Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is a core part of the design of products that involve the movement of liquids, gases, or other flows. It involves analyzing optimal paths under boundary conditions to ensure that various materials can move through correctly without any issues. CFD is especially helpful when there is turbulence, particulate matter, or heat involved.
In the past, many fluid dynamics problems were solved using expensive and time‑consuming experiments in wind tunnels. Without resorting to physical modeling, the required math is complex, making it difficult to achieve optimum results without the use of specialized software applications which until recently, required the use of supercomputers. Now, however, there are powerful solutions within the reach of most organizations. Two of these, FloEFD and Fluent, have emerged as leaders in the field. Here’s a rundown on how they stack up.
Computational Fluid Dynamics: Tie Score
ANSYS Fluent has been around for several iterations, and it has an impressive array of built-in capabilities for geometric idealization, modeling, materials, topologies, and structural configurations. Depending on the modules you choose, it can factor in such complex variables as vibration, optics, stresses or electrical and thermal factors. In fact, the solution may be overkill for many applications since the multitude of choices can be extremely complex and may require the use of the supercomputers, putting it out of the reach of some organizations.
FloEFD is designed to help engineers take their CFD simulations into the early phases of the design process. To assist in making this process simpler, FloEFD is built into many of the most popular 3D CAD systems in use today, including our favorite, PTC Creo. (It also integrates with CATIA V5, Siemens NX, Solid Edge, and SolidWorks.) Users don’t have to log in to separate applications to do their analysis, and the solution runs well on standard workstations.
Both systems include capabilities to support:
- Turbulence modeling
- Heat transfer and radiation
- Multiphase flows including boiling
- Non-reacting flows
- Flows with particulates
- Fluid-structure interactions
- Immiscible (non-homogeneous) flows
- Advanced hypersonic flows
- HVAC design
- Electronics cooling
- LED and PCB designs
Both FloEFD and Fluent have the advanced CFD features that you need to complete complex simulations while taking into account an array of variables.
Fluent has an impressive array of industry capabilities, with offerings for academic, aerospace and defense, automotive, construction, consumer goods, energy, healthcare, high-tech, industrial equipment and machinery, and materials and chemical processing.
FloEFD has built-in capabilities to meet the needs of a diverse range of industries, including aerospace and defense, automotive, plant, process, power and manufacturing. Since many requirements are the same across all these industries, FloEFD includes them all in a single version, unlike Fluent which requires the licensing of specialized industry add-ons.
FloEFD has the capabilities to serve a wider variety of industries and serves them under a single platform without additional licenses and add-ons.
Languages and UI Advantage
Fluent offers limited support and documentation in Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean and Spanish, but most of the material in its research library is in English. English is the international language of engineering, so this may not be too much of a hardship. However, the software itself is available with a single language UI, which can slow down engineers and reduce productivity.
FloEFD is available in local languages, including Japanese, Chinese, Korean, French, German and Russian as well as English. This multi-language capability covers support and documentation, as well as the product’s UI, so it can simplify learning and using the system, especially with today’s far-flung engineering teams. The ability to learn and use the software in one’s native language helps improve usage and productivity.
FloEFD offers the software as well as supporting documentation in numerous languages which can speed up training and increase productivity.
Investing in software can speed up time to market and improve quality, but only if users can grasp and interact with the application’s functionality quickly and easily. If not, the software becomes an expensive drain on productivity and can slow down critical projects. FloEFD, embedded in Creo, provides the simplest way for users to access advanced fluid dynamics calculations. The UI is familiar, since it uses Creo’s graphical UI, and it allows engineers to conduct their design studies in the same environment where they do their designs, without worrying about data translations or imports. There is no need to understand the complex mathematical principles since built-in wizards guide the user through problem set up. When the analysis is finished, the product displays results quickly and intuitively. It can export its analysis to such user-friendly tools as Microsoft Excel or Word, although there is no requirement to do this to achieve the necessary results.
Fluent, on the other hand, is more complex to learn and to use. It assumes the engineering team will want to decide on the algorithms to use, meaning they must have an extremely advanced understanding of the math involved as well as the problem they are attempting to resolve. And since Fluent is a standalone product, engineers must upload data from their 3D CAD to Fluent and then import it from Fluent to CAD when the work is done.
FloEFD is easy to understand and integrates into Creo, the leading CAD platform.
CFD Comparison: Who wins in the FloEFD vs Fluent battle?
If you are from an organization like NASA, with a horde of number-crunching engineers at your disposal, you may want the sophisticated and complex capabilities and interactions of Fluent, but for most organizations, FloEFD will be a better choice because of its simple easy to understand UI and its connectivity to CAD solutions. Of course, as a FloEFD reseller, we are a little biased but we often find that our manufacturing engineers prefer the ease of FloEFD.
If you’d like to learn more about CFD and the varied capabilities of solutions on the market, contact us today.