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Editor’s Pick: See Inside Flow Field Simulations

SCDear Desktop Engineering Reader:

CD-adapco is out with a new version of its STAR-CCM+ CFD (computational fluid dynamics) system. As usual, when CD-adapco crosses from one version number to the next, it’s not horsing around. They mean it. Here, we’re crossing from the 8-series to the new 9-series of STAR-CCM+. Technically, today’s Pick of the Week write-up is on version 9.02. STAR-CCM+ v9.02 has some fascinating new functionality, and it offers a hint to the near future of this well-regarded CFD simulation environment. Let’s take a look.

The general impression is that v9.02 is about making you more productive through tools that provide more realism in simulations and that execute more quickly. The Senior VP of Product Management came out and said as much with the press announcement. So, what did he mean?

Well, the first big new feature is volume rendering. You probably know this visualization technique from medical imaging or some Pixar movie. It’s new to CFD simulation, thanks in part to advancements with graphics cards, workstations, cloud hardware in general and parallel processing.

Volume rendering is a “volume-based” visualization method. What it does is give you a view inside of the flow field you’re studying. Traditionally, what you’ve probably used to get a fair peek into a region volume are iso-surfaces. Two problems here. One, iso-surfaces are still surfaces. And two, you have to know (or guess) where to look to discover the trouble spots during discovery. That means it’s as much discovery as it is flirtation with missing subtle trouble areas entirely.

Volume rendering can provide a more realistic view of what’s going on inside. To do this, it uses a set of volume elements with opacity, color and lighting attributes applied to each element. Controlled yet adaptive resampling methods handle the computational loads. You really have to check out the pair of images in today’s write-up to see the difference between an iso-surface visualization and a volume rendering visualization. It’s really something. The point is, however, your results can show subtle differences and fine structures between temperatures that can be missing or blurred with other visualization methods.

CD-adapco made some improvements to STAR-CCM+ adjoint solver. The adjoint solver is cool already in that it lets you fiddle with geometry and flow features from a single simulation to learn how a change here or there will influence a system’s performance.

Anyway, the adjoint solver has been extended with a new tumble and swirl cost function. CD-adapco thinks the IC engine community will like this because it can help improve the tumble and swirl characteristics of the port in steady-state port flow analyses. Essentially, this means that it allows for sensitivities to be presented with respect to a key metric.

Third, there’s a new Dispersed Multiphase model. This is for impinging water simulation applications — e.g., aircraft anti-icing or water management. CD-adapco says the Dispersed Multiphase model is a lightweight and computationally efficient Eulerian model. Its key is that it treats impinging water droplets as a continuous background phase superimposed on a single-phase primary flow. Apparently, this model’s efficiency also means that your impingement simulations will now take a lot less time to run compared to other tactics. CD-adapco says its new Dispersed Multiphase model approach is virtually assured to give a smooth and repeatable impingement pattern on your modeled geometry.

You can learn more about STAR-CCM+ v9.02 from today’s Pick of the Week write-up. After the main write-up, you’ll find links to blog posts from the product managers about each of these new or improved features that go into greater detail and offer neat images. The link at the immediate end of the main write-up takes you to the STAR-CCM+ main page. It is packed with presentations, videos and papers.

Thanks, Pal. — Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering

Read today’s pick of the week write-up.


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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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