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At this year's AIAA SCITECH annual conference, I sat down with the editors of Aerospace America to talk about the future of CFD analysis in the aerospace and defense market.  Predicting the future of CFD is the subject of intense debate. The recent publication of the NASA led CFD Vision 2030 study attempted to define the key challenges that face the industry over the next 15 years. In the report, the authors identified several obstacles to wider adoption of CFD in the aerospace industry:

  1. Limited Funding: NASA investment in basic research has declined significantly over the last few years.
  2. Changing Hardware: HPC hardware is on the cusp of a paradigm shift that will require significant investment in code architecture.
  3. Complex Physics: The use of CFD is limited by the inability to accurately predict turbulent flows and regions of separation
  4. Slow Preprocessing: Mesh generation remains a significant bottleneck in CFD workflow.
  5. New Algorithms: Current algorithms require significant investment to advance simulation capability.
  6. Big Data: Management of vast amounts of data generated by large scale CFD continues to be problematic.
  7. MDAO Automation: Multidisciplinary simulations for design and analysis purposes require robust CFD solvers with significant automation capabilities.

Although these challenges present a real obstacle to innovation in the use of CFD for aero-applications, they present a unique opportunity for commercial CFD companies like CD-adapco to develop innovative solutions. SpaceX, Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic have shown that commercial companies with the right mind set can accomplish amazing things through innovative determination. Our goal is to invest in technologies that will address present and future challenges to wider adoption of CFD.

Here is how we plan to do it:

  1. Complex Physics, New Algorithms: We continue to reinvest the majority of our profits in research and development to ensure we can address the technical roadblocks ahead.
  2. Changing Hardware Our development team is actively working on the next generation of HPC architecture to be ready when and if the paradigm shift occurs.
  3. Slow Preprocessing: STAR-CCM+ provides robust parts-based meshing technologies that allow engineering groups to significantly reduce their preprocess times, in some cases improving through put by 800%.
  4. Big Data: We have introduced a new data format in our simh files which can reduce file size by several orders of magnitude.
  5. MDAO Automation: We have invested in optimization technology with HEEDS to bring CFD optimization into the modern engineering process. 

The question remains “What is the future of CFD in the Aerospace and Defense market?”.  No one knows for sure; however, we at CD-adapco are committed to providing robust CFD tools that aerospace and defense application engineers can rely on.

Matthew Godo
STAR-CCM+ Product Manager
Stephen Ferguson
Marketing Director
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
Karin Frojd