Autodesk Simulation Nabs MVP Role At Super Bowl XLVIII

Just because the Polar Vortex has made an exit prior to this Sunday’s Super Bowl XLVIII kick off, it doesn’t mean the New Jersey Meadowlands will be free and clear of winter winds. In fact, moderately cold weather and any kind of wind gusts could have serious implications for the outcome of the game as this is a rare cold-weather, outdoor Super Bowl match up to be played at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

To help football fans get a better understanding of what’s happening with the winds, FOX Sports has teamed up with Autodesk to adapt the 3D design tool maker’s new Flow Design cloud computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation technology to chart wind patterns and deliver insight into their impact on the big game. Continue reading

Finding Wiggle Room in the Bo-Dyn Bobsled for Team USA

In Winter Olympics 2010, Steve Holcomb led a four-men Night Train 2 team that won a gold medal. In less than a month from now, Holcomb’s team will be riding again in the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

To keep the sports fair, the Federation keeps the competing vehicles within strict guidelines. They’re confined to maximum width and length. There are weight specifications for the sled including the crew and excluding the crew. So finding wiggle rooms to improve the vehicle’s aerodynamics is a difficult task.

In 2010, that task belonged to Bo-Dyn. To study the aerodynamics of the sled’s chassis, Bo-Dyn turned to Exa corporation, a simulation software developer. The collaboration stemmed from the two companies’ previous works in motorsports projects. Continue reading

Project Falcon Graduates to Become Autodesk Flow Design

Nearly two years ago, Project Falcon made its debut in Autodesk Labs, as a preview of the company’s wind-tunnel simulation technology. This week, the project becomes a bona fide product. Returning as Autodesk Flow Design, the product functions both as a standalone application (PC or Mac) or a plug-in for Autodesk Inventor (for mechanical design) and Revit (for architectural design).

Wind tunnel or airflow simulation is usually the domain of experts, a market served by high end CFD software makers. Autodesk Flow Design, however, targets designers with limited exposure to simulation. The simple wizard-like setup lets users import existing geometry and set up simulation scenarios (for instance, simulating the airflow around a vehicle traveling at a certain speed, or a stadium of a certain shape) with just a few input parameters. Continue reading

Have Yourself a Merry Little Solver

How do engineers entertain themselves between eggnog and dinner? How do they amuse themselves when the stockings are stuffed, the trees are trimmed, and the angels on the windowsills are strung? Well, apparently, some fire up their favorite simulation programs to run imaginative CFD tests to examine well-known X’mas phenomenons, ranging from the practical to the miraculous.

After picking up a Christmas tree for his home, Patrick Hanley, Ph.D., who runs Hanley Innovations, decided to reproduce the airflow around his minivan with the giant pine shrub strapped to the top. He downloaded from TurboSquid the 3D model of a car that was “close enough” to his own, downloaded and scaled a Christmas the same way, and imported the assembly into Stallion 3D, the aerodynamic analysis package he developed. Patrick applied Navier-Stokes equations to the setup to calculate the airflow. Continue reading

Football and Flying Snakes: A Lesson in Simulation

What do one of the windiest professional football stadiums and a rare breed of flying snake have in common? They are both quirky examples of putting CAE to the test. More importantly, however, both offer some important takeaways for engineers looking to promote simulation studies far earlier in the design process.

Let’s start with the simulation work done in conjunction with the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Heinz Field. Known for killer winds that blow into the stadium and across the field in a variety of crazy patterns, the field is notoriously hard on kickers. Autodesk, with an assist from a Penn State University student and Autodesk summer intern Matt Wilson, decided to apply the company’s technology to explore whether there was any scientific evidence to support the league’s long-standing complaints about the challenging kick-off environment. Continue reading






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