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Unsteady CFD: Fundamental Changes in Analysis


Today’s low-cost computational resources have fundamentally changed the way we approach unsteady CFD analysis. These dramatic changes have seen the shift from steady-state analysis to the use of unsteady or transient simulations. Unsteady CFD allows engineers and scientists to study moving machinery and turbulence flows over a period of time under varying conditions. A look at vertical wind turbine design shows how we are working to improve quantitative capabilities and qualitative analysis for safe, cost-effective, and accurate engineering design.

Vertical Axis Wind Turbine

See our case study, Turning Up the Green Power with Tecplot 360 and Pointwise.

Unsteady CFD Requires Both Qualitative and Quantitative Understanding

As U.S. funding for ‘green’ power increases, wind turbine size is decreasing and going vertical. Small, quiet, easy to install, ‘green’ micro power devices have the potential to lower our carbon footprint. And perhaps more significantly, it can bring power to to many hard-to-reach rural areas. See our case study, “Turning Up the Green Power with Tecplot 360 and Pointwise.

Exploring these new turbine designs is possible because engineers can now choose the independent tools best suited for their unsteady CFD analysis. Automating the simulation process helps designers perform more complex analyses. For example, wind speed or vortex shedding as a function of time, and then make subtle changes in blade shape. Analyzing hundreds of simulations with tools tailored for the specific task results in more efficient designs. In this case wind turbines with higher torque and increased efficiency.

Animation Shows Dramatically Visible Results

While the growth of computational power led to unsteady CFD analysis, that alone does not guarantee a way for engineers to use and organize all the qualitative and quantitative data produced from their test runs. The video below shows how Tecplot 360 can deliver an integrated way to view the simulation and the data.

Whether you are working with ten solutions or hundreds, Tecplot 360 gives you a simple way to:

  • Organize your unsteady CFD data.
  • Create animations and plots.
  • Seamlessly post-process to evaluate your work.
  • View visualizations and the underlying data in one integrated screen.
  • Easily rearrange your layouts to communicate your results

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