Original Date: 05/08/1995
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Computational Fluid Dynamics
McDonnell Douglas Aerospace (MDA)-St. Louis applies a collection of methods and tools in Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) to solve the governing equations of fluid dynamics. The CFD group is responsible for providing the predictions of fluid or air flow based on complete mathematical solutions.
The CFD group is comprised of personnel with quantitative knowledge capable of understanding physical fluid dynamics, theoretical governing equations, mathematical models, numerical solutions, data visualization tools, and advanced computers used for computing the infrastructure. CFD provides an understanding of key fluid dynamic interactions with a three-dimensional description of flow. This data is used to help focus the design process and provide wind tunnel-to-flight corrections. The group can provide quantitative data at cruise conditions which is comparable to the wind tunnel. They are also able to provide unsteady flow predictions in simple cases for inlet dynamics, jet acoustics and dynamics, and cavity flowfields.
Presently, the CFD group uses Parallel Workstations, the NASA Cray C90, and Intel Paragon computers to do the extensive calculations required to construct a mathematical model of the airflow around aircraft and to be able to predict the influence of design changes. NASA supercomputers and a Heterogeneous Parallel System are projected for future use by the CFD group.
MDA-St. Louis used a CFD analysis to provide corrections to the aero performance database. The CFD prediction for the same program was delivered on a faster schedule than the wind tunnel and at 6% of the cost. The quality of the prediction was verified in separate reviews by MDA-St. Louis and the customer. Another program was able to use CFD to guide the aero optimization and loads database. The CFD group also provided performance and load increments for subsequent configuration changes to the same program.
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