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Computers in analysis & design.

In a special issue devoted to heat transfer, two mechanical engineering professors discussed the state of computer simulation and the contributions it was making to understanding phenomena and optimizing design.

Although economics has been the primary driving force stimulating increased reliance on computer predictions, other advantages of the computational approach are important. Once a computer algorithm has been developed, a computational study can be performed with remarkable speed. A designer can study the implications of hundreds of different configurations in less than a day and choose the optimum design. The corresponding experimental investigation is likely to take a very long time.

A computer solution of a problem gives detailed and complete information. It can provide the values of all the relevant variables Isuch as velocity, pressure, temperature, concentration, turbulence intensity) throughout the domain of interest. Unlike the simulation in an experiment, there are few inaccessible locations in a computation, and there is no counterpart to the flow disturbance caused by the probes.

Severe operating conditions generally present no special difficulties for a computer simulation. Realistic conditions of temperature and pressure, for example, can be easily simulated. This is a very important advantage because it is not always possible to simulate true operating conditions for many applications of current interest in existing test facilities. For example, it is difficult to simulate atmospheric reentry conditions or the severe operating conditions found in some turbomachines in existing facilities. This suggests that the computational method has the potential of providing information not available by other means.

To be sure, computational methods also have limitations; among these are computer storage and speed. Other limitations arise due to our inability to understand and mathematically model certain complex phenomena. None of these limitations are insurmountable in principle, and the significant progress made in recent years in computational techniques and mathematical models shows reason for considerable optimism about the role of the computational approach in the future.

BY RICHARD M. FLETCHER OF IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY, CHAIRMAN OF THE ASME COMMITTEE K-12 OF THE HEAT TRANSFER DIVISION, AND SUHAS V. PATANKAR OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA

LOOKING BACK

COMPUTER HEAT

Thirty years ago, computer simulation was already a force in the study of heat-transfer phenomena and had begun to shed light into areas that were difficult to probe experimentally. This month's Vault selection is taken from the June 1983 issue.

GOING VIRAL

A few months after Richard Pletcher and Suhas Patankar's article appeared in Mechanical Engineering, the computer world saw a watershed event: the virus got its name. In November 1983, Fred Cohen, a grad student at University of Southern California, gave a demonstration during a computer security seminar at Lehigh University. He introduced his virus and took control of five computers, each in less than 30 minutes. The name "virus," he wrote in 1984, wasn't his idea, but was the inspiration of Leonard Adleman of USC.

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Title Annotation:TECH BUZZ // VAULT: JUNE 1983
Author:Fletcher, Richard M.; Patankar, Suhas V.
Publication:Mechanical Engineering-CIME
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2013
Words:478
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