Aerodynamics and aerospace are the way that air moves around objects. The rules of aerodynamics explain, for example, how an airplane can fly. Any device moving through air reacts to aerodynamics. Aerodynamics planes, rockets, cars, trains, or gulf balls since air flows around cars. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) has become operational in designing and analyzing products in aerospace and surface transportation industries, including automobiles, trucks, boats, and even insects.
The application of CFD today has revolutionized the process of aerodynamic design. In the older days, people used to test their crafts in actual conditions. But then came the wind tunnels provided the privilege of testing any hand-made objects used for flying and driving by putting them inside a tunnel against the airflow. This gave them more control over the conducted tests and more significantly reduced the risks related to real-condition tests. However, wind tunnels were too costly, and huge-sized wind tunnels were needed for giant crafts such as airplanes.
CFD has emerged alongside the wind tunnel and real-condition flight or driving tests as primary tools for analyzing the flow effect over hand-made objects. Different industries nowadays use CFD to increase their outcome and lower their design costs. The more renowned industries for using CFD in today’s world are the aerospace, aeronautical, and car industries. Companies such as Airbus, Boeing, and many others in the aircraft industry and car companies such as BMW, PORCHE, GMC, and many more are now using this powerful tool.
This article will look at some state-of-the-art CFD applications in mega-companies, as mentioned earlier. The aviation industry was a pioneer in the development of CFD methods. This industry once only had the option of testing the products inside massive wind tunnels. Turning a conceptual design into the final product was time-consuming, costly, and labor-intensive. The design needed to be corrected several times to solve the related problems. The mentioned procedure’s time was reduced significantly due to the advent of CFD.
Companies such as Airbus, Boeing, Sukhoi, etc., use CFD effectively to reduce production time. There are numerous details and parts where CFD is used to provide detailed insight. The most significant impact of CFD on the aviation industry was its ability to model the airflow passage over aircraft accurately. CFD can be exploited to simulate a vast range of flow velocities, including subsonic, the speed at which commercial flights fly, and supersonic, which was once used by the famous Concorde. There are other prominent applications of CFD in the aerospace industry, including noise analysis, combustion simulation, and turbomachinery, into which we will take a look.
How to Improve the Aerodynamic Performance of Aircraft in the Industry using CFD Simulation?
One of the significant subjects in designing an aircraft is its aerodynamic performance (i.e., the ratio of lift force to the drag force). CFD is employed to optimize the design of an aircraft in terms of aerodynamic performance, costs, space devoted to passengers, and many other variables. CFD can predict the changes in pressure, velocity, temperature, and other variables over and near the airplane fuselage and hence provide detailed data which can be used to warn designers about defects of the conceptual design. Some of the significant defects are the separated flows and the emergence of stall phenomenon over the airplane wings, which can be dangerous to the lives of passengers flying with any aircraft. CFD can predict the flow conditions and wing’s angle of attack contributing to the mentioned state.
Airplane noise is an essential factor for airlines to consider due to several industry changes in recent years. Increased competition, more air traffic, and the construction of communities near airports have created several new issues for aerospace engineers, including customer quality perception and new regulations. Turbofan engine fan noise and the effect of the air on the stator blades are two significant causes of airplane noise. Airplane manufacturers have been employing liners in the engine nacelle to avoid these noise sources radiating into the cabin for many years. These liners must afford a high level of noise reduction.
These liners must be designed very carefully to achieve noise reduction. Traditionally companies tested these liners with microphones after a physical model had been built, but the cost of the physical testing was extremely high. Airbus is now using acoustic simulation to predict the noise radiation and makes lots of savings from the liners’ testing stage. Acoustic simulation made it probable to study different design changes and how the noise radiated from the engine during each one. It helped Airbus design and deliver acoustic solutions that save aircraft weight with a substantial financial impact for airlines operating Airbus aircraft. The acoustic simulation also helps Airbus reduce product development costs by avoiding expensive post-design changes.
CFD for Nacelle Design
A nacelle is the aircraft engine’s removable cover, which contains the components that transform the wind’s kinetic energy into mechanical energy. The nacelle should be designed to disturb the flow, streamlines as least as possible, and make it a streamlined body. However, due to the inevitable drag and flow blockage, the airflow can become turbulent and separate from the wing’s surface sooner than it should, causing the stall phenomenon. The nacelle designers exploited the CFD to develop an innovative object mounted on the nacelle body to cause the turbulent flow passing over them to stay attached to the wing’s surface longer than expected. Nacelle chine or strakes increase this time by creating vortices that can enter high-momentum airflow to the boundary layer causing a delay in flow separation and lift increase.
Another industry that has fully exploited the capabilities of CFD is the automobile industry. The car-making companies also deal with airflow, but rather than airplanes, they have to investigate and carry out the best design for their car to reduce the exerted drag and increase handling and traction. Following the same steps as the aerospace engineers, they tried CFD to optimize their design and reduce production time. In the following, some of the more focused areas of aerodynamics for a car-making company such as Porsche are mentioned.
Effect of Spoilers/Wings on Car Aerodynamic
Car-making wings create additional downforce on the car by applying the same logic as an airplane but backward. With wings that lift the plane into the air, sports cars have a rear wing that pushes air into the road. The speed on the bottom side of the wing is higher than on the top side, which causes the pressure gradient between the top and bottom surfaces. Also, the wing changes the direction of the overall airflow on the car’s rear from aiming downward to straight rearward/slightly up. This positive change signifies that the rear wing works well with the entire car’s geometry.
Effect of Dive Planes on Car Aerodynamic
Dive planes can serve a variety of goals. While most believe dive planes produce downforce by the flow on the units themselves, a well-designed dive plane can do considerably more to increase its effectiveness. A small part of the downforce produced by the dive planes is from the forces on the surfaces of the dive planes. The bottom side of the dive planes has lower pressure, while the top side has higher pressure. This creates a downward force. This is not the whole story, however. The primary way downforce is made with well-engineered Dive Planes / Canards is by controlling airflow around the car. The Dive Planes are used to produce a vortex that helps pull air out of the fender wells. This helps reduce lift on the car body. We have specific prototypes for the dive planes since location and placement are critical for maximum performance.
Effect of Splitters and Diffusers on Car Aerodynamic
Front splitters are very effective at creating front-end downforce without increasing drag. They do this by creating an enormous pressure delta between the top of the splitter and its bottom. Air pressure on top of the splitter increases while the pressure beneath the splitter decreases, resulting in significant front-end downforce. It also bounds the airflow to the bottom of the car, producing a low-pressure area. The air builds up on the front of the car and on the splitter to increase pressure.
In this article, we just covered a small number of CFD applications in improving the aerodynamic performance of aircraft and vehicles. The aerospace and automobile industries are full of applications for CFD. From the airflow around the wings that give a lift to aircraft or airflow over car spoilers and diffusers for increasing handling and traction to combustion occurring in the jet or internal combustion engines. Fluid dynamics are fundamental to most facets of the aerospace and automobile sectors. Although wind tunnel models and full-scale prototypes are standard for later development, design and optimization during earlier stages can be significantly accelerated with CFD studies.
MR-CFD Services in Aerodynamics and Aerospace
The MR-CFD team conducted numerous outsourced simulation projects for industrial and research aerodynamic and aerospace engineering applications. With several years of experience simulating various problems in various CFD fields using ANSYS Fluent software, the MR-CFD team is ready to offer extensive services of simulation configurations. For instance, some of the projects freelanced by MR-CFD that have industrial applications include the simulation of external flow on AUDI cars, which shows how car designers can exploit CFD to carry out the best design for their vehicles in the industry.
Using CFD, they understand flow behavior when passing over the designed car to decrease the drag force applied to it due to the flow separation behind the vehicle, which can have many potential benefits such as dropping fuel consumption. The other outsourcing CFD simulation project that MR-CFD has simulated successfully is the investigation of external airflow over the rotating propeller of an aircraft. In this project, MR-CFD experts simulated the rotational motion of the propeller and obtained the thrust, drag forces, and torque generated by the propeller.
The industrial application of such projects can design an optimized propeller to generate the highest thrust force while decreasing the drag force exerted due to the airflow passage. One of the other great applications of CFD in the aerodynamic industry is its capability to optimize an object’s design. For example, in another project carried out by MR-CFD, they tried to optimize the design of the NACA0012 to reach the optimum aerodynamic performance (i.e., the optimum value for the lift-to-drag ratio).
Finally, one of the issues that can be attributed to aerodynamics is combustion. For example, in one of the projects, the Hypersonic Combustion in the Scramjet Engine, in which there are no moving parts, has been investigated. While the airflow enters the engine with a high Mach number, hydrogen gas is injected into the middle part of the engine, which changes from convergent to divergent. The resulting combustion will act as the driving force of the desired jet. This operation is used for objects moving at a very high speed. However, the jets’ appearance and surfaces should also be carefully examined.
MR-CFD, an Expert in the Field of Aerodynamic & Aerospace Simulations
With several years of experience in simulating various problems in different CFD fields using ANSYS Fluent software, the MR-CFD Company is ready to offer extensive modeling, meshing, and simulation services. Our simulation Services for Aerodynamic & Aerospace simulations are categorized as follows:
- Simulation and analysis of helicopters, airplanes, quadcopters, etc.
- Aerodynamic simulation of flow around the passenger aircraft, unmanned, etc.
- Flow simulation around a variety of cars and vehicles.
- CFD Simulation of aircraft engines turbine, gas turbine, and Jet.
- Simulation of the Jet combustion chamber.
- CFD Simulation of industrial turbofan fan, fan drop, etc.
- Simulation of centrifugal compressors and Jet engine thrust.
You may find the related products to the Aerodynamics and Aerospace simulation category in Training Shop.
Our services are not limited to the mentioned subjects, and the MR-CFD is ready to undertake different and challenging projects in the Aerodynamics and Aerospace Engineering modeling field ordered by our customers. We even accept carrying out CFD simulation for any abstract or concept design you have in your mind to turn them into reality and even help you reach the best design for what you may have imagined. You can benefit from MR-CFD expert consultation for free and then order your project to be simulated and trained.
By outsourcing your project to the MR-CFD as a CFD simulation freelancer, you will not only receive the related project’s resource files (Geometry, Mesh, Case & Data, …), but also you will be provided with an extensive tutorial video demonstrating how you can create the geometry, mesh, and define the needed settings(pre-processing, processing and post-processing) in the ANSYS Fluent software all by yourself. Additionally, post-technical support is available to clarify issues and ambiguities.