CFD Simulation

What is CFD Simulation?

There are three main methods of predicting the behavior of fluids and their interaction with the surrounding environment – experimental, analytical, and numerical. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) refers to the numerical method of simulating steady and unsteady fluid motion using computational methods and hardware.

CFD simulation is a well-established methodology often used to replace or supplement experimental and analytical methods to aid the engineering design and analysis of everyday products. Compared to prototyping and experiments, CFD simulations are:

  • Less expensive to run
  • Faster to complete
  • Can tackle phenomena that are difficult for experiments
  • Give in-depth understanding of the physics involved
  • Lend themselves easily to exploring multiple designs and scenarios
CFD Simulation

How CFD simulation works?

A CFD simulation involves the use of the fundamental laws of mechanics, governing equations of fluid dynamics and modeling to mathematically formulate a physical problem. Once formulated, computing resources use numerical methods to solve the equations using CFD software to obtain approximate solutions for the physical properties involved.

CFD simulations are based on the Navier-Stokes equations used to describe the temperature, pressure, velocity, and density of a moving fluid. The accuracy of CFD simulations depend on the fidelity of the model, approximations and assumptions used, experimental validation and the computing resources available. It is important to characterize the uncertainties and errors in the CFD simulation to use it as an effective tool in design and analysis.

Steps in the CFD Simulation Process

No matter the software used, all CFD simulations follow these generalized steps:

  • Preprocessing: The preprocessing stage involves creating the geometry of interest in 2D/3D, preparing the geometry for CFD simulation and breaking up the domain into small volumes/cells in a process referred to as meshing or grid generation. Flow condition, fluid properties, laws of physics, initial and boundary conditions and other variables are translated into mathematical models and equations in this stage.
  • Solving: Here, the CFD simulation software begins iteratively solving the discretized equations using the CFD solver. This step can require significant time or computing resources. For complex simulations, more enterprises are turning to cloud computing as a cost-effective solution to this issue.
  • Postprocessing: Once the solving is complete, the next step is to analyze and visualize the results of the simulation qualitatively and quantitatively using reports, monitors, plots, 2D/3D images and animations. Verification and validation of the results is also included in this stage.

Applications of CFD:

CFD simulation software is used in a wide range of engineering applications whenever there is a need to understand or predict fluid flow and heat transfer and the resulting effect on the design of a product or system. In industrial product design, CFD simulation has progressed now to simulating the Multiphysics behavior in complex geometries enabling companies to fully understand and optimize their product design virtually before building a prototype.

Industries, where CFD simulation is widely used, include:

  • Aerospace
  • Automotive
  • Chemical
  • Consumer products
  • Marine (ship design, propulsion systems, engine design)
  • Electronics
  • Energy (Nuclear, Oil & Gas, Power generation)
  • Building services
  • Life sciences
  • Turbomachinery
  • Sports
  • Other general applications involving fluid flow and heat transfer

Enabling simulation-driven design with CFD Simulation

Redefining the art of the possible in CFD simulation

Enabling simulation-driven design with CFD Simulation

As the pace of change continues to accelerate, you must react quickly to bring innovative products to market and stay competitive.