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As someone who works in London and uses public transport to get to work, the arrival of summer is always a bit of a mixed blessing. For commuters, it is something of a running joke that the train companies always find new and inventive ways of delaying services and generally making your life miserable. A few years ago, however, an entirely new excuse was devised, namely that it was too hot for the train rails and so accordingly all the trains had to be slowed down to a crawl. This meant I got to work, and got home, late.

 

While this may be an extreme example, and didn’t cost people much other than time, you don’t have to look far to find instances of things getting too hot and causing more serious problems. Indeed, just a few days ago, Apple issued a voluntary recall of some speakers that were getting too hot and as you may remember, a few years ago, Boeing had a serious issue with the batteries in its flagship 787 Dreamliner overheating. Failures such as these, and the associated product recalls/retrofitting, cost companies huge amounts, not only financially but also in terms of reputation.

 

So how do you ensure that that when your product goes to market it isn’t going to fail not long after? I work for a company that provides simulation software, so of course you are expecting me to say that this is the answer, and it is, to a point. But how you use the tool, and understand the results are key and it’s the understanding part that can be the hardest piece of the equation. If I run a thermal analysis on a single design point, how do I gain insight into how that design is going to perform under different conditions or how to best change it to improve its performance?

 

With the release of STAR-CCM+ v10.04, we are providing a powerful, and unique, new feature that will allow you to gain greater understanding of your flow and thermal analyses. For the first time, you will be able to use the adjoint solver to look at sensitivities not only within your fluid domain but your solid also. By taking account of more of the physics in your sensitivities, you can now use adjoint to help provide a better optimized design, earlier in the product development process thus reducing the risk of failures and costly product recalls.

 

With adjoint solid energy you can utilize the new heat transfer cost function, to provide information about how your design’s thermal behaviour will be affected by changes in geometry, changes in boundary conditions, and even different mesh structure (using the error estimator introduced in v10.02). The feature may be used on fluids or solids in isolation or, most powerfully, as part of conjugate heat transfer analyses, one of the traditional strengths of STAR-CCM+ and its conformal polyhedral meshing technology. As an example, the figure below shows a scalar plot of magnitude of adjoint heat transfer with respect to energy on the internal surface of a cooled turbine blade.

 

 

This new capability really is something innovative and unique from CD-adapco and can help ensure that simulation, and design exploration become an integral part of a design process that produces more reliable products from day one. Unfortunately I think it has come a little late to ensure that my train home is on time!