Blue Ridge Numerics Inc. is doing its part to try to make CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) analysis part of the upfront design process with a major new upgrade to its CFdesign software that takes a CAD-driven approach to creating a multi-scenario design studies.
The new CFdesign 2010, aimed at both advanced CFD analysts and occasional CFD users, delivers a range of new features to foster the simple set-up and exploration of what-if design scenarios. The goal is to provide an environment that is powerful enough, yet familiar enough to help design engineers uncover critical CFD data upfront in the process without having to go through the time and expense of building a series of costly, physical prototypes to try out ideas. For advanced CFD users, the upgrade is intended to foster more experimentation around fluid flow to optimize designs, while providing the casual user with an easy way to see critical values required for achieving pass-fail analysis on designs.
"(With CFdesign 2010), we've revamped the software to enhance the idea that simulation in the design world is not about once and being done, but about multiple what-if scenarios," says Derrek Cooper, product manager at Blue Ridge Numerics. "It's about upfront CFD where a design engineer wants to improve designs and reduce failures. It's about being a design tool rather than an R&D experiment."
A key capability of the upgrade is support for multi-scenario design studies-something that wasn't possible in older versions of CFdesign or competing CFD products. Most CFD offerings or CFD capabilities built into CAD tools are built for a single analysis, Cooper says, with the sheer size of data inhibiting the number of scenarios that can be compared leveraging the horsepower of a typical desktop. That's not the case with CFdesign 2010, which has been rearchitected with new file management and compression capabilities to enable more lightweight files. "As a result, we're able to look at and run more models and scenarios at one time than you could before," Cooper says, explaining that this ability will greatly aid design engineers in the decision-making process.
Using tools like the Design Study Manager and Design Study Bar, users can create, add, change and manage multi-scenario design studies within the MCAD environment. In addition, a feature called Scenario Cloning allows new simulation scenarios to be created with a simple right-click movement. Each cloned scenario produced is a lightweight version of the original, greatly reducing the load on computer memory and graphics. CFdesign 2010 also leverages direct modeling capabilities typically offered in MCAD programs to make it easy to create external flow volumes or refine meshes, among other tasks, Cooper says.
The upgrade's new Decision Center environment is designed to give engineers quick access to critical values via the use of dashboards, x/y plots and other well-known graphics elements as opposed to having to wade through more arcane CFD plots and studies to zero in on the right data. There is also a new filmstrip-type viewer, which showcases a group of designs or scenarios in an easily accessible place, allowing engineers to drag and drop on any one to get a deep dive into the specific variables.
To complement the new release, Blue Ridge Numerics also released a new Answer System comprised of online help, a new knowledgebase, user forums and CFD-tv to provide product support and community assistance. The help features are also accessible within the CFdesign interface.