“When people first encounter 1-D analysis, they think it can’t be as good as 3-D; 3-D must be three times as good as 1-D. Really, it’s not a question of which is better; the question is what role does each play in the design process of machines,” said Morgan Jenkins, Product Line Director, Flowmaster, Mechanical Analysis Division, Mentor Graphics.
As a result of its January 2012 acquisition of Flowmaster Ltd., Mentor Graphics recently sought to combine the advantages of 1-D Flowmaster and 3-D FloEFD Concurrent CFD into the first commercially available general purpose 1D-3D native CFD solution. By coupling 1-D and 3-D software technologies engineered to work natively together with integrated source code, customers are able to further speed up the design process while ensuring accurate upfront systems analysis based on fluid flow and heat transfer data by using 3-D simulation at the component level.
“By taking advantage of both tools, you are able to facilitate upfront engineering,” Jenkins said. “You take advantage of FloEFD, which is truly embedded inside NX, CATIA, SolidWorks, Solid Edge, Creo, etc., and therefore you’re always in tune with design because essentially you’re operating natively within the design environment of mechanical engineering.”
Systems engineers commonly use 1-D and 3-D CFD software in the automotive, aviation, oil/gas, power, and energy industries. When designing complex systems previously, 3-D CFD would be extremely accurate but computationally intensive depending on the size of the models used.
“For automotive cooling systems or fuel systems for aircraft, if you tried to analyze those with full 3-D analysis, you could do it, but these are huge systems and full 3-D analysis tends to be compute intensive,” said John Isaac, Director of Market Development, Systems Design Division, Mentor Graphics. “On the other hand, it’s very efficient to do it in 1-D, very fast, but the ability to model some of the complex components which are part of the large system would bring the designer to his knees.”
With a native 1D-3D CFD solution, more complex components of the system can be modeled in 3-D and those component characteristics can be inserted into the 1-D system-level model for simulation. This provides higher accuracy for the components while minimizing the computational resources and execution times of the system.
“You are not going to be burdened by some of the more typical challenges that have faced companies as they have tried to do this in the past,” Jenkins said. “Companies have tried using middleware applications, using another vendor to bring a piece of technology that sits between two pieces of technology like Flowmaster and FloEFD, and it’s definitely a case of two is company and three is a crowd. As a customer, I have an engineering problem and frankly I’d like to deal with one company to help me solve my engineering problems. Because this is a native solution you never have any customization or configuration issues. It’s simply part of the native application you are using.”
This 1D-3D solution enables systems engineers to examine more variables across a wider range of design scenarios to quickly achieve optimal system and component design. In addition, characterization is securely stored in Flowmaster’s relational database, allowing information to be reused for future models or shared across the entire team.
“By taking the fidelity of the 3-D information and embedding it within the system model as a component you can then share that across teams, which means either you increase the concurrency of your design process or you could store it there for later use downstream,” Jenkins said.
The Mentor Graphics 1D-3D product line will be available in the second half of 2012. For video of Jenkins discussing this announcement, visit this link.