Could a Car Following a Cyclist Determine the Tour de France Outcome?

This Sunday one of the most popular sporting events for tens of million people around the world begins. The Tour de France starts in Utrecht, the Netherlands. We will again see the world’s best top athletes fighting for the stage victory every day. We’ll admire them as they climb the steepest slope at an amazing speed and be impressed to see them completing a time trial at an average speed above 50 km/h. Throughout the past years, the regulations have continuously improved to guarantee a clean and fair race. As an example, during time trials, neither cars nor motorbikes are allowed in front of the cyclists as this would obviously reduce air resistance. Similarly, if a cyclist is catching up to the one ahead, they must stay on different sides of the road. However, there is no regulation to prevent a vehicle from following the athlete as it is commonly believed that a car riding behind a cyclist cannot influence him.

But is this really true?

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Guest Blog: Turbulent Combustion Modeling at CRAFT Tech

craft tech temperature contours combustion modelingCRAFT Tech (Combustion Research and Flow Technology, Inc.) is a small and well-established CFD consulting firm that specializes in addressing unique and challenging problems for both government and commercial customers. The focus of two recent projects was the accurate modeling of flame extinction and blow-out effects in aircraft propulsion and power generation systems. Within these applications there are strong interactions of flow turbulence with the flame dynamics. Continue reading

Aircraft Cabin Airflow: Curbing Disease Spread

For me, science and engineering has always been about designing solutions to the various problems in our everyday lives. When I began doing research in seventh grade, my very first project was a roof that converted the impact energy of precipitation into electricity to help power the home. The following year, I came up with a dynamically supportive knee brace that implements smart fluids to vary the amount of support that patients received, depending on the physical activity. Last year, I created a self-cleaning outdoor garbage bin to tackle the issue of urban sanitation in our neighborhoods.

raymond wang intel science fair winnerYet perhaps, I am best known for my most recent project, which won the 2015 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, out of 1,700 students nationally selected from 75+ countries. This year, I tackled the issue of airborne pathogen spread in aircraft cabins, generating the industry’s first high fidelity simulations of airflow inside airplane cabins. Using my insights, I engineered economically feasible solutions that altered cabin airflow patterns, creating personalized breathing zones for each individual passenger to effectively curb pathogen inhalation by up to 55 times and improve fresh air inhalation by more than 190%. Continue reading

Using ANSYS CFD to Analyze High-Lift Wing Design

Agastya ParikhFour years ago, as a high school sophomore, I began work on an independent project that explored ways to improve the performance of high-lift systems used on the Airbus A330-300. One of the biggest challenges facing me was how to best conduct experiments to assess the performance of the different designs. In prior years, I had conducted simple research on aircraft wing design and aeroelasticity using unpowered balsa models of the aircraft being tested. To employ this same method would be unworkable for the relatively complex systems of flaps and slats required by the Airbus aircraft. I would have needed to build a larger scale model or perform wind-tunnel testing — neither of which was viable because I did not have access to equipment of the complexity required. Continue reading

Astrobotic Launches a New Service to Send Your Story to the Moon!

As you may have heard recently in the news, Astrobotic (a proud ANSYS user) launched an exciting new service on December 11th, called MoonMail™, a program for the public to send mementos to the Moon on Astrobotic’s first commercial lunar mission. With the starting price at $460, this exciting new offering from Astrobotic is an opportunity to commemorate major life events — graduations, weddings, birthdays, or a loved one’s memory — with a lasting symbol on the Moon.

Astrobotic’s innovative commercial approach to robotic space missions is opening access to the Moon for space agencies, universities, and companies. This offering marks the beginning of a new kind of participant on the Moon — the individual. Continue reading

Lebanese Students Overcome Many Challenges to Build an Unmanned Aircraft

image of Lebanese American University Airplane LAU Solix

Lebanese American University Airplane LAU Solix

The Lebanese American University (LAU) challenged its students to design an unmanned aircraft capable of long flights at high altitudes. Our LAU Solix Team, comprised of eight mechanical engineering students, is very familiar with ANSYS tools and is skilled at handling CFD and fluid–structure interaction (FSI) simulations so we put these tools to work on our unmanned aircraft design. The team had to deal with the interaction that happens between fluid and structure that occurs in a wide range of engineering problems — especially in aircraft design. Continue reading

Shorter Design Cycles and Multiple Iterations Within Easy Reach

You’ve heard all the talk about simulation-based design. You’ve listened to colleagues— maybe even some of your competitors — wax on about how doing robust simulation studies early on in the design cycle leads to more and better product ideas while also optimizing use of materials. In fact, you’re sold on the need to embrace advanced analysis, but you just don’t see how it’s feasible given the perceived complexity and cost of the simulation software — not to mention, the high-powered workstation gear. Continue reading An Easy-to-Use Online Resource for Learning and Teaching Engineering Simulation

Recent technological developments have significantly lowered the barriers to entry in FEA and CFD, leading to excitement about the “democratization of simulation”. Employers are looking for engineers who have FEA and CFD skills in their repertoire and students are eager to pick up these skills. However, faculty have found it difficult to integrate industry-standard simulations tools into core engineering curricula for a variety of reasons including lack of teaching materials that connect simulations with existing textbook content.

Cornell University SimCafeThe SimCafe wiki at is being developed at Cornell University as an e-learning resource to integrate industry-standard simulation tools into courses and to provide a resource for supplementary learning. Professors and students around the world use  for free to teach and to learn simulations. SimCafe learning modules on FEA and CFD cover a broad spectrum of subjects: solid mechanics, fluid dynamics and heat transfer. Short embedded YouTube videos demonstrate the software steps. Continue reading