CONSELF | Automotive
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Automotive

Growing fuel costs and more stringent environmental regulations, as well as demand for reduction in product and process development time and cost, impose vehicle manufacturers to re-design all vehicle systems in order to to maintain profitability and competitiveness while increasing product quality. A lot of areas are involved in the process: from aerodynamics, engine and transmission to vehicle body, passenger comfort systems and electrical and electronic systems.

 

Automotive R&D has to deal also with development of new solutions in powertrains of hybrid and electric vehicles by continuing to study new technologies such as batteries and electric motors.

 

Automakers must continually surprise the consumer with value-added high-tech functionalities. Safety features and smart technologies, from wireless communications to collision avoidance, requires engineers to exploit the power of virtual simulation to address these challenges in a fast, cheap, safe manner since the early design phase.

 

CFD has been integrated into the Automotive design process, shortening development cycles. Numerical simulation has revolutionized this industry, CAE is being embedded in all levels of industry, entering every stage of the engineering process. Early design evaluations and feasibility studies allow to recognize correct approaches and to identify inefficient and unsafe ones before committing to capital expenditure. Physical tests as well as number of prototypes can be lowered, leading to a significant cost reduction and faster time to market.

 

Typical applications areas include:

 

  • Aerodynamics: steady, unsteady, overtaking maneuvers, aeroacoustics
  • Powertrain: ports, piston, combustion system, ventilation, oil circuit, intake manifold, ducts, EGR injection, cooling system, variable tumble system, exhaust manifold, catalyst, brake
  • In-Cylinder: intake port, intake manifold, combustion chamber, piston bowl, HCCI/CAI, emissions, cylinder to cylinder, injection, knock, spark plug, spray and liquid film
  • Cabin: Passenger comfort, HVAC, soiling, de-ice/de-fog
  • Underhood: flow structure, underbody temperature, radiator, fan

Wind tunnels are the most common instruments for aerodynamic  investigations. Inside them it is possible to simulate a free-stream flow in which the object in scale is tested and a preliminary preview of its performances is provided. Although being very accurate, these tests require great investments both from the economic and the temporal point of view. Besides the wind tunnels managing costs, any company must consider the prototyping as well as the test settings costs and time, which definitely require great economic and organizational effort. CFD offers the best alternative, allowing to run the same tests in a virtual environment.

Flow through pipes and fluids transport is very common in modern industry world. In order to regulate such systems, valves and pumps are always used. Controlling this type of tools is fundamental when designing and calculating new systems, in order to match customer needs and comfort requirements.

Heat is a fundamental parameter when dealing with design. There is great number of applications interested in heat transfer, to mention a few:

 

  • Heat flux applied to structures to avoid fusion
  • Confined space temperature control
  • Convective heat transfers between two fluids without phase switch
  • Thermal shock due to turbulent fluctuations in structures

Nowadays research on enhancing energy efficiency is not only promoted as a matter of competition among companies but also as an improvement from an environmental point of view. Together with this objective, reaching efficiency targets in the shortest possible time and with the lowest expenditure is crucial in order to avoid to arrive behind competitors. The most modern systems for numerical simulations, and in particular CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics), are designed to achieve this goal. Precisely with CFD simulations it is possible to estimate the aerodynamics, and in general fluid dynamics, performances of products of any kind already during the conceptual  design.