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Don't Mistake "Simple to Use CFD" for "Simple CFD".

I should add a word or two to my previous blog – “CFD … Or Not CFD”.
 
What does all this mean for the CFD itself? Does the self-perception at Flomerics that “we are not a CFD company” mean that the CFD itself is less important or gets less attention? Absolutely not! Actually the opposite is the case. One of our fundamental requirements has always been that the software can be used effectively by users without any CFD knowledge or expertise. This then leads to some very special challenges associated with the CFD itself.


There was, I believe, a tendency among some other CFD practitioners, to dismiss Flomerics in the early days as “second-class CFD” or “Mickey Mouse CFD”. And much more recently a similar charge has been levelled at Nika’s EFD software. In both cases, I believe that the perception resulted from a tendency to mistake “simple to use CFD” for “simple CFD”. The two are absolutely not the same thing. Indeed, I would argue that it is more difficult in many ways to provide CFD that is simple and safe to use by non-CFD-specialists than to provide general-purpose CFD software for use by “experts”.

Admittedly “application specific” software such as FLOTHERM or FLOVENT only needs to address one class of problems – but it needs to do this extremely well. It must be possible for a user to define the problem, perform the computations, and interpret the results, with virtually no knowledge of the subtleties of CFD – convergence control, grid generation, treatment of turbulence, wall functions, etc. All of these things need to be, as far as possible, handled automatically – that is, the developer takes ownership of them, rather than expecting the user to do so.

Most importantly, the software must produce “good results” – meaning converged, and “accurate enough” (that is, providing the required engineering accuracy) – consistently and efficiently, with minimal reliance on the user’s input or CFD expertise.

All of this provides particular challenges for the developer of the software, and imposes software quality standards that make the creation of “application-specific” CFD software just as challenging in its way as developing advanced general-purpose CFD software.

So – don’t mistake “simple to use CFD” for “simple CFD”!

History of CFD, Commercial CFD Industry

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About David Tatchell

David TatchellI qualified as a Mechanical Engineer at Imperial College, London, in 1968, and then went on to complete a PhD in Computational Fluid Dynamics (though it wasn’t called that back then). In 1972, I joined Concentration Heat and Momentum Limited (CHAM), which was then just beginning the commercial application of CFD. I was Deputy Managing Director of CHAM from 1979. In 1988 I left CHAM, with a number of others, to found Flomerics Limited. As CEO from 1988 to 2005, I saw Flomerics’ successful expansion to its worldwide market-leading position in the application of CFD techniques in the electronics industries and in the built environment. From 2005 I moved into the position of CTO. In 2008 Flomerics became the Mechanical Analysis Division of Mentor Graphics Corporation. Visit David Tatchell’s Blog

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[...] David Tatchell succinctly described it in his blog – Don’t Mistake “Simple to Use CFD” for “Simple CFD”. Since the acquisition of Flomerics by Mentor Graphics in 2008 our CFD technology continues to [...]
[...] However, as pointed out by David Tatchell in 2009, simple-to-use CFD tools does not necessarily mean over simplified CFD  (Don’t Mistake “Simple to Use CFD” for “Simple CFD”). [...]

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