The Innovative CFD FAQ: General CFD Questions

In this section of the Innovative CFD FAQ, I address questions that involve CFD in a more general sense (as opposed to specific applications).

What can CFD do for [a specific industrial process]?

This is an exceedingly difficult type of question to answer. In principle, if you have infinite time and budget, you can model everything about any fluid-related process. Obviously, no one has infinite resources, so the real question is: can CFD help you in your specific tasks? The answer to that is intimately related to the business environment that you live in.

Look at the physical processes involved in your business and identify those where fluid dynamics might be making a significant impact. With that in mind, ask yourself what you could do better if you knew exactly what the fluids were doing.

In some cases, the answer might be “nothing.” Or perhaps you could make improvements, but your customers don't really need them and don't care if you do. If this is the case, then CFD probably can't help you in a business sense. In other cases, knowledge of what the fluids are doing might enable you to make substantial improvements to your product in areas such as increased efficiency, reduced noise, improved durability, decreased pollution, or improved performance.

If that is the case, you might be able to evaluate the potential benefit of CFD to your specific business by looking at how much new business you could develop (or old customers you could keep) by taking advantage of the improved knowledge CFD offers. If you think an improved knowledge of the fluid processes affecting your product would give you a significant competitive advantage that would enable you, for example, to double your business, then it is probably worth taking a serious look at what CFD can do.

Analyzing the potential payoff in this way will allow you to estimate the possible bottom line benefits of using CFD, and that in turn tells you something about what you might be able to afford to spend on acquiring and maintaining the capability.

Could you explain grid generation/CFD/fluid dynamics to me?

Every once in a while I get a question which, on the surface at least, appears to be asking me to provide a masters degree program in an e-mail. Obviously, there is no way I can do that, though I suppose the site could eventually grow to provide a lot of what is being asked. For now, however, the best I can do is suggest you read the site first. Then, if your questions are still not answered, check out related entries at CFD Online and Wikipedia. Also, don't forget that Google is your friend!

When you are ready, you can return to the main CFD FAQ page.

Or, head back to the Innovative CFD home page and browse one of the other topics.

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