Lets talk combustion simulation. I know you dear readers, you are smart! So I will not bore you with explaining what combustion is. Rather, I want to give you some fun facts. As you will see, combustion is really everywhere.
- From 1960 to 2010, aircraft engine fuel efficiency increased by 55% — but the major progress was done in the first 10 years as the technology was brand new in 1960.
- At her very fast service speed of 28.5 knots, the Queen Elizabeth II can travel 50 feet per gallon (15 meters). A typical journey from Southampton, UK to New York City, USA is 18,052,000 feet or 5,503,000 meters — Do not hand your credit card to the captain as he is fueling the boat.
- Based on the average U.S. natural gas price, it costs 3 cents to heat water from 68°F (20°C) to 212°F (100°C) and about 5 cents to cook a good poached egg (4 minutes cooking) – I hope I got my math right.
- The Concorde could fly 14 passengers for 1 mile using 1 gallon of jet fuel. The 747-400 can fly 91 passengers for 1 mile using 1 gallon of fuel. Do you have a guess why you still fly 747s and only see the Concorde in a museum?
- The space shuttle burned 1,000 tons of solid propellant in 8.5 seconds… and also 2,000,000 liters of liquid propellant (liquid oxygen and hydrogen). Now that is what I call a controlled explosion!
- The 2008 financial crisis created sea container shipping “extra slow streaming” strategy where cutting the container ship speeds from 21 to 17 knots reduced fuel consumption by up to 50% — container shipping rates dropped by up to 60%.
- A sailboat consumes 0 gallons of fuel…but does not go anywhere when there is no wind.
- A Harley-Davidson gets up to 59.7 MPG while a Moped 50cc up to 120 MPG — you probably look cooler on the Harley-Davidson.
My background being in combustion, I used ANSYS Computational Fluid Dynamics software to perform a lot of simulations of combustion. I really enjoyed working on different problems like ensuring that an injection system produced a stable flame or that a combustion system produced only a few harmful emissions. To see how this can be done, here is a short video showcasing the use of ANSYS CFD software for simulation of combustion.
If you are interested in learning more about this topic, I recommend you check out the Reacting Flow/Combustion Tech Tip, which has links to an excellent series of five webinars focused on reacting flows.