Transport Vehicle Goes On An Aluminum Diet

It only stands to reason that an aluminum smelter in need of utility vehicles for operations and maintenance would want those vehicles to be made out the same aluminum it manufacturers, not steel.

Manufacturing a structurally-sound utility transport out of a wholly new material wasn’t the only design challenge for this effort, put into play by Aluminerie Alouette, a Canadian aluminum smelter. The new design also had to accommodate an electric power train—a requirement because the smelting process creates such a strong static magnetic field that regular internal combustion engines have a hard time operating properly within that environment. The third requirement was to create a vehicle design that would allow for easy recycling at the end of the transport’s lifecycle. ']);" class="more-link">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. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Investigating the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: FEA as an Industrial Forensic Tool

Call it an industrial detective story: The site is a floating oil rig, operating 40 miles off the southeast coast of Louisiana. The incident is an explosion, leading to an oil spill that unleashed about 4.9 million barrels of crude oil into Gulf of Mexico. (On Meet the Press, White House energy adviser Carol Browner called the incident “the biggest eco-disaster ever.”) The evidence collection involved raising the blowout preventer (BOP), along with recovered pieces of the drill pipe; transferring them to a holding facility; obtaining hydraulic fluid and metal samples; and laser-scanning the damaged blind-shear ram (BSR). The mystery: what happened? →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Pros and Cons of Simplified Simulation: A Panel Discussion

The conversation began months ago when I posted a motion for discussion in the LinkedIn group called “New Trends in CAE Simulation.” I asked, “Do you agree or disagree? It’s dangerous to simplify FEA and make it accessible for the masses.”

There’s clearly a push among computer-aided design (CAE) software vendors to package their simulation programs for a broader audience. These programs have historically been the domain of Ph.D.-level experts. Some critics see the move to reinvent them for designers and engineers as “dumbing down” a complex process. Others believe greater accessibility to simulation through simpler interfaces would lead to better designs. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

HyperWorks 12.0, with Emphasis on Composites, Optimization, and Collaboration

Altair Engineering, best known for its simulation software, is rolling out a major release of its flagship suite, HyperWorks. The comprehensive lineup covers every phase of design development and testing, from computational fluid dynamics (CFD, with AcuSolve), crash analysis (HyperCrash), sheet metal form (HyperForm), and meshing (HyperMesh), to structural analysis (OptiStruct), and more. The latest upgrade, HyperWorks 12.0, emphasizes the growing importance of composite materials, optimization, and collaboration. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading