Ever “see” the air in Los Angeles?

If you’ve ever spent time in LA during the heat of summer, you’ve probably seen a thick brown haze of smog trapped by the area’s unique topology. Seeing the air (in that case) isn’t so pleasant. If you were in the business of developing blade servers jammed full of high power electronics, however, wouldn’t it be nice if you could actually see the cooling airflow throughout the cabinet?

Upfront CFD tools allow your design engineers to visualize airflow paths with virtual smoke traces and arrow plots. They can get a ton of design and performance insight right on their computer screen… long before building the first, real-life duct tape and cardboard mockup in the lab!

These colorful visualizations are “cool” and exciting… but they are a lot more than just pretty pictures and represent a huge competitive advantage for your business. Upfront CFD replaces much of the physical prototyping and testing in your engineers’ traditional R&D process. But hang on… before we get into the business implications, lets see a little actual “sexy”… take a look, for instance, at this video of upfront CFD airflow simulations in a jetliner cabin:

Moving these kinds of tweaks into the realm of CFD computer simulations could easily make those hundreds of test possible in a reasonable amount of time… and that’s great! But, the real power comes from the visualizations.

Question: When an engineer cobbles together a cardboard and bubblegum electronics rack for thermal validation, how does she know what made a component overheat?

Answer: She doesn’t.

She might have some guesses… but she can not see the air moving inside. She may have no idea that a chunky power supply upstream of the hot component has choked its airflow. If pressed for time, she might simply slap a fan with double the power at the inlet… a more expensive fan that doesn’t already exist in your parts bin… a noisier fan which mars the slick design styling of your offering… a more power hungry fan that derates your “green-ness” in the globally warmed eyes of the market.

By visualizing the airflow with upfront CFD, she could have immediately made the connection and focused her engineering attention on the actual culprit. Give your engineers the power of insight… don’t leave them guessing next to the test stand.