In any simulation, obtaining accurate results is only half the battle. Whether the domain is material stress or fluid flow, any data is only as good as the engineer’s ability to interpret and apply it.
One of the more important yet difficult calculations to understand is the precise behavior of the breakaway of fluid from walls. However, after five years of research, a team of scientists from MIT, San Diego State University, and United Technologies has developed a breakthrough methodology that allows engineers to precisely determine the location and angle of flow separation in both 2D and 3D as well as steady and unsteady flow conditions.
“Visualization of steady flow vs. unsteady flow can be compared to looking at a static image vs. a movie,” notes Mike Peery, president of TecPlot, Inc. in Bellevue, WA. “The work they did isolates the steady parameters from the craziness of unsteady flow.”
The ramifications of this development are far reaching, from minimizing drag in automobiles to improving cooling of turbine blades (see “Turbine Benefit”), as industries strive for greater energy efficiency and fuel economy.