couple of wrong assumptions that ultimately led to the demise of their program. It is a gripping story of engineering, technology and politics in action and if you’d like to read it in its entirety please follow this link.

After I finished reading the article, I found myself deep in thought over what I had just read. How many times do I make assumptions about my projects? This must be what you guys go through on a daily basis. While I don’t have a crystal ball for communications, you have plenty of tools that can help you fill in the proverbial design holes. From CAD to FEA and CFD you have a veritable cornucopia of tools to help you minimize chances of making the wrong design assumptions.  And from the looks of it a large cross section of you use this technology religiously.

Which leads me to this – LifeCycle Insights and are conducting a survey and I would like to invite you to take part in it. The survey aims to understand the frequency and type of simulation used during concept design, detailed design and testing. It takes less than 15 minutes to complete. So would you be kind enough to grab a cup of coffee (or tea) and take part in the survey by clicking here? Ooh and it looks like you’ll get a free copy of the Engineering Manager’s Survival Guide eBook as a thank you for participating! I wonder if it applies to the world of marketing too :-)

Until next time,


13 August, 2013

My last blog post about trash cans on London streets turned out to be quite controversial.

It wasn’t my blog post that caused a furor but I guess a few other folks in London were on the same wavelength as me when they came across these bins. In case you missed my last post, here’s a quick summary. A company in England has tricked out a whole network of trash cans in London with LED displays that serve advertising. But these bins were also collecting and tracking information on folks who were walking by. This market demographic could then be used to sell more advertising to companies trying to reach their perfect consumer.

Anyway, yesterday the City of London, which is a corporation by the way (that was a new one to me), asked the company behind these trash cans to stop tracking people. The BBC has done a wonderful job of covering the news so if you’d like to read the story firsthand here’s a link.  I guess we’re not quite ready for a brave new world after all.

While I was wondering whether I should update my previous blog post or not, I came across another story that also dealt with lighting but from a completely different angle.  So I thought a lighting inspired post would be very appropriate indeed.

Image courtesy of Microsoft clipart. All rights reserved.

And that brings me to Mr. Alfredo Moser, a Brazilian mechanic. Mr. Moser has come up with a low tech method of lighting his house during the day due to chronic power outages in his neighborhood. The “Moser lamp” is a mini skylight and consists of a plastic bottle, some bleach, water, a bit of polyester resin and a lot of sunlight. The solution is so elegant in its simplicity that one has no option but to sit back and marvel. And the beautiful thing is that Mr. Moser has shared his technique with everyone for … free. Apparently 140,000 homes in the Philippines are using the Moser lamp and 15 countries have adopted it as well. And it certainly looks like this is just the beginning. If you haven’t come across the Moser lamp, then you really need to read this article.

When I finished reading the article I sat there with a smile. Now that is not only a green idea but it packs in quite a good return on investment (ROI) too! It goes to show you that often the best ideas are the simplest ones. All you need is inspiration.

If only all ideas were this simple. But for the ones that are not it’s a good thing that we’ve got tools such as CFD to help engineers dream up some wonderfully complicated products.

Here’s to all the dreamers and engineers of the world lighting our way to brighter futures.
Until next time,


25 March, 2013

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…

FloTHERM XT as the enabling technology in the EDA/MDA design flow.

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.

FloTHERM XT can be used for many electronics cooling applications in a wide range of industries.

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….

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11 December, 2012

I’ve never really been a fan of the color pink. If you look thru my childhood pictures you’ll find me wearing pink clothes (chosen by my lovely mom) but in every one of those pictures you also find my head slightly dipped down, defiantly looking into the camera and pouting. Not a happy bunny. As soon as I was old enough to make my own decisions regarding clothes, pink was banished from my wardrobe. I don’t think I’m the only one of my gender who doesn’t like pink. A quick survey of my friends (and I made sure to have a sampling of engineers and the artsy types) showed that only a small handful were actually fans of the color.

Why am I talking about pink? Because all of a sudden pink has become the new black and is all the rage for products targeting women this year. The most notable product introduced this year was a car designed specifically for women which comes in not only pastel pink but also brown and white. And a few days after that announcement, I saw another one for a laptop which again comes in soft pastel colors and was designed to be opened without chipping women’s nail-polish (funny enough when I mentioned this to one of the engineers at work, he said surely we have that already… they’re called tablet PCs. Can’t argue with logic, eh?).

One product designed for women in pastel colors is an aberration. Two introduced during the same week is the beginnings of a trend.

Image courtesy of Microsoft clipart.

Apparently I wasn’t the only person to notice this trend. During the same week I found an amazing article on the BBC website. The author mentioned that the term “shrink it and pink it” is something that is used in the design industry quite often. Whenever some companies want to breathe life into a brand or product, they take the gadget which was originally introduced to the market in a manly color of black or silver and they make it smaller to fit a woman’s smaller hands and manufacture it in a color that appeals to us – most often in pink or a pastel color. A trip to your local mobile phone shop in London will confirm this.  There is always one handset in pink and another one festooned in rhinestones (apparently we like our gadgets pink and with a bit of bling).


I don’t think I’m the only woman who believes color is not the only decision criteria for a gadget purchase – be it a car, a PC or a mobile phone. I also do not dismiss a gadget because it might destroy my manicure.  I, like my male counterparts, buy products because they have features/ and capabilities that I want /need. Quite frankly I find this design process lazy. Instead of breathing new life into their products with new features/functionality, companies are simply dismissing the female market by “shrinking and pinking” products. I think I read somewhere that 90% of the purchasing decision for cars is made by women. Sure some women care about the number of cup holders, the size of the glove compartment or the color of the car but surely we, the female of the species, are also concerned with MPG, top speed and handling too.

Adding new features and functionality cost effectively is easy with the aide of MCAE and simulation. You can create your new designs and test them right there and then with CAD embedded simulation – there are now many simulation products that are directly embedded into CAD such as FloEFD. The beauty of this type of simulation is that you can do it immediately yourself and quickly dismiss the design ideas that do not fit your design spec. And because CAD-embedded simulation pays for itself quickly (in terms of saving £$€ on physical testing), the ROI can be achieved quite quickly. So when you’re looking into breathing new life into your products please don’t just shrink it and pink it. I know everyone thinks that a woman’s mind is a thing of mystery. But I’ll let you in on a secret. Most women are no different than men when it comes to selecting cars or gadgets. You may even be surprised to learn that sometimes we want exactly the same things that men do.
Until next time.

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24 September, 2012

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.

Image courtesy of Microsoft Cliparts. All rights reserved.

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 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,

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6 September, 2012

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!

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