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  • Inlet Duct Design Optimization with CFD Analysis

    David Heiny
    BlogCFDInlet Duct Design Optimization with CFD Analysis

    Fluid flow simulation can help produce a superior duct design in apparatus engineering in order to increase the performance of the overall system. This project provides a good example of the practical usage of CFD in plant engineering applications.

    The Challenge

    The installation situation of apparatus engineering devices can be critical for their performance. This project’s goal was to create a homogeneous flow field in front of the apparatus in order to enhance its performance.

    Inlet duct design - CAD model
    Inlet duct design CAD model

    Duct Design Inlet Duct Design Simulation

    Parallel to the duct design, the flow simulation capabilities of SimScale have been used to analyze the impact on the flow pattern for each design. It was possible to use the insights into the flow behavior gained from using SimScale to make early design decisions, without the overhead of testing and prototyping.

    Inlet duct mesh with SimScale
    Inlet duct mesh

    During the project, multiple simulations were carried out for multiple designs. One of the simulations took around 30 minutes on an 8-core machine. For a well-trained user, the simulation setup takes less than 10 minutes.

    The image below shows the integrated post-processing environment of SimScale with a streamline visualization of the velocity field.

    Inlet duct simulation with SimScale
    Inlet duct simulation

    Duct Design Simulation Results

    The results speak for themselves. The image below shows a color map visualization of the velocity field in the middle plane of two designs. The design on the left is the original version while in the design on the right, turning vanes have been added to the corner. The flow field near the outlet (on the left) is very inhomogeneous for the design without vanes. The reason for this flow behavior is the large recirculation region behind the corner of the duct. The design on the right shows a much more beneficial behavior: the airflow leaves the duct uniformly, which was this design project’s objective.

    Inlet duct simulation with SimScale platform
    Inlet duct simulation images

    The streamline visualization of the velocity field below illustrates the reason for the resulting flow behavior more clearly. In the design without turning vanes, a large recirculation region appears behind the corner; in this design, the efficient flow channel is reduced to almost half of the channel width. This shows that investing a small amount of time in simulation while designing an inlet duct can significantly improve the performance of the overall system.

    Post-processing image of an inlet duct design - Simulation with SimScale
    Post-processing image of an inlet duct design

    Sign up for a free 14-day trial and perform your own simulation with SimScale.


    Download this case study for free to learn how the SimScale CFD platform was used to investigate a ducting system and optimize its performance.


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