Computational Fluid Dynamics or CFD is the use of numerical methods and algorithms to solve and analyze problems that involve fluid flows, heat transfer and associated phenomena such as chemical reactions by means of computer simulations. Computers are used to perform the millions of calculations required to simulate the interaction of fluids and gases in a wide range of industrial and non-industrial applications. The technology is not new and was used as early as the 1960's by the aerospace industry in its design cycle. CFD has been a maturing technology for a long time but has always been dependent on the availability of large, expensive high performance computers. These days, with the advent of new relatively affordable high performance machines, CFD is now a matured and stable technology and is routinely used for many applications. Some examples of this are listed below:
- Aerospace / Automotive - Aerodynamic Design Heating/Ventilation/Air-Conditioning (HVAC)
- Biomedical Engineering: Blood flow, analysis of Clots, aneurysms, artificial valves
- Chemical Engineering: Mixing / Separation, Polymer moulding
- Civil Engineering: Wind loads on buildings, Heating / Ventilation
- Electronic Engineering: Cooling, Power consumption reduction
- Environmental - Flows in rivers, estuaries, oceans, atmosphere. Green Technology Design (i.e Wind turbines, Solar panels, Tidal Turbines)
- Manufacturing Engineering: Process / Waste improvements
- Marine Engineering: Loads on off-shore structures, Pollution control, Fire safety
- Meteorology: Weather prediction
- Powerplant / Turbomachinary: Flows and Combustion in IC engines and gas turbines, Fuel cell development
Lola Cars International Ltd is primarily a Motorsports company with a 50 year heritage but also an aerodynamic consultancy. CFD has been used by Lola since 1994 and has been developed and improved ever since. These days, Lola has a State-of-the-art CFD capability operated by experienced aerodynamicists using a powerful dedicated cluster for pre and post-processing of steady state and transient studies. The CFD process is fast, efficient and accurate having been developed through experience in the aerospace, defence and Formula 1 sectors. Lola’s aerodynamicists take great care to ensure that the CFD approach and process is fully validated through reference wind tunnel data. With constantly updated software and techniques, Lola are able to turn ‘full car’ solutions around quickly allowing aerodynamic design to take place in parallel with the wind tunnel.
1. Is it any good?
Yes! However, with computers, “Rubbish in = Rubbish Out”. We take
great care to ensure that the CFD process and results are correct by
validating CFD models with wind tunnel tests.
2. Is this the end of the Wind Tunnel?
Not yet! People have been saying this for a long time. CFD can do
things that the wind tunnel cannot do but in some cases the wind tunnel
can still do things better or faster than CFD. Using CFD in parallel with a
wind tunnel can lead to a very efficient design process.
3. How can Lola Cars International Ltd use CFD to help you?
Whether you have a Motorsport or other application involving
aerodynamic design, Lola Cars can use CFD to help you. We can offer
comprehensive cost-saving preliminary testing and simulation of
aerodynamic concepts. This could be as a one off study or part on an
ongoing design process with or without additional wind tunnel testing.
Alternatively, we can help improve your wind tunnel programme with CFD
testing upfront to identify directions. We have multi-user software
licences that allow for several concurrent studies.
4. How much does it cost?
Maybe not as much as you think! The cost for each project is based on
several factors and so please talk to us about your query and ask us for a