Mentorship is Key to Promote Women in Technology

Businesswoman rolls her eyes at the gender gap on display at in her workplace.

Women make up only seventeen percent of employees working in the UK tech sector.

Women fulfill only 17 percent of technical jobs in the UK.

Let that sink in.

“It gets worse,” said Natalie Lipke, co-founder of ANSYS’ UK Women in Technology (WiT) group. “A local WiT job site reports that campuses still have large gender gaps in their science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) classrooms — as low as 7 percent of students in computer science are women.”

“Additionally,” she added, “the women receiving STEM degrees only have a 50-50 chance to land a job in their area of study.”

Industry needs to do a better job of closing the gender gap. For a start, they must ensure young women that a viable career awaits them at the end of their studies.

ANSYS’ UK WiT group showed that one of the best methods to build this trust is through mentorships that empower young women. Continue reading

6 Simulations to Optimize Your Off-Road Vehicle

Conrods off-road vehicle wins second prize at BAJA SAE India, 2018. The team notes that simulation gave them an edge on race day

Figure 1. Conrods off-road vehicle wins second prize at BAJA SAE India, 2018. The team notes that simulation gave them an edge on race day. (All images in this blog are courtesy of The Conrods Off-road Racing).

Engineers itching for their off-road vehicle to win a race need to put simulation in the driver’s seat of design.

Racing teams don’t have time to make thousands of prototypes between races. Therefore, simulation is the only way to iterate designs before reaching the starting line.

For instance, check out The Conrods Off- road Racing team from the SRM Institute of Science and Technology. Its students have over nine years of experience and numerous accolades, including winning BAJA SAE India.

What’s The Conrods’ fast lane to the finish line? For the past seven years, the student team has optimized its designs using ANSYS simulation software.

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A Compact Axial Flux Magnetically Geared Machine

Generally, the size and cost of electric machines (motors or generators) are more closely related to the machines’ torque rating than to their power rating. Thus, if two machines are rated for the same power at different speeds, the higher-speed machine will be smaller and less expensive than the lower-speed machine. Therefore, it is common to use gearing to reduce the machine size and cost in many systems. Mechanical gearing, however, introduces acoustic noise, maintenance requirements and reliability concerns into the system. On the plus side, magnetic gears can perform the same function as mechanical gears, transferring power between low-speed, high-torque rotation and high-speed, low-torque rotation, without relying on mechanical contact for this power transfer. This non-contact operation allows magnetic gears to avoid some of the issues associated with mechanical gears, and reduce the size and cost of an electric machine, especially in applications where minimal maintenance and high reliability are important (e.g., wind turbines and electric vehicles).

Additionally, by integrating the magnetic gear with the electric machine, the system size and cost can be further reduced. The Advanced Electrical Machines & Power Electronics Lab (EMPE) at Texas A&M University invented a configuration that places an axial flux machine in the bore of an axial flux magnetic gear to produce a very compact device capable of producing very high torques at low speeds.

Exploded view of a compact axial flux magnetically geared machine

Exploded view of a compact axial flux magnetically geared machine Continue reading

IIT Motorsports Leverages Simulation to Study Advanced Drag Reduction System

At IIT (Illinois Institute of Technology) Motorsports, we had a challenge. Our student team of 30-plus motivated engineers wanted our Formula car to go fast, but we also needed to create a great amount of downforce so that the car sticks to the racetrack and can perform high-speed turns. The problem is that increasing the downforce increases the drag. The solution is to fit the car with a drag reduction system (DRS) in the style of Formula One cars, in which parts of the rear wing (the second and third elements, in our design) will be rotated about their quarter chord point to an angle of attack at which they generate less downforce. This reduces drag when the car is moving in a straight line while allowing activated by control systems based on driver action rather than direct driver inputs. The CFD simulation images depict the ON and OFF settings for the system.

Rear wing configuration with ADRS offRear wing ADRS OFF: The wings create an increased downforce that allow the driver to perform high-speed turns safely.

Rear wing configuration with ADRS onRear wing ADRS ON: The wing positions create minimum drag and allow the driver to go as fast as possible.

Creating the System Continue reading

Learning Simulation Helped Us Find a First Job

I am David Quiroga and I am Jonathan Hernandez. This spring, we graduated with bachelor of science degrees in electrical engineering from Florida International University’s (FIU) College of Engineering & Computing. Now we are headed to industry to work as engineers and we want to share with you why simulation was key to finding our first jobs.

We have always been fascinated with electrical engineering. Circuit design and antennas are things we wanted to study. It‘s also helpful that there’s a high demand for electrical engineers.

We learned a lot of skills during our undergraduate years, including electronic design, programming and troubleshooting skills. However, there is a key skill and technology we want to discuss: simulation and ANSYS HFSS. We took Antennas in fall 2017 and Introduction to RF Circuit Design in spring 2018, both taught by Stavros Georgakopoulos, associate professor from FIU’s Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering. Here we started learning about circuit design. Of course, we knew that you can design a circuit, build it and then test it. This is how we thought it was done. However, we were surprised to learn there is a much better solution: simulation.

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Simulation is UniNa Corse Team’s Formula for Success

As newcomers to the Formula SAE competition, we, the student members of the UniNa Corse team, debuted our first car at FSAE Italy 2017, which was held at Varano de’ Melegari. We also finished first in the sponsored Virtual Formula 2017 competition. Having achieved this important goal, our main objective for 2018 is to optimize the 2017 car without introducing any additional problems, as we prepare for FSAE Italy 2018 and FSG at Hockenheim.

UniNa Corse Team Picture

The UniNa Corse team at FSAE Italy 2017

The focus of our design was on the car’s aerodynamics profile. We used ANSYS computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation software to analyze the 2D performance of various airfoil designs to achieve the best performance in terms of downforce while minimizing drag forces. After creating a mapped mesh using the ANSYS meshing software, we ran the flow simulations and quickly captured all the relevant flow field characteristics, thanks to the software’s fast convergence speed. Continue reading

Simulating Lightweight Solar-Powered Race Cars

Midnight Sun is a University of Waterloo, Ontario, student team that designs, builds and races solar-powered cars. We strive to bring awareness and interest to renewable energy technologies and their possible integration with vehicles, while giving students from all disciplines an opportunity to develop practical skills that can’t be taught in the classroom. We rely extensively on ANSYS structural simulation solutions to lightweight our race cars while ensuring they retain the necessary strength for performance and safety.

Midnight Sun 12 (MSXII) is our twelfth solar car to date, and our second cruiser class car. Cruiser style vehicles focus on a more practical, user-oriented design than the typical spaceship-like “challenger” class vehicles. Cruiser class vehicles must be lightweight to remain efficient and competitive, while still being structurally sound to protect the two occupants of the car.

The Midnight Sun solar-powered race carMidnight Sun 11 (MSXI – previous version).

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KIT FSAE: Formula Student Team Accelerates with ANSYS CFD

Founded in 2005, Grandelfino is a student racing team based at Japan’s Kyoto Institute of Technology (KIT). We design and manufacture Formula SAE (FSAE) cars with single cylinder engines, from start to finish. In the process, we also work to procure needed parts and sponsorships for growing our team management and technology skills.

From the beginning, our design concept has focused on “small and lightweight,” and it’s served us well: We’ve finished first overall in Formula Student competitions in Japan three times — first in 2012, and then with consecutive victories in 2016 and 2017. With each win, we’ve gained greater recognition that has allowed us to grow stronger.

Our GDF12 won the 2017 Formula SAE competition.

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Modeling Floating Offshore Wind Turbines at Stuttgart Wind Energy

Innovation in the wind energy sector has opened numerous possibilities, including the building of floating offshore wind turbines in greater depths of water. At Stuttgart Wind Energy (SWE), an affiliate of the Institute of Aircraft Design at the University of Stuttgart, my fellow researchers and I are advancing preliminary research in this area with the help of ANSYS simulation software. Specifically, we are using the software’s algorithms to perform an in-depth, hydrodynamic analysis of the hull shapes and a structural optimization analysis of the floating foundations for offshore wind turbines. We’ve conducted much of our research while working on the LIFES50+ (www.lifes50plus.eu) and INNWIND.EU (www.innwind.eu) projects.

Within the LIFES50+ project, we established an optimization framework and methodology for floating wind turbine design. Using ANSYS Aqwa, we created hull geometries based on external inputs and evaluated the hydrodynamic parameters needed to run the time domain simulation model. Additionally, we combined the frequency-dependent wave excitation forces with a given incident wave spectrum to calculate the resulting forces on the floating platform. In this way, we were able to simulate the loads impacting the turbines and platform due to changes in the wind and wave environment. The results show the effect of wave cancellation for different platforms designs and the trade-off between performance and material costs (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Results from platform design optimization.

Working on the INNWIND.EU project, we also mapped the time domain wave pressure by making calculations based on linear wave theory. To do this, our researchers created a finite element model (FEM) within ANSYS Mechanical from the solid model of the TripleSpar floating platform (Figure 2). This FEM model uses inputs of the pre-processed time domain pressures for each panel of the mesh. These pressures simulate the wave excitation pressure and diffraction pressures, and are only calculated for the wet surface under the mean water level (Figure 3).

Figure 2: Model of the floating platform created with ANSYS APDL.

Figure 3. Mesh of the underwater part of the TripleSpar platform (left) and map of the wave excitation pressures of one load step from a regular sinusoidal wave (right).

Our SWE team has also worked to validate the TripleSpar turbine models, using the results from the hydrodynamic analysis performed in ANSYS Aqwa. This validation process was accomplished by comparing the models with the measurement data from a wind and wave tank test (Figure 4). As a result, we were better able to design the controller of the turbine which, in turn, controls the actuators of rotor blade pitch.  To increase the stability of the overall system, we needed to ensure the wave excitation frequencies were damped sufficiently.

Figure 4. Model and wave tank test of floating wind turbine.

With ANSYS’ highly versatile software, we are now able to investigate several aspects of floating offshore turbines, including optimization, controller stability and loading. To learn more about our research at SWE, please visit http://www.ifb.uni-stuttgart.de/windenergie.

 

The Alternative Energy Challenge – UT Austin Students Innovate with Simulation

Since 2010, the Alternative Energy Challenge (AEC), a competition organized by the University of Texas at Austin, has allowed students to gain valuable hands-on experience building prototypes, and to develop both critical problem solving and public speaking skills. AEC 2018 is expected to be the biggest yet, with a large number of teams of 2-5 undergraduate students expected to build and present their prototypes.

Each team is tasked with designing and building an original prototype that mitigates or eliminates one or more risks and/or problems that can arise before, during, or after any kind of natural disaster. The device should fulfill the following requirements as much as possible:​

  • The waste product should be minimal. In other words, the materials that make up the device should be reusable wherever possible (recyclable, compostable, etc.).
  • The device should operate on a clean energy source. The device should not be powered by an energy source which contributes to the greenhouse effect. ​

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