COMPUTATIONAL FLUID DYNAMICS ( CFD )
The CFD include numerous and interesting profits for the transportation, energy, civil engineering, medical and industrial sectors.
We are surrounded by gases and liquids, fluids that move around us, governed by equations, the Navier-Stokes equations. Equations, which despite having been formulated in the 19th century, have not yet been solved and are defined as one of the "millennium problems".
Even so, what is known is how to predict the behavior of fluids, and it is none other than using computers that by means of algorithms and numerical methods discretize the equations, allowing them to be solved in an approximate way. This is the basic principle of fluid dynamics simulation, known by its acronym in English, CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics).
Perhaps the best known application of these tools is in the study of vehicle aerodynamics. Even without leaving this sector, the applications are multiple. Not only can we use fluid dynamics simulation as a design tool to improve the aerodynamics of the vehicle and therefore reduce its consumption or to design elements, such as ailerons, that increase downforce; Instead, by means of CFD we can determine the noise levels, the air flow inside the vehicle, simulate the ventilation of the brakes, lubrication in the transmission systems, etc. It is important to clarify that when we talk about vehicles, we are not referring to competition cars, which is the first image that comes to mind when thinking about fluid dynamic simulation, but to any transport vehicle, from coaches, trains, airplanes, boats (in this case, the hydrodynamic simulation of the submerged part and the aerodynamics of the part exposed to the wind are usually done at the same time) or trucks, even elevators.
Furthermore, the reality is that the transport sector is only the tip of the iceberg, there are many sectors in which these tools have application.
One of the sectors where its use is very widespread is energy. The possibility of solving multiphase problems makes it a tool of interest in the Oil & Gas sector. In the field of renewable energies, it is used both to analyze flows in wind and hydroelectric turbines and to determine the distribution of loads and pressures, due to the effect of air, on solar panels.
In civil engineering, these tools allow to simulate the behavior of the air around buildings, bridges or any structure; or simulate the behavior of the waves in the case of ports. In addition, as it is done in the transport sector, its use is very important to analyze heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems in the interior.
Perhaps the least known use is that which has to do with the medical sector, where it is used, for example, for the design of stents, which are used to treat problems of the cardiovascular system; design of artificial valves or to optimize prostheses by simulating the lubrication between the parts that are in contact.
Regarding the industrial sector, it is used for the design of valves and other hydraulic elements, study of the behavior of fluid networks, heat exchangers, simulation of the cooling of electronic circuits, industrial refrigeration, molding and injection applications and to simulate operations of industrial mixing.
The use of CFD allows the solution of wide problems that occur in the industry, in addition to allowing notable improvements in design. Year after year, the use of these tools expands and allows access to solutions that were previously out of reach for most companies.