At the end of February, I blogged about how I had the pleasure of talking with Desktop Engineering magazine’s senior editor Kenneth Wong via podcast. He had a simple challenge for me: For a structural engineer who is just beginning to work with fluid dynamics, outline the points important to CFD flow simulation. He also asked me to explain how to avoid pitfalls when setting up the simulation and what to look for when analyzing the results.
That podcast focused on the simulation setup. More recently I met again with Kenneth, and this time he wanted information about how to run the simulation and analyze the results to extract key engineering information.
Remember, we are looking at a ball valve design. In this design, the flow pushes on the valve when it is partially open, which could deform or move the valve enough to make it leak. The analysis simulates flow behavior inside the valve to determine whether or not the valve leaks.
First we focus on how to ensure that the solution process has gone the way it should. Continue reading
One of my colleagues mentioned to me that it is National Engineering Month in Canada and that reminded of a great tradition I learned about from a dear Canadian friend — the Iron Ring.
The Iron Ring (which is actually now primarily made of stainless steel) is a ring that Canadian engineers wear on the little finger of their working (dominant) hand. The finger on which the ring is worn is crucial because as the engineer works the ring will drag on the surface where he or she is writing or moving his/her mouse. This is especially true for newly graduated engineers, whose rings have sharp, unworn facets.
Now you may wonder why would engineers wear such a ring, which is designed such that engineers can always feel its presence when they work. It seems like an awfully bad design! On the contrary! It is the perfect design for its purposes:
- A reminder of the obligations and ethics associated with their profession
- A reminder of the social significance of being an Engineer
- A reminder for experienced engineers to welcome and mentor newly-graduated engineers Continue reading
A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of conversing with Desktop Engineering magazine’s senior editor Kenneth Wong for a podcast recording. He had a simple challenge for me: For a structural engineer who is just beginning to work with fluid dynamics, outline the points important to CFD flow simulation. Additionally, he asked me to explain how to avoid pitfalls when setting up the simulation and what to look for when analyzing the results.
My first thought was that, well, there are great classes, training and free YouTube videos available. Give me a couple of hours and I can turn a structural-expert-but-CFD-newbie into a CFD user. Kenneth understood all this, but his biggest challenge was yet to come. He asked me quite seriously, “And can you get an engineer on the right track in a couple of minutes?”
*** Mission Impossible soundtrack playing inside my head **** Sure! Let’s do it!
Courtesy of Wikipedia – Formula One 2012 Rd.2 Malaysian GP: Charles Pic (Marussia) during the first practice session on Friday. – 23 March 2012, Sepang International Circuit, Selangor, Malaysia
A few months ago, my Google alerts pointed me to an article about the Marussia F1 Team discussing its recent major upgrade. This was just enough to tease me; I decided to tuck the article away to read at a later date. But life got busy, and I’m only now getting back to this article. And, as luck would have it, the F1 season is over. Yet I still wanted to read that article because it stuck in my mind. I still wondered, “What is this major upgrade?”
It was when I read the first sentence — “The Marussia team is hoping to take a step forward for its home race at Silverstone as it introduces what it describes as the first major product of its wind tunnel program.” — that I fell out of my chair! I was shocked because the Marussia Formula One team designed its racing car using CFD. So what is this new idea? CFD is not good enough for designing an F1 car? It is sure, according to Red Bull Racing. Does CFD provide bad results for the Marusia team? Definitely not! These guys are pros. So why would using a wind tunnel be called a major upgrade? Continue reading
In a previous post, I discussed how CFD can help to save newborn lives. Today, I will focus on another advancement in medicine that is generally based on the same approach: patient-specific CFD studies to treat disease. The Chiari malformation is a malformation of the brain that can cause headaches, fatigue, muscle weakness in the head and face, difficulty swallowing, dizziness, nausea, impaired coordination, and, in severe cases, paralysis (source: “Chiari malformation: Symptoms.” Mayo Clinic. November 13, 2008).
What physicians discovered is that this malformation alters the dynamic movement of fluid in the brain. This alteration is the cause for all of the malformation’s side effects. It can be corrected by a surgery that has a 70 percent success rate. This is good, but not good enough. Continue reading
Courtesy of Wärtsilä via Reuters press release
Last week I came across a press release from Wärtsilä Corporation in which it announced the launch of “a new, highly efficient Aframax tanker design that offers solutions for current and forthcoming emissions legislation.” So what is the big deal, since there are thousands of press releases every day? What caught my attention was how the company emphasized that designing this highly efficient tanker was made possible using computational fluid dynamics (CFD), applying optimization techniques to design a hull with less resistance. Continue reading
I just had an interesting conversation with some of my colleagues about thermal management of electronic devices. I asked them a very simple question: Why does my cell phone not heat up, even when I talk on it for an hour? They explained to me all of the challenges of cooling the electronic devices we use every day: computers, cell phones, tablets, pagers. (Oh no! I thought only the Flintstones still use a pager.)
Thermal Management is Essential
What I found most intriguing was how designers of these great products must look at both the heat generation of the device as a function of its usage (idle, in-use, charging) and the cooling system: They must neither under- nor over-design the cooling system. Or worse case, they must make sure that the device does not fail because components get too hot or “grill.” (See picture.)
I talked about ground-breaking swimsuit technology in a previous post. When I wrote it, I figured we had reached the pinnacle of swimming technology! For further gains in performance, the swimmer would have to focus on additional athletic training. Once again, I was proven wrong. Actually, I am excited that I was wrong, because I just read an article that describes how technology and CFD are able to answer a question that has haunted elite swimmers: Should they use a paddle or propeller technique?
Basically, the techniques are all about the motion of the arms and hands, and which is more effective: paddling through water or whirling to the side, as a propeller does. Two Johns Hopkins University fluid dynamics experts, Rajat Mittal and Alfred von Loebbecke, have answered this question! Continue reading