Simulation tools are being widely deployed in surprising ways. Whether it’s landing a vehicle on Mars or developing medical devices in an artificial setting, simulation assists innovators in perfecting real life. More and more, engineers are taking their devices and their factory plans for a test drive before implementation.
The practice of simulation is expanding rapidly due to its numbered benefits. It’s less expensive to take a plant manufacturing line for a spin in simulation to avoid having the robots crash into each other –- or crash into humans.
The savings comes in time, money, and safety. It’s quicker and less expensive to throw a simulated smartphone down on a hard surface than it is to smash a real phone. It’s less expensive –- and again faster -- to devise a simulated prototype before cobbling actual pieces together. And it helps to know the Mars Rover will land safely on the Red Planet’s surface before you launch the priceless dune buggy into heartless space.
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Airflow simulation. The image shows the flow of air over an open-wheel race car. The streamlines are coded by velocity magnitude where blue is low and red is high. In the case of aerodynamic design of an open-wheel race car, the initial concept model would represent the wheels, body, under tray (diffuser), rear and front wings. With this simple geometry setup you can freely move or modify the airfoils and body independently to find an optimal configuration based on lift and drag values from the Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulation.
(Source: National Center for Manufacturing Sciences)