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Trying out Simscale

Trying out Simscale

Trying out Simscale

I recently contracted a company to carry out some CFD for a project that needed some detailed analysis related to turbulence and boundary layer thickness on an aircraft.
In the process of getting that work done, I discovered two things:
  • I really don't know enough about CFD to give a subcontractor reasonable instructions or expectations,
  • If my CFD subcontractor provides me with garbage results, I had better be able to know.
So in order not to suffer through an ordeal like that again, I've started to teach myself about CFD. It's like learning a whole new language. "Why plus" and "Kay omega" and all that funny jargon. I have a good grounding in aerodynamics, which helps a lot. In fact, it was being provided with a CFD result showing no boundary layer separation on the top trailing edge of a wing that raised my alarm.

I chose Simscale to start because:
  • It's free
  • It uses OpenFOAM
  • I've actually heard of OpenFOAM (from other respected Eng-Tips members)
With nothing more than that to go on, I got started, and have been working my way through some tutorials as best I can.
Can anyone recommend tutorials or demonstration videos that would be helpful? I am looking at aerospace applications, hence, external flows of air.
(I already have access to FEA structural analysis software, but if I can get comfortable with the Simscale interface, I may try that later.)

I have watched some of these workshop videos from EuroAvia and they leave a lot to be desired.
The presenter has very few educational slides prepared in advance, and during the software usage phase, he does not describe the steps he is taking.
The worst part is that the interface of the Simscale site has changed, so finding the function being used in the video is not always obvious.
Even when the tutorial shows you specifically what to do, some of the nomenclature and options used in the configuration have changed since it was made, so it takes some hunting.


No one believes the theory except the one who developed it. Everyone believes the experiment except the one who ran it.

RE: Trying out Simscale

Aha: much better tutorials at Simscale Academy
(I don't know why I didn't find these first).

Much more detail, so it will take >5 hours to take in the theory and introductory material before really knowing where to "click here". Which is what I'm looking for anyway...

No one believes the theory except the one who developed it. Everyone believes the experiment except the one who ran it.

RE: Trying out Simscale

cfd-online has a fairly active user forum and links to education resources for both the commercial codes and OpenFoam. From the little bit of CFD work I have done, some years ago, I can say this: it is a very deep rabbit hole with a lot of tribal knowledge. As of 15-20 years ago its ability to make (useful) a-priori predictions of external airflows (at typical Re conditions for human scale activities) was limited at best. There are a lot of knobs to twist (solver type, mesh details, turbulence models...) that are interlinked, and there are no truly clear ways to validate solutions in the absence of real data. I used to kibbitz in the modelling of internal flow fields, and loved to sketch my streamlines on the whiteboard for a given problem. My hand drawings from my internal flow field modeller (Brain 1.0) were about as good as the first few runs of the CFD code (NPARC).

I like that SimScale lets you play for free. Have fun, you will definitely learn something.


RE: Trying out Simscale

Thanks Btrueblood,
Most of the google searches I do on various terminology lead me to the CFD Online website. I have read though a number of articles there already, but, of course, I will have to return later to read again because I know I'm picking up only a fraction on each pass. smile

Hey, look, they even have a jobs database. And it's up to date!

No one believes the theory except the one who developed it. Everyone believes the experiment except the one who ran it.

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