What do Facebook, Boeing and Raytheon Have in Common?

Apart from the fact that Boeing and Raytheon, like most companies in the world today, use social media and have a Facebook page, what at a core product level do these three companies have in common? Not a lot you might think. Well think again.

Facebook recently announced that it is building an aircraft (video) that has a similar wingspan to a Boeing 737. What is more, when flying at 60,000 ft. this aircraft will be able to transmit information over 10 miles using lasers to hit a point no bigger than a dime at a data transfer rate in the 10s of Gigabits per second. Right in the domain of expertise of companies like Raytheon. Talk about the convergence of the Internet of Things and the aerospace and defense industry! Continue reading

Aerospace Industry Simulation Experts Gather in Milan

Last week, technical managers, IT managers and advanced users of CAE simulation software gathered at the Volandia Flight Museum in Milan, Italy, to discuss how aerospace industry simulation experts can effectively deal with the increasingly complex challenges they face.

ANSYS and Enginsoft, along with HP and Nvidia, came together to present a full overview that included not only software, but complete solutions made through a combination of software, hardware processes and knowledge. This event opened with Robert Harwood, Global Aerospace & Defense Director of ANSYS, discussing the trends in the aviation industry around the world. Continue reading

Solar Flares and Combating Electromagnetic Interference

If you’ve been watching the news this week, you probably saw some spectacular photos that showed the effects of solar flares in the atmosphere. Apparently, these solar flares are expected to increase in the months ahead as the sun ramps up to its solar maximum, expected to peak in late 2013.

According to Wikipedia: Solar flares strongly influence the local space weather in the vicinity of Earth. The flares can produce streams of highly energetic particles in the solar wind, known as a solar proton event, or “coronal mass ejection” (CME). These particles can impact Earth’s magnetosphere (see main article at geomagnetic storm); they could present radiation hazards to spacecraft, astronauts and cosmonauts.

The recent coronal mass ejection reminded me of similar events in 1989 that blacked out 6 million people in Quebec and in 1972 that disrupted telephone connectivity in Illinois. Could scientists have prevented or mitigated the inconvenience, the hazards, the consequences? Imagine the potential effect a solar flare would have now, given the proliferation of cell phones. Furthermore, the dangers of hostile, incoming electromagnetic radiation are only too familiar to military engineers designing systems to thwart the ever increasing threat of electronic warfare.

The phenomena all link back to virtual prototyping. Engineers and scientists can mitigate against high-frequency electromagnetic interference (EMI) — whether naturally occurring or otherwise — through the use of physics-based simulation tools. So while solar flares can be beautiful to look at, the havoc they can create with communication systems, radar systems, satellites, smart phones and tablet devices is a potential threat to all of us.

Did you experience or hear of any interruptions in communications? Did you happen to catch a great photo? Let us know.

The Path to Robust Design via Engineering Simulation

In my last post, I discussed how robust design and optimization cannot be separated. The competition will quickly outperform nonoptimized solutions; furthermore, nonstable optimized solutions usually lead to customer dissatisfaction. While it’s clear that robust design and optimization are ultimate goals, it may seem that these are unrealistic objectives. Yet, even if the journey to robust design is a long one, engineering simulation is now mature enough to lead the way. Continue reading