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CFD and the Olympics

Hi. You may have been wondering why I’ve been so quiet lately. Quite frankly I’ve been busy. Busy at work and busy during my downtime (which is when I do most of my thinking and writing for this blog). This has been a tremendous summer for those of us who are in London. First we celebrated the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations. Then came the Olympics.

Yes I stood in the cold and monsoon rain for more than 6 hours to get a 2-second fleeting shot of the Queen with my phone but I’m glad I did it.

The run-up to the Olympics was rather painful. West London wasn’t really affected by all the Olympic construction projects for the past few years so everything was normal until London Transport closed the M4 to fix a crack. The M4 is a pretty important motorway for getting traffic into West London so all the traffic for a week or so spilled on to neighborhood streets turning the last 3 miles of my commute into a living nightmare. According to the news, the officials had no choice but to close it. After the M4 reopened, my commute didn’t get better. It got worse. You see the athletes started arriving from the 4 corners of the world. Now I’m a friendly person but this was ridiculous. I started finding myself sitting in traffic next to buses carrying athletes for 2+ hours each night to go only 10 miles. Public transport wasn’t an option either since the same 10-mile commute would take me about 2.5 hours.  Each way.

By the time the opening ceremonies came quite frankly I was tired of the Olympics. But a funny thing happened. The men’s time trial road race course went right by the office so I took a break and joined the hundreds of thousands of people out on the street to cheer for them. It’s kinda difficult ignoring the roar of the crowds outside your window. We were away from the starting line so one of the guys used the office WIFI to stream TV coverage on his phone. Listening to the live TV broadcast, we heard the announcers talking about how all of these athletes had been to a wind tunnel to test their riding position and kit.  I even heard that the ladies’ Australian time trial team taped their hands to their handlebars in the pursuit of the most aerodynamic position.

I would have posted a picture of Wiggins or Froome but you've seen hundreds of them by now. This is Taylor Phinney who represented the US and got a hearty cheer from yours truly. Came in 4th.

Watching the riders was pretty exciting and after the last rider was out of sight we walked back to our desks with huge grins. The Olympics isn’t a pain. It’s CFD in action. And it’s pretty cool seeing the results of simulation and wind tunnel testing out on the road.

When it was time to go home the roads were still closed to traffic and the train station was jam packed with people so I decided to walk a couple of miles to the next town to take the bus home. The streets were full of smiling and cheering people and even the gates of Hampton Court Palace had been opened to the general public for a massive party. Bradley Wiggins had won Gold, Chris Froome had won Bronze for Team GB and Kristin Armstrong had won Gold for Team USA. It had been a good day for me and my host nation.  The 2.5 hour journey home was not so deeply bad for once.

The spectators enjoying a glorious summer evening in spectacular surroundings.

aerodynamics, wind tunnel test, CFD

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About Nazita Saye

Nazita SayeI have been involved with the CFD user community in one shape or another since 1999 -- when the NIKA team first introduced FloWorks to the engineering community. Over the years I've seen the market evolve and I still marvel at the wide range of products that are being designed with our tools. As the Manager of External Communications for the Mechanical Analysis Division at Mentor, it is my privilege to bring some of our customer stories to you. Visit CFD doesn’t mean Color For Directors

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Comments 2

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I see that the music from the opening ceremony is presently at number three in the download charts.

Chris Hill
7:07 AM Aug 3, 2012

That's pretty cool Chris. I have one word to describe that track - superb!

Nazita Saye
8:10 AM Aug 3, 2012

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