Improving Smoked Food with Simulation

Smoking meat (and other food) in a barbecue smoker doesn’t sound complicated, but there are more factors at work in producing delicious food than you would expect. Barbecue enthusiast Travis Jacobs, president of Jacobs Analytics, was aware that in windy conditions the air flow through the bottom inlets and the top outlet vents of a smoker can be variable, leading to internal temperature gradients and swirling air that removes smoke and makes a less savory product. He wanted to make a smoker that could smoke food to perfection in any conditions. Unlike most of us non-engineer weekend barbecuers, he turned to computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations to solve this problem.

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Brighter, Energy-efficient LED Headlights through CFD

LEDs are increasingly used in automobile headlights because of their small size and reduced energy consumption. But, though they are much more energy efficient than traditional headlights, most of the energy required is converted to heat rather than light — 70 percent, in fact. This presents a challenge to engineers and designers because, since they are semiconductor-based, the diode junction of LEDs must be kept below 120 C. Maintaining temperature below this limit typically involves cooling airflow from an electric fan combined with heat sink fins.

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The EnSight CFD Simulation Post-Processing Story: Like a Multi-Stage Rocket

EnSight, the leading post-processor for Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) data is now part of ANSYS. In the two decades since its launch, EnSight has taken off like a multistage rocket. Here is the story.

I grew up in that magical era when NASA used multi-stage rockets to carry Apollo astronauts to the moon and back. As a toddler I learned to count backwards from 10, 9, 8, 7, 6 … because that’s what I heard Mission Control say. I dreamt of being an astronaut, studied aerospace engineering and started my career at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. I met my lovely wife there, blocks from the NASA gates. Her parents still live next door to Buzz Aldrin’s Apollo era house. I used to store my lunch in the Mission Control fridge while working on my space shuttle aerodynamic simulations in the support room next door. So maybe it’s natural for me to think in rocket terms. Continue reading

Simulation Used to Spur Design Development for Nuclear Power

Nuclear power is a key player in the future of clean energy, and multiple companies are pursuing new technologies to maximize nuclear’s contribution to the clean energy space. Founded in 2011 and based in Cambridge, MA, Transatomic Power is an advanced nuclear technology startup developing and commercializing a molten salt reactor (MSR), or a nuclear reactor whose fuel is in liquid, rather than solid, form. This technology, originally developed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in the 1960’s, offers multiple safety and cost benefits over traditional nuclear reactors, in which the fuel is in the form of solid pellets cooled by water.

Tranatomic’s MSR design builds on the original work at ORNL and adds a few innovative new features that reduce the reactor’s size and, as a result, it’s cost – a huge factor in building new nuclear power plants. Though the development process is a long one, the world needs a larger capacity for clean energy generation, and it’s this ultimate goal that drives the Transatomic team forward. Continue reading

CFD Simulation of HVAC Systems on Trains Makes Rail Travel More Comfortable

Every time I travel in Europe, I enjoy riding the fast, comfortable trains. Riding from city center to city center without long security lines and tight uncomfortable airplane seats (worse for me because I’m tall!) can even make travel pleasant. But, I’ve always taken that comfort for granted. Were trains not always that way? Then, I found out about the challenges that Siemens engineers face as they design passenger coaches. Now I have huge respect for those engineers. Read on to find out how CFD is making their lives easier while giving me the comfort I love.

Siemens Ice 4 Train HVAC Systems on Trains

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Optimizing Critical Components to Fit into Confined Spaces Using the Adjoint Solver

Optimizing components that must fit into tight spaces can be a daunting task, even for the most experienced designer. Consider the HVAC system of a car, which supplies air to the vehicle’s cabin. Today, air conditioning is deemed standard equipment even in entry-level automobiles, so manufacturers must build it in. Its critical components – manifold ductwork — are located under the hood amid the well-planned jumble of engine, radiator, battery, transmission, and auxiliary structures. Not much room in there … and that’s just one of the complications. Continue reading

Optimizing Tunnel Ventilation Fan Blades for Energy Efficiency Using the Adjoint Solver

Because fossil fuel resources around the globe are finite, an overriding engineering design challenge is energy efficiency and sustainability. Today I’ll use tunnel ventilation fans as an example to illustrate how CFD simulation and advancements in our Adjoint Solver in ANSYS 18 can optimize fan blades performance.

According to a report by Mosen Ltd., a leader in this industry, the “greening” of tunnel ventilation is still in its infancy. The application consumes substantial power, sometimes several megawatts; in addition, governmental regulations often require tunnels beyond a certain length (for example, 300 meters) to have ventilation systems that disperse exhaust and control smoke in case of fire. As a result, tunnels need more ventilation capacity than what would be needed for day-to-day air quality. Continue reading

3 Ways to Boost ANSYS Performance with Intel Technologies

Intel Supercomputing 2017

ISC 2017 in Frankfurt, Germany (copyright Philip Loeper)

My visit to ISC High Performance last month in Frankfurt, Germany re-affirmed my belief that computing innovation shows no signs of slowing down. I participated in an industrial HPC user panel at the event, which has traditionally focused on big supercomputing solutions for government and research institutions. The fact that this year’s ISC broke attendance records and dedicated so much time to industry sessions shows how much HPC has become entrenched in other industries.

We have been working with Intel on a few innovations that I wasn’t at liberty to discuss at ISC, but can now share with you that Intel announced its new processors and improvements to their accompanying technologies yesterday. We have been working with Intel to benchmark ANSYS software on the new technologies before their release, so that our mutual customers can immediately see what benefits they’ll receive. Here’s a sneak peek at the results. Continue reading

Emirates Team New Zealand Wins the 2017 America’s Cup

From all of us at ANSYS, we want to congratulate the team of Emirates Team New Zealand who just won the 2017 America’s Cup. Wining the America’s Cup is a feat in sailsmanship, a feat in teamwork, but also a feat in engineering.

What I love during the America’s Cup season is that all of my colleagues and friends ask me about the competition as if I was an expert (Hint: as you can see on the picture, I am a more of a Sunday sailor than a high tech boat skipper). What I can talk about, however, is some of the technology behind the amazing boats that compete in the America’s Cup. Continue reading

Simulating Accurate Combustion Dynamics with Lean Premixed Combustion

Stringent emission regulations force the gas turbine combustor community to come up with new designs. Lean Premixed combustion (LPM) is gaining popularity to meet the emission regulations. However, lean combustion process is prone to other issues like combustion instabilities and noise.

Self-excited combustion instabilities in a gas turbine play a vital role in the lifecycle of combustor, noise generation and pollutant formation. If the instabilities in the combustor dominate at natural modes, there are risks of resonance that can lead to bursting damage to the combustors. Therefore, it is necessary to understand the combustion dynamics performance of a given lean premixed combustor. Continue reading