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CFD Can Do More Than Optimize Aerodynamics for a Greener Car

Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations are fundamental tools that can help to make automobiles greener by reducing emissions and increasing fuel mileage. Contemporary cars are complicated feats of engineering. They include many subsystems, so optimizing them for reduced emissions is a complicated task. As a result, engineers will want to bring these CFD simulations into their design cycle as soon as possible. One way to do this is to use simulation tools that are optimized for designers, such as Mentor Graphics FloEFD which brings CFD into CAD tools like CATIA, NX, Creo and Pro/ENGINEER. “The earlier you can add simulation into the design cycle the more time you have to optimize the whole device,” explained Boris Marovic, industry manager at Mentor Graphics. “You have a few months for your design cycle to get from the first ideas to the final product. If you run the simulation very late you might have one to two trials. If you do it early, you have more trials and are able to implement improvements faster and more often.”


Though intuitively this might sound like small savings they can add up over time. This is especially true with electronics that produce a lot of heat like headlights, infotainment systems or the power electronics in hybrid vehicles. Therefore, using CFD to size the cooling systems is an important emissions saver. To perform detailed electro-thermal simulations, you might need to use tools like FloTHERM XT which can read in electronic CAD (ECAD) data as well as mechanical CAD (MCAD) data. This way the printed circuit board (PCB) designs and power distributions as well as the housing or cooling unit can be imported into your simulation.

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