Valve Sizing with Simulation: EJ Consulting’s CFD Story
The HUBZone program is a U.S. government program which recognizes companies that operate and employ in areas that, historically, have financial difficulties. Part of it is also our customer EJ Consulting Inc., a certified engineering firm located in Huntsville, Alabama.
EJ Consulting provides mechanical and systems engineering support to small manufacturing and aerospace firms. Its services include research driven product improvement, helping customers identify and justify optimization with engineering analysis and computer modeling.
Valve Sizing with Computational Fluid Dynamics
The engineers at EJ Consulting had an existing valve they needed to change the size of. Physical testing would have been difficult, pumping 200-1000 GPM and accurately measuring the pressure drop, flows, and forces, so creating a prototype was not a practical way to go.
“We knew that if we did not use CAE (Computer-aided Engineering), we would need to estimate the flow from similar valves, and not alter the design. We anticipated the simulated valve would perform better.”, said EJ Consulting engineers.
To find the right dimensions in the valve sizing process and assess its performance, they chose the SimScale simulation platform for both CFD (incompressible flow) and FEA (static analysis). The company modeled 7 different valve sizes at 5 different positions (35 meshes). This required approximately 105 simulation runs for various velocities.
A CAD software was used to create the flow volume; 6 pipe diameters upstream and 10 pipe diameters downstream, where pressure taps would be installed in a physical test environment.
The biggest challenge our customer faced was setting Hex dominant refinements for each trouble area of the mesh. “Using Hex dominant refinements proved accurate, but costly, results when using it for individual problem areas. As an alternative, we compared the results to the tetrahedral mesh with layers and confirmed the results were applicable and useful. Having both processes allowed us to confidently navigate between an economical simulation process and the most accurate method.”
Why was SimScale Different?
With SimScale, once the engineers had a good mesh design, they run 5 simulations simultaneously. Once started, they could work on something else in the meantime, since the analysis were not consuming their machine power, like it happens with traditional simulation software.
Most of the simulations run on a single core and took about an hour to complete. For the hex meshes, our customer used 8 cores to provide enough memory and computational power. Despite this, the calculation took 2 hours due to the increased complexity of the system.
“With the simulations done on SimScale, we characterized the valve (original goal), and gained much greater in sight to the interaction between the valve and the fluid at each valve position. This will help us provide a better analysis in the future. SimScale has proved to be for the firm a flexible and scalable tool for our valve sizing project, which was critical for a HUBZone firm.”
EJ Consulting’s team is planning to build the future by employing and developing HUBZone employees and making a difference in their community. As for Cloud-based simulation software, it turned out to be what they hoped for: an easy and accessible way to perform reliable simulations.
If you want to give SimScale a try, a 14-day free, no-commitment trial is available on the website.