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Editor’s Pick: Multi-Disciplinary CAE Tool Upgraded with DEM

By Anthony J. Lockwood

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Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:

Tony LockwoodLast Friday, CD-adapco introduced a DEM (discrete element modeling) capability into version 5.06 of STAR-CCM+, its multi-disciplinary engineering system. This is interesting for a number of reasons.

First, STAR-CCM+ strives to give you the full CFD engineering simulation process in a single integrated software environment. In a nutshell, what that means is that from a single interface you do your CAD preparation, meshing, model set-up, and design studies. Its physics modeling capabilities range anywhere from time to turbulence and heat transfer to combustion and chemical reaction. And it has direct associativity with CAD applications. More on that in a moment.

Second, DEM is one tough nut because it’s a computational a beast of a thing. Historically, this has led it to be a highly specialized standalone application from either some in-house programmer surfing academic sites for the latest algorithms or from a small cadre of commercial DEM code developers. The latter is why am drawing a blank when it comes to developers other than CD-adapco offering DEM tools as part of their multi-disciplinary analysis systems.

A third reason why this is interesting is that DEM is cool. It enables you to simulate the motions and interactions of particles and bulk materials "think pills in a coating tumbler, corn bopping down a conveyor belt, or the sands in an hour glass (bonus points for those who get that reference). That means numerical complications like heat issues, collisions, contact forces, and so forth. Since STAR CCM+ is a coupled physics environment, you can bring to bear on this type of analyses those physics phenomena that you need so that you can figure out problems in and optimize your system for moving stuff down the line, so to speak.

While DEM headlines STAR CCM+v5.06, there’s more to STAR CCM+v5.06 than what I’ve run through here. Take the new CATIA V5, Pro/ENGINEER (now known as Creo Elements/Pro), NX, and SolidWorks CAD clients. Again in a nutshell, CAD clients mean to you that you can do your simulations from inside your CAD platform. Your geometry is associative with your simulations, so playing what-if is made easy. There’s also a new methodology for far field propagation for aeroacoustic analyses, and CD-adapco says that this version incorporates more than 200 user enhancement requests.

Something I have to note is that STAR-CCM+v5.06 is so new its webpage is not fully updated at the time of this writing. But don’t let that deter you from learning more from today’s Pick of the Week write-up. DEM technology as part of a fully coupled multi-disciplinary CFD analysis system is a notable bit of news. At the risk of being punny, this rocks and rolls.

Thanks, pal. — Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering

About Anthony J. Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood is Desktop Engineering's Editor-at-Large. Contact him via de-editors@deskeng.com.
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