CFD was originally developed by the aircraft industry to study the flow over wings and gather more data than was available through wind tunnel testing. The physical models that can be considered with CFD have expanded greatly in the last 20 years, but aerodynamics remains a primary application. The sleek shapes seen on today’s automobiles, aerodynamic devices on trucks and of course aircraft are all due to the integration of CFD from the very beginning steps of the design process.
With the development of free surface modeling techniques and the massive computing power needed to solve the models, CFD has also become integral to the marine industry. From power system development and optimization to designing the hull of an America ’s Cup contender so it will be just a little faster, CFD’s use in marine applications has expanded greatly in the last 5 years.
PMI has performed a wide variety of aerospace CFD analyses, including the analysis of rocket nozzles with near hypersonic exit velocities and the analysis of vehicle re-entry aerodynamics including disassociation of the gas due to the extreme temperatures. We are currently working on improving truck aerodynamics through the implementation of novel technologies.