JUL 2019, Luma Bendini

Computational Fluid Dynamics easily explained

Understand the main concepts behind one of the most complex computer aided engineering technologies.

Watch the content instead of reading.

What is a CFD Simulation?

Can you see the air flowing around this flying bus? And can you picture the difference between these two computer-generated images?

On the left, there is a videogame snapshot. It is generated through a visual effect software, used for films, video games, and animations. You can see the air pushing the balloon and it looks pretty realistic. But, in reality, this is the picture on the right is the one that represents almost exactly how air flows around the balloon at this particular circumstance.

It is generated by numerical simulation software.

What you see on the picture of the right, is actually the visual aid for a lot of numbers working on a computer to try to solve one of the hardest equations ever discovered, the one that describes turbulent fluid flow. This is a Computational Fluid Dynamic simulation.

The goal of a CFD simulation is to predict on a computer the behavior of flow, like water or air, as it would happen in the real world. Behind the scenes of a CFD image, there’s a lot of mathematics, physics and computer science going on.

Meshing, solving and post-processing

In general, we can say simulations run in 3 different steps. All those processes can be really complex and require a lot of expertise. But, if you’re not a specialist you can still benefit from CFD technology by choosing an automated solution, that will require less manual work to generate accurate results!

3 steps of a CFD Simulations:

  • First the creation of a mesh that will define the domain of interest.
  • Secondly, the actual numerical simulation that will calculate the flow on that defined domain.
  • And lastly, the creation of images and movies to see and analyze the simulation.