Since the start of our thesis, it became very clear to us that if you wanted to study something in the area of fluid dynamics, CFD software would almost always be a necessity. CFD stands for Computational Fluid Dynamics and indicates the branch of fluid dynamics where one uses numerical methods and algorithms to solve problems instead of a practical approach in windtunnels. Mostly when studies are conducted, a CFD study is done as a start or means for optimization with an actual case study in a windtunnel for verification of the results.
When it comes to CFD software, there are 2 main names you come by very often, being ‘Ansys Fluent’ and ‘OpenFOAM’. Although both do a very good job, there are some key differences. For example, Ansys works with a license based package, has a very good GUI and is fairly easy to use. OpenFOAM however is an open source software, has a very limited GUI, mostly runs on scripts and runs on Linux, which makes it harder for starters to work with the software.
However, a third player is slowly but surely making its way into the market: Numeca. It’s a Belgian company located in Brussels which was founded in the 1992. They are nowadays present on a broad spectrum of industries, going from Aerospace to even Healthcare. The company started off as a Spin-Off of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and now has offices worldwide. One of the software’s that caught my eye was the ‘AutoGrid’ which is capable of applying a high quality mesh for a number of application. Since the results of CFD are highly dependent on the quality of the mesh, this tool is very helpful to increase the accuracy of the results, if used properly of course. A quick example can be seen below:
Chances are you will hear a lot more of this company in the coming years.