Best Practices and Effective Habits for CFD

AEC simulations cover a broad spectrum of diverse and challenging applications. The guidelines discussed here will form the foundation for the successful implementation of CFD.

The fundamental objective of every simulation is to obtain reliable performance insight as quickly and efficiently as possible.

That said, the value of simulation results diminish significantly if they are misleading or not available for a critical design review meeting. Keeping in mind the following best practices and effective habits for CFD will help you meet your simulation objectives.

Understand the Problem and its Objectives

Before starting up CFD, sufficient clarity is needed on the application, inputs and desired outputs. What is the ultimate goal?  What assumptions can be made or not made?  What can change and what is “frozen.”  Where are the “keep out” areas? What physics need to be modeled?

Strategize a Path Forward

Evaluate the situation and determine the optimal approach and level of effort required.  How much CAD creation or modification is needed?  Can certain details be simplified without sacrificing fidelity?

Keep the Tool Sharp

Simulation CFD has an intuitive process and interface which can be readily recalled even when simulation is not a frequent occurrence.  Proper training is key to gaining proficiency, so that when the time comes, you will be ready to respond.

  • Basic knowledge of the User Interface (UI) components will allow recalling the work flow much easier.
  • Commit basic actions in the tool set to “muscle memory” by reviewing tutorials or previously completed models.
  • The guidelines laid out in the Keep Learning section are also a good reference to keep the tool sharp.

Start simple. Then build in complexity.

This approach is exemplified in this course, where the first exercise model is intentionally kept simple and complexity is added in later stages.   This is the preferred method of handling complex models—in parts rather than all at once.

Put On Your Engineering Hat

An advanced engineering degree is certainly not a mandatory requirement to use CFD, although knowledge of fundamental engineering principles is certainly helpful.  However, the key habits of engineers and analysts do apply here:

  • Resourcefulness - The initiative to learn this software on your own is just one example of the desire to expand knowledge and gain proficiency.  Attending webinars, online forums, reading books and searching for white papers are others. There are Simulation CFD forums here and use the software help for best practices.
  • Persistence - There will be obstacles along the way.  Being persistent (and resourceful to reach out for help) will get you quickly back on track.
  • Skepticism - Make sure the results make sense and that you can explain them.  If there is any doubt, run a separate test model or apply some basic hand calculations.

Additional Resources

There is an abundance of highly detailed technical information available on the online help, Simulatulation TV Videos, Simulation Support Hangouts, and also through web searches.

For your personal library, the following text books, or their equivalent, should be considered as references: