Posts Tagged ‘air-cooled cooler’

21 May, 2012

I’m not a fan of soccer (urm I mean football). I’m more of a Rugby gal myself. But on Saturday I along with 100+ fans played sardines in a small  pub and jostled for the best viewing position in front of one of the handful of TVs to watch the European Cup game.  The pub erupted when England scored the winning penalty shot. I had not seen so many grown men scream, dance and cry with joy at the same time. The festive attitude spilled on to the streets, trains, tube and buses across London (and dare I say England?). We had just watched history being made. On that night, Chelsea achieved what many had thought was the impossible.

I like seeing the impossible made possible. I guess it’s because once you see footage of the moon landing, nothing seems out of reach. Obviously others thought the same thing. Looking back at my life I remember smiling with awe as a child when I saw a Concorde plane sitting on a runway at Heathrow as my plane inched by, as I watched footage of the first shuttle take off successfully and as I saw the news coverage of the peace accord between Egypt and Israel. Anything is possible.

And that’s something that the design engineering team at Bronswerk Heat Transfer clearly believes in.

Bronswerk Heat Transfer is very well known for their high-capacity air-cooled coolers that are widely used in the energy industry. The engineering team wanted to solve a rather hairy problem. Fans used inside a gas- or oil-field cooling system are large. They can be up to 33 ft in diameter. Depending on the application you may need a dozen or even hundreds of fans.  Aside from the energy consumption (to run these fans) you also need to worry about the noise pollution impact. Now the fans for these types of applications usually deliver a maximum efficiency of about 50%. So the million dollar question was – can efficiency be increased to 80% with less noise, less energy consumption and reduced operational cost?

The team decided to try a few new concepts and to use CFD to validate the results. The team at Bronswerk have been using the Creo Parametric (formerly Pro/ENGINEER) embedded CFD solution named FloEFD for a few years and trust the results. Mr. Guus Bertels, the Associate Director of Advanced Design and Analysis at Bronswerk had this to say about their use of CFD “over the past few years, we have used both CFD tools and physical measurements to characterize the behavior–particularly the aerodynamics–of large air-cooled cooling systems. We have learned that concurrent CFD often can produce data that would be impossible to acquire with measurements because of physical constraints, the Heisenberg principle and other factors.”

The amazing Whizz-Wheel. Image courtesy of Bronswerk Heat Transfer.

The team decided that solving the problem was really a system-level effort that involved redesigning the fan blade configuration, the inlet/outlet architecture as well as other parts. The design process was quite comprehensive and you can learn more about it by following this link.  Their new fan called the Whizz-Wheel has broken every record and the cooling system based on it is fast breaking all industry records for energy efficiency, noise reduction and weight savings. “The new Bronswerk cooling solution includes fans and housings that take their technology cues from gas turbines, aircraft wings, and a generous helping of homegrown creativity. The practicality of these creative touches was validated quickly and accurately with CFD. In addition to their purely quantitative output, the CFD simulations enabled us to explore bold ideas–without risking project budgets and schedules” said Mr. Bertels. Now that sounds like a perfect recipe for making the impossible possible and achieving a healthy Return on Investment (ROI) for simulation to boot.
Until next time,

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2 July, 2009

It’s been hot in London this past week – we’re expecting a high of 33C or 90F+ today (despite my living here for a few years I still don’t understand Celsius and often find myself doing mental arithmetic to convert the figures to Fahrenheit).  Now I’m lucky because I get to drive to/from work in an air-conditioned car but I feel for my fellow London commuters who use the Tube (the underground) in this heat. The first line was opened back in the 1860s and the network has expanded to carry more than 5+ million people  around London each month.  Unfortunately (and as far as I know), with the exception of the Jubliee line (the newest line) none of the underground trains have air con so it gets hot in there.  And to make matters worse, the Tube wasn’t originally designed to ferry so many people (a game of sardines anyone?) so the combination of heat, humidity and overcrowding is not something I relish and avoid at all costs.

Hot weather was probably not on the forefront of the minds of the designers of this system because back in the 1800s temperatures on the average were a lot lower than what we experience now. If you’re curious to see how much lower, then check out this short animated movie representing the predicted temperature rise through to 2100.  You’ll have to scroll down half-way down the page to the section titled Climate Change Projections. BTW these predictions were made by the Met Office in England which is responsible for all matters relating to weather forecasts. Anyway, we know that modern life has contributed to global warming so it stands to reason that any activity that reduces our impact on the planet while helping businesses create better products, faster and less expensively has got to be a good thing.

Click here to be taken to The Met site to watch the predicted temperature change

Click here to be taken to The Met site to watch the predicted temperature change

While we often hear about simulation and its role in improving product performance, we rarely talk about the impact of simulation on planet earth. With the help of simulation, design engineers can create products that not only perform better, but they do it more efficiently. Increased efficiency results in a lower demand for resources such as raw material and electricity. So it’s easy to see how it can have a significant impact on the environment.

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