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Flights of fancy spread their wings

It is a remarkable fact that turbomachines anywhere in the world are likely to have been designed using software developed in Cambridge by Professor Bill Dawes and ProfessorJohn Denton. The 'Dawes Code' and 'Denton Code' are now industry standards. Professor Dawes started using computational fluid dynamic (CFD) techniques to model fluid flows for aerospace applications back in 1976, shortly after the first calculations in this field were made possible by the development of computing power.

'In a sense,' he comments, 'we have solved most of the problems in CFD (apart from turbulence modelling). Using the technique of computational fluid dynamics, our understanding of aerospace systems and situations is improved and with improved understanding comes improved design. The only limit with these techniques is your imagination. An exciting trend now is to apply our models, developed using the rigorous and demanding approach required by the aerospace industry, to other areas.' With this in mind, a team of academics is combining to apply CFD to diverse problems ranging from explosions on oil rigs to particulate damage in lungs.

Finite volume meshes for an oil rig and plane prepared for a CFD simulation. Half the cost of an airline ticket is taken up with the cost of ownership; using CFD techniques, testing and design times can be reduced, and designs can become more adventurous.

'By sharing funds and access to equipment we can make significant impact on difficult problems,' explains Bill Dawes. 'When the physics of a problem is understood, we then have to provide a conduit between the fundamental modelling and the practical applications. For instance, on oil rigs, it is difficult to prevent the leak - spark - explosion scenario, but with good modelling, we can calculate safe strength levels for the structures, appropriate venting arrangements and siting of safe refuges to prevent major disasters. Even the difference between having latticed and smooth surfaces on a walkway can alter the speed with which a fire will spread.' Professor Ken Bray, Professor Ann Dowling, Dr Stewart Cant and Dr Mark Savill have joined forces with Bill Dawes to share some of their research in the CFD team.

Enquiries to Professor Bill Dawes Tel: (01223) 337590

number 6, summer '97 back | contents | previous | next