Solution techniques for any engineering problem must be appropriate to the problem at hand.
While, simple empirical relations can provide significant amounts of information regarding behavior of single specific components these often fall short when trying to analyze larger multi-component systems.
Pencil, Paper and Calculator
In the 21st century world of ever smaller, faster and more capable computers the first reaction is often to start throwing computer power at a problem. Many times the best approach is to get out the pencil, paper and calculator to gain a thorough understanding of the problem and which computation tool might be best suited to tackle a problem, prior to sitting down at the keyboard.
Engineering Equation Solver (EES)
Use of modern computer tools greatly speeds the solution of many engineering problems and also allows the engineer to do detailed “what if” parametric studies. One tool employed at Blue Specter to quickly solve many systems problems is Engineering Equation Solver (EES) a powerful general solver that has the added bonus of having the thermophysical properties of many common materials included in an internal library.
EES can be used to easily couple empirical relations or develop one or two dimensional numerical models of systems.
Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)
Twenty five years ago CFD was in its infancy and a discipline reserved for those with access to large mainframe computers. Today, CFD has arrived on the fluid engineers desktop. CFD can be utilized to analyze the most complex flow and heat transfer problems in three dimensions and if necessary, with respect to time. CFD is be used to develop highly visual plots of velocity, temperature and pressure (to name a few) properties in a fluid system providing insight that is often not available with any amount of experimentation. Blue Specter has twelve years experience with FLUENT CFD software.
Traditional Computer Programming and Numerical Methods
While there are many modern software tools that try to reduce the amount of time to a solution, sometimes the best approach is sit down at the computer, roll up the sleeves and write a program in one of the traditional high level programming languages. Blue Specter has extensive experience with Fortran, modest experience with C and basic MatLab experience.