Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) – A Paradigm Shift for Better Design

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) for Mechanical Design Engineers


The following article is a collection of excerpts from a white paper on one of the FEA and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) services that Impac Systems Engineering (ISE) offers. After reading the white paper you will find that one of the benefits of CFD can help you predict performance to gain valuable insight and reduce the risk of failure, accurately predicting how your designs will respond to ordinary and extreme use. To discover more on how CFD can help your business, download the white paper at the bottom of this article.

Companies are striving to design innovative products while reducing the cost of product development and time to market. The pace of product innovation has also increased dramatically and is a primary contributor to companies’ overall profits and market share. Factors companies must address include increasing product complexity, the time and cost to create physical prototypes, and a lack of resources that can perform required analyses and simulations.

For several years, tools have been available to help designers through structural and kinematic analyses. However, today’s complex mechanical and electro-mechanical products increasingly require an understanding of cooling, hydraulics, and other fluid-flow issues. Performing comprehensive Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analyses is key to ensuring that products perform as required. As product complexity continues to increase, CFD will need to be used by a broader range of designers and engineers.
When a large group of CATIA, Pro/ENGINEER, Inventor, and SolidWorks users were asked why they didn’t use CFD, the most common responses were (1) “most mechanical design engineers don’t have the necessary expertise and knowledge to use a CFD code”, and (2) “most mechanical engineers are not aware of what CFD can do for them.” This reflects both a lack of education as to the value of CFD in designing better products, and the difficulty of using most CFD tools and solutions.


Graphics has introduced a CFD solution that is targeted directly at designers of mechanical systems as well as electro-mechanical products. FloEFD is the result of Mentor Graphics’ 2008 acquisition of Flomerics. Throughout its more than eleven-year development history, a key precept was that FloEFD should be easily accessible to non-specialist engineers. Mentor Graphics continues development of FloEFD with the strategy that it be available to non-specialist engineers within their MCAD environment.

Mentor Graphics, with its FloEFD solution, has taken a major step in moving Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) from the specialist domain to being a tool that designers and engineers can use to help develop better products faster. They have designed FloEFD to be used by non-specialist engineers within their native MCAD environment. Thus, it helps overcome the design complexity and timeliness issues raised earlier in this paper. Its user interface and wizards appear to be effective and straightforward for non-CFD specialists to use.