It’s no secret that the economic downturn is prevailing far longer than financial and economic pundits even predicted; layoffs in the mil/aero industry, like various other markets, continue. Companies are doing more with less, and requiring employees to multitask more than ever before. It is not uncommon today to find a single employee today handling the same responsibilities and workload of two or three positions.
This trend is especially true of engineers; mil/aero systems designers/architects are often handling various tasks once outside their realm of responsibility, and experience. At the Embedded Systems Conference (ESC), in fact, I met several mil/aero engineers scrambling for software solutions offering ease of use and automation, enabling them to do more in less time. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) tools were of particular interest—the more user-friendly and automated, the better. (After all, designers want to spend their time innovating in their chosen MCAD/MCAM/CAE package, rather than dealing with complex CFD algorithms.) Nonetheless, CFD is a critical part of a mil/aero product lifecycle.
As I witnessed what I now jokingly characterize as “the clambor for CFD”, I spoke with a number of people about the role of CFD in mil/aero applications. CFD software (a suite of which is available from Mentor Graphics, as described here ) has been instrumental in designing a better mil/aero electronics enclosure, unmanned aerial or underwater vehicle, aerodynamic aircraft, cooling/heating and ventilation system, smart munitions, aerothermodynamics and hypersonics (very cool), and much more. For what applications are you using CFD tools? This geek is quite curious.