Restrictions could benefit CFD

Flomerics, a Surrey-headquartered fluid dynamics simulator company, has suggested there are benefits to recent FIA restrictions announced on the use of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis software.

‘We believe that the Federation International de l’Automobile’s (FIA’s) limitation on CFD and wind tunnel testing will accelerate the trend towards use of CFD tools that accomplish more in less time by integrating simulation with the design process,’ said John Parry, research manager for Flomerics.

Almost all Formula One racing teams use CFD to optimise the aerodynamics of vehicle bodies. The FIA is concerned that better-financed teams have an unfair advantage because they can afford to use CFD with wind tunnel testing to tune vehicle aerodynamics, and so restrictions will limit the number of people involved in CFD analysis and the hardware performance of CFD computer systems.

‘We understand and accept the FIA’s reason for restricting wind tunnel testing since its high cost acts as a barrier to smaller teams,’ said Parry.

‘The FIA also decided to restrict CFD since it was concerned that resources would simply be shifted from wind tunnel testing to CFD if it did not act. This is unfortunate since high-profile applications such as Formula One racing have helped to drive the development of CFD and provide wider benefits. For example, CFD has had a major positive impact on the environment through its use to improve aerodynamics, fuel efficiency and hydrocarbon emissions in mass market automobiles.’

As fewer people will be allowed to work in CFD, Flomerics suggested that using CAD-embedded CFD software, such as its own EFD suite, should increase productivity:

‘The geometry never leaves the CAD system so the design can quickly be changed and re-analysed. Creating the computational mesh also requires no manual intervention – this is a time-consuming, tedious and error-prone job in traditional CFD software,’ said Parry.