Don’t Mistake “Simple to Use CFD” for “Simple CFD”.

I should add a word or two to my previous blog – “CFD … Or Not CFD”.
What does all this mean for the CFD itself? Does the self-perception at Flomerics that “we are not a CFD company” mean that the CFD itself is less important or gets less attention? Absolutely not! Actually the opposite is the case. One of our fundamental requirements has always been that the software can be used effectively by users without any CFD knowledge or expertise. This then leads to some very special challenges associated with the CFD itself.

There was, I believe, a tendency among some other CFD practitioners, to dismiss Flomerics in the early days as “second-class CFD” or “Mickey Mouse CFD”. And much more recently a similar charge has been levelled at Nika’s EFD software. In both cases, I believe that the perception resulted from a tendency to mistake “simple to use CFD” for “simple CFD”. The two are absolutely not the same thing. Indeed, I would argue that it is more difficult in many ways to provide CFD that is simple and safe to use by non-CFD-specialists than to provide general-purpose CFD software for use by “experts”.

Admittedly “application specific” software such as FLOTHERM or FLOVENT only needs to address one class of problems – but it needs to do this extremely well. It must be possible for a user to define the problem, perform the computations, and interpret the results, with virtually no knowledge of the subtleties of CFD – convergence control, grid generation, treatment of turbulence, wall functions, etc. All of these things need to be, as far as possible, handled automatically – that is, the developer takes ownership of them, rather than expecting the user to do so.

Most importantly, the software must produce “good results” – meaning converged, and “accurate enough” (that is, providing the required engineering accuracy) – consistently and efficiently, with minimal reliance on the user’s input or CFD expertise.

All of this provides particular challenges for the developer of the software, and imposes software quality standards that make the creation of “application-specific” CFD software just as challenging in its way as developing advanced general-purpose CFD software.

So – don’t mistake “simple to use CFD” for “simple CFD”!

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Posted September 21st, 2009, by

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About David Tatchell’s Blog

Reflections on experiences and lessons learned during 40 years in the CFD business. Thoughts on the present state of the CFD industry and future trends, in the broader context of the CAE, CAD and EDA industries. David Tatchell’s Blog


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Commented on September 27, 2012 at 8:55 am
By “Why Cartesian Grids Are Good” « Robin Bornoff's blog

[…] David Tatchell succinctly described it in his blog – Don’t Mistake “Simple to Use CFD” for “Simple CFD”. Since the acquisition of Flomerics by Mentor Graphics in 2008 our CFD technology continues to […]

Commented on July 6, 2013 at 3:07 am
By CFD in 2013: what will change? what will not

[…] However, as pointed out by David Tatchell in 2009, simple-to-use CFD tools does not necessarily mean over simplified CFD  (Don’t Mistake “Simple to Use CFD” for “Simple CFD”). […]

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