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If you haven’t had your head under a rock lately, you’ve seen the headlines. Here, let me get you fully up to speed on the latest:

Diesel recall: which cars are affected, will my MPG decrease, and should I still buy a diesel?

Volkswagen reaches deal for remaining 80,000 Dieselgate vehicles

FCA accused by EPA of failing to disclose software allowing excess diesel emissions

Now I’m not here to postulate the hows and whys any given manufacturer has chosen to use any so-called “defeat devices” or point any fingers of blame, but I will speculate that the diesel engine isn’t doomed or disappearing anytime soon. While I personally prefer the sound and response of an old-fashioned, naturally aspirated gasoline V8, Rudolf Diesel definitely invented the workhorse of the IC engine world back in the late 1800s and it’s hard to not appreciate it for what it is. Its prevalence globally in passenger cars is significant, but it’s even more prolific when you look at how many are used for on-highway medium and heavy-duty trucking applications, off-highway usage, marine, industrial, etc. It’s everywhere!

So we currently face some very difficult challenges to reduce harmful emissions within required limits with governments worldwide constantly tightening those limits. It’s a very difficult problem to address, but it’s not in our nature to just back down from difficult problems, pack up our toys and go home! We engineers want to help solve those difficult problems, don’t we! In the long term, that may mean finding a suitable replacement for the IC engine (there’s plenty of activity in this area right now and, undoubtedly, more coming), but in the short term this means working smarter with better tools to reduce the output of harmful emissions, improve the performance (power) and efficiency (fuel economy), reduce the size/weight and reduce the cost of the diesel engine.

While most readers may not remember their bath time as a child, you may have a little one who enjoys it every day. I love seeing my little one’s curiosity when playing with the bubbles, asking questions such as “How are bubbles formed?” and, “Why are some bubbles small and others large?” There may also be an “ooh” moment: “Look how those bubbles have stuck together to become one.” The engineering term for getting together is, of course, coalescence.

Coalescence and breakup play a big role in many industrial mixing processes. In such systems, knowledge of the gas volume fraction, its distribution and its eventual effect on mass transfer and reactions, is absolutely essential. Experimental measurements have given detailed information on many systems, resulting in numerous correlations which are commonly used in the design process. However, these correlations are very much limited to the size, type and character of the laboratory or pilot scale system from which they were created. This leaves process engineers with the task of ascertaining if an alternative design will meet all the required process conditions or not. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations give process engineers the ability to investigate virtual designs at a plant scale, using computer models, including modeling coalescence and breakup.

The widespread adoption of modeling and simulation in life sciences on clinical and trial studies is at an embryonic stage, but that could soon be changing.

Cardiovascular device design historically involves many iterations from experimental lab work on the benchtop to animal trials before a device gets approved for human/clinical trials. Finite element analysis (FEA) simulation has become more prevalent in recent years, followed by computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and fluid-structure interaction (FSI) modeling.

The ability to predict something before it happens is something most of us wish we had in our arsenal. Weather forecasters think they have this ability, but we all know better.

While it may be nice to know the answers to some questions ahead of time, it is essential for car manufacturers to be aware of any possible design roadblocks as early as possible in the development process.

Virtual thermal analysis is a process used during vehicle development to determine whether components in close contact with hot surfaces - such as the engine or exhaust - exceed recommended temperatures. Possessing this knowledge is vital as it allows engineers the opportunity to preserve functionality and prevent accelerated aging in these components.

Running a full virtual thermal analysis is ideal because it provides the most accurate results, but it is a method that because of time and cost can ideally only be run once, and at the end of development for validation only. Of course, by that point in the process it is too late in the game (or too expensive) to make major changes.

After a recent review of their virtual thermal analysis process, the thermodynamics computational fluid dynamics (CFD) team at global automobile manufacturer Volvo found that Siemens PLM Software’s STAR-CCM+® software allowed them to run full vehicle thermal models at earlier stages than possible with competitors’ software.

In November of 2016, over 190 countries approved the Paris agreement with the intent of reversing and mitigating the trend for growing greenhouse emissions. This is an ambitious undertaking and, if successful, would have a significant influence on global warming since about a quarter of the emissions come from the transport industry. Without changes in transportation, reversing this trend would not be possible.

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