Blog

You’ve been there; we’ve all been there. Can’t sleep in the early morning hours, turn on the TV and bam, there’s an infomercial that touts a product as the do-everything solution you’ve been waiting for your entire life.

This isn’t an infomercial. And we’re not offering something that will turn off your lights before you jump into bed or teleport you home ahead of rush hour traffic. But this is something that, as a process engineer, will make your life a whole lot easier.

Admixtus is a Virtual Product Development Tool that seamlessly integrates with our industry-leading engineering simulation software tool STAR-CCM+® to create geometries, set up CFD simulations, and carry out analysis of stirred vessels. Admixtus automates your workflow to set up a simulation from CAD geometry to analysis in a few simple steps. Pretty cool, right?

Even better, Admixtus is a great tool for students to learn about mixing in industrial scale systems. Perhaps best of all, Admixtus does not have any additional costs associated with it.

Check out more on Admixtus and how it can change your engineering life by helping you overcome annoying design hurdles by registering for our upcoming complimentary global webinar, “Admixtus is the time and cost saving solution for process development engineers” to be held on December 9, 2016.The webinar will also cover multiphysics aspects such as using Discrete Element Modeling (DEM) for solids suspension, Fluid Structure Interaction (FSI) and modeling reactions in the fermentation process.

Don’t worry, this blog has nothing to do with politics. Instead I wanted to spend some time trying to understand the lessons that we as engineers can learn from the failure of the prediction community to successfully forecast the outcome of the 2016 Presidential Election. For me this was an important backstory to the 2016 campaign: the pre-election poll predictions were wrong by a significant enough margin that they completely failed to forecast the outcome of the election.

“What does this have do with engineering simulation?” I hear you ask. The answer, I think, is “a great deal.” CFD engineers, like psephologists*, are also interested in making predictions about the future. Whereas Silver and his peers use statistical inference (from opinion polls and other data sources) to try and predict how people will vote in an election, we use numerical models of physics to predict the future performance of a proposed product or design.

If you pack too much matter into a small space, you are likely to get some undesirable consequences as anyone vacationing with small kids will be all too aware. If you have to sit on your suitcase to get it closed, you are likely to be greeted by the sight of your holiday clothes circling on the carousel at your destination. Similar consequences befall the engineer simulating two-way coupled fluid-particle systems when they overload cells in the CFD mesh with too much DEM matter.

I refer, of course, to the previous requirement that a DEM particle must be smaller than the flow cell it occupies for two-way coupled simulations. This limitation is due to the way the effects of the DEM particle are applied purely to the flow cell in which the particle centroid lies, and not to adjacent cells that are also overlapped by the particle. When DEM particles are larger than the cell, this results in large sources of momentum and energy being applied to individual cells causing instability and divergence. However, it is not just stability that can be compromised, but also accuracy, with the void fraction of the particle not being fully accounted for if the volume of the cell is smaller than the particle.

In practice, this rendered some applications impossible to simulate as geometrical features forced the mesh size to be smaller than particles.

The recent release of STAR-CCM+® v11.06 changes all that with DEM source smoothing…

Look around your desk, within reach of you right now. How many things do you see that have a circuit board, a couple of chips and maybe an LED or two in them? I count 12, and that’s just within reach. When you think about the electrification of our world, smaller, more powerful and newest are the three words that describe the value of a piece of electronics. So let’s look at these two statements through the eyes of a typical thermal analyst: “I have to build and analyze, smaller, hotter and faster to stay competitive.” That is precisely the reason we have spent the last few years developing the Electronics Cooling Toolset within STAR-CCM+® software. We recognized that designers in the electronics market need tools to setup, run and analyze their products in STAR-CCM+ but with fewer clicks, more interactivity, and a much more focused interface. This is a tool available to every user, aptly named the Electronic Cooling Toolset, or E-cool for short.

Imagine finally picking up your new Tesla after months of waiting (popular cars have waiting lists). While counting down the days, you daydream about driving that beauty on the freeways and cruising downtown as the commoners turn their heads to catch a glimpse. The last thing you are going to worry about is if the battery is defective or even ineffective. Yet while often overlooked, the battery is arguably the most important part of the vehicle. But don’t worry; chances are that well before you placed your order, computer-aided engineering (CAE) was used to ensure that the battery of your amazing new car will let you feel like Batman and not a Joker.

From overheating phones to underperforming data centers, thermal malfunction of electronics devices is not just a nuisance but a performance and safety risk. It is no secret then that thermal reliability is at the forefront of an electronics engineer’s design concerns. Demand for high power density devices in smaller packaging requires innovative cooling strategies. Traditional simulation strategies with simplified geometry and physics have their place but is this truly enough? What if you could include all the complexities of your geometry and the physics involved in your simulation?

Mallards, Wigeons, Teals, all are types of ducks, all are decoys that my dad would carve. Sitting in the garage, chisel and rasp in hand, he would spend hours and hours slaving over these delicate models. Each feather required a steady hand and intense concentration, but no matter the skill of the sculptor a hand will slip or a dull instrument will splinter the wood, or a rambunctious child will think they’re helping. So this means for every beautiful bird produced there are at least 10 in various states of duck resemblance in the scrap bin.

I once bought a step counter, with a separate heart rate monitor, and it provided lots of interesting information but I never used it. Despite my investment in the technology, it was simply too messy to use all the different devices in addition to my phone.The value of the additional information about my health was probably enough to motivate me, but the disparate technologies prevented me from using them. Today there are step counters and GPS in our phones, and heart rate monitors in our smart watches. With a simple app download you have everything you need, all through devices you already use and bring with you everywhere. By consolidating these technologies into a single device it is now practical to access the information on my health that they provide.

Matthew Godo
STAR-CCM+ Product Manager
Stephen Ferguson
Marketing Director
Brigid Blaschak
Communications Specialist
James Clement
STAR-CCM+ Product Manager
Dr Mesh
Meshing Guru
Joel Davison
Lead Product Manager, STAR-CCM+
Ravindra Aglave
Director - Chemical Processing
Sabine Goodwin
Director, Product Marketing