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.

First, check out this video to understand what I mean: the boats fly over the water thanks to foil. Notice that there is no main sail — rather it is a main wing.

Let’s learn more about how ANSYS simulation enables the development of those amazing racing machines. Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) has been using ANSYS technology for many years — ETNZ is supported by ANSYS channel partner LEAP Australia and composites design specialists from ANSYS.

Let’s focus on how simulation is used to design the main sail.. I mean the wing. Then full story can be found in this excellent article written by Steve Collie, ETNZ Aerodynamic Engineer.

ETNZ uses a 100% simulation-driven development process to test thousands of designs. Below are a few examples.

  • CFD simulation. This is a race so you want to go as fast as possible. The same way CFD is used to compute lift of an airplane wing (lift = what makes the plane fly), CFD is used to compute the America’s Cup wing lift (this lift is the one that propels the boat).
  • Structural simulation of composites. The boats are flying on the water — it is key that they are as light as possible. As you can imagine, the wing ribs and beams are not made of steel but rather of composite materials. Structural simulation of the behavior of those composites parts is key. Check out how ANSYS can simulate composites material.
  • Multiphysics Simulation. As you can imagine the different parts of the wing — made of a main section and 3 flaps — will deform because of the lift generated by the wing. The fluid and structure dynamic of the wing are strongly coupled. You therefore need to do multiphysics, in this case Fluid-Structure Interaction (FSI), to simulate the accurate behavior of the wing and the lift generated. Using FSI simulation from ANSYS, ETNZ was able to test hundreds of variation early in the process to find the best design
  • Automation. I just mentioned that hundreds of variations are simulated and analyzed. For maximum efficiency, the simulation process is fully automated. ANSYS does not only allow you to perform a single accurate simulation, ANSYS platform also allows you to automate and customize your simulations to analyze quickly and effortlessly hundred of design variations
  • Design exploration. ETNZ uses ANSYS DesignXplorer to minimize the number of simulations required to capture the entire design space. This is a key capability needed to be able to explore the full design space (or operating envelope) as fast as possible (i.e. with as few simulations as possible)

If you like sailing, or just if you like cutting-edge technology, the America’s Cup is a great event to follow. Congrats to the ETNZ team for their success. As the 35th America’s Cup is now over, I will miss watching the amazing races (shhh…do not tell my boss I was watching the races.)

This entry was posted in Fluid Dynamics, Multiphysics, Sports & Consumer Goods by Gilles Eggenspieler. Bookmark the permalink.

About Gilles Eggenspieler

Gilles is the Director Academic Program (North America) at ANSYS. Before that, he worked for Fluent and ANSYS in different roles: fluid product line manager, consulting, technical services, training, etc. Gilles has a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, a Master’s of Science from Ecole Nationale des Mines de Nancy, and a MBA from the Tepper Business School- Carnegie Mellon University.

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