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.

There are few people that are busier travelling during the month of December than one Mr. S. Claus himself. When traveling such long distances it’s hard to survive on mince pies (or cookies), a glass of milk (or brandy) and a few carrots for the reindeer alone. So any chance of cutting down the time taken to deliver presents would no doubt be a welcome one. As Santa delivered his fair share of presents to me, I figured I’d give something back and help him out with something that has bothered me for a long time; the aerodynamics of his sleigh.

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.


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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