Concurrent CFD Explained (Part III)

I’ve been getting some positive feedback on my previous posts on Concurrent CFD so I thought I’d continue with the thread. I’ve described traditional CFD, upfront CFD and concurrent CFD as very different entities – which they are, but I ought to point out that they represent the evolutionary spectrum of how the CFD technology itself has been packaged over the years.

Partly this change results from developments in other areas, like 3D CAD and PLM systems, and partly from improvements in the robustness and reliability of CFD to deliver useful solutions. Together these have allowed vendors the opportunity to package technologies together to deliver innovative products. Whereas they can be regarded as evolutionary in terms of how CFD technology is deployed, Concurrent CFD, upfront CFD and traditional CFD all have very different origins. Concurrent CFD can trace its origins back to the late 1990s and was inspired by the success of CAD-oriented structural analysis software such as COSMOS, Pro/Mechanica, etc, and by existing vertical easy-to-use CFD products for engineers, such as FloTHERM.

CAD-embedded CFD, or concurrent CFD, is made possible by 7 key technologies unique to FloEFD. These have been enhanced and refined over the years to the point where today we can truly claim that CFD analyses can be performed concurrently with design changes on the fly inside the CAD package. Today Concurrent CFD delivers the most fluent CFD process possible for product design. Next time I’ll go into more detail about the manual steps involved in upfront CFD that are either eliminated in Concurrent CFD or fully automated as a result of being CAD-embedded. For now though I thought I’d point out that it’s not just CFD vendors that are pointing to Concurrent CFD as the way forward. It’s a view shared by thought leaders in the mechanical CAD world. See for example the white paper “The New Competitive Edge: 3D Conceptual Design” by Blake Courter of SpaceClaim Corporation, which (quoting from the executive summary) ‘describes how emerging 3D modeling tools enable manufacturers to modernize their design through-manufacture process, resulting in improved innovation and cross-functional collaboration. The concept models developed with these 3D tools allow early-phase stakeholders, including concept engineers, analysts, and product stylists to converge on critical design decisions before detailed design takes place in production CAD systems, thereby mitigating costly design iterations.’

The figure on page 6 of the SpaceClaim report shows how the use of 3D modelling at the concept design stage reduces iteration loops and shrinks time to market. This is exactly where using concurrent CFD has the greatest impact, ensuring that the design’s flow and heat transfer performance are satisfactory before detailed production models are built and the design ‘solidifies’ making it much more expensive and time consuming to make significant design changes. I’ve recreated the slide below to show how FloEFD can be used concurrently with changes made to the CAD model right across the design process:


Concurrent CFD is democratizing CFD for the mechanical design community, so now any mechanical designer can analyse the flow and heat transfer behaviour of his or her design. Users of Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire can download a free trial version of FloEFD.Pro. Give it a try and then cast your vote!

Dr J, Hampton Court

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Posted January 21st, 2010, by

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About John Parry’s Blog

A mixed bag of things that interest me professionally -CFD technology and its use in education, cooling technologies and the place of thermal design in the overall design flow. John Parry’s Blog


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