A few days ago, while I was waiting to board a flight, I ran into a childhood friend who I hadn’t seen in 20 years, and he was waiting for the same flight. We talked about all the developments in our lives over the last two decades, and it was wonderful catching up. I told my friend about how I had graduated in aerospace engineering, that my specialization is in CFD, and that I get to work with aerospace customers. He was quite interested in learning more about how our software helps with aircraft design.
We could see our aircraft approaching the gate through the pane glass window as we started to discuss how external aerodynamics analysis influences the design of wings, fuselage, engines and flaps. Just around that time, the announcer issued the boarding, and so we boarded the flight and managed to get seats side by side.
While we continued our discussion, the aircraft was on the tarmac and began acceleration for take off. All of a sudden, my friend grabbed my hand. I was quite surprised and looked at him, even more shocked to see his tensed face with eyes closed and ears filled with cotton.
It took a while for the aircraft to gain some altitude and for the climb to be steady but not so steep. My friend opened his eyes slowly and explained to me how frightened he is every time his flight takes off. He said the experience this time was not as bad as some of his previous experiences, though. That turned our discussion toward passenger comfort and safety inside the aircraft cabin.
It didn’t take us much time to realize how much emphasis is given to external aerodynamics, aerostructures, navigation systems, etc. — yet it is easy to overlook the significant role that simulation plays in the design of the aircraft’s environmental control system (ECS) for both crew/passenger comfort and safety as well as the safe and secure transport of cargo in the lower lobe.
I explained to him the role that CFD can play in terms of cabin environment design. I emphasized the importance given to this area by industry and academia, mentioning ANSYS’ membership in the Cabin Air Reformative Environment (CARE) consortium.
ANSYS is proud to be part of this consortium and aims to work with member organizations Boeing, Comac and host of academic partners over the next several years to ensure that ANSYS technology and tools meet or even exceed the evolving needs of the ECS design community.
I hope that soon there will be a day when my friend will not need to close his eyes and block his ears. Of course, passenger comfort and safety implies several things — maintaining comfortable temperature and pressure, filtering air and controlling the spreading of disease, controlling ozone leakage into the cabin, and a whole host of other things.
ANSYS CFD tools should help with the design of all these issues related to comfort and safety within the aircraft cabin. At the end of the day, it is the promise of comfort and safety that influences a person’s decision in choosing an airline or a flight — and yes, aircraft manufacturers are well aware of this and are working on this promise.