With some more words: In a cooperation project* with the Institute of Fluid Mechanics and Turbomachinery at the Technical University of Kaiserslautern, CFD Consultants GmbH is currently developing a panel method for the fast calculation of aerodynamic coefficients of arbitrary 3D geometries.
The panel method shows its strength especially when many approximate aerodynamic calculations are required. With these methods, a large number of geometric and boundary condition variants can be carried out within a very short time, which would not be possible with other methods of fluid mechanics, neither economically nor in terms of time.
During the development of the program, special attention was paid from the beginning to a simple connection to existing meshing and postprocessing tools. Thus, the program can already be actively used for projects in the company CFD Consultants GmbH today.
The following is a short description of a typical project on an unmanned cargo aircraft using the panel method:
No special CAD programs are required for the generation of geometry. Typically, our company uses Rhino 3D, SOLIDWORKS or SpaceClaim.
The generated geometry is usually imported into a meshing program via an IGES or STEP interface. Since the panel method itself does not require meshing in the volume but only on the geometry surface, the three-dimensional outer contour can be meshed very quickly with appropriate grid elements, the panels and namesakes of the method.
A specially developed plugin in Pointwise is used to export the geometry in the format required for the panel method. Individual components can be identified by name and can therefore be specifically examined in later postprocessing.
The equation system can be set up and solved by the actual calculation program on a desktop computer. Larger hardware resources are not necessary. The equation solver has already been parallelized as far as possible for shortest possible computing times. With 16GB RAM mesh sizes up to about 20000 panels can be calculated within minutes. At the end of the calculation, flow velocities, force and pressure distributions as well as aerodynamic characteristics are available.
Via different export interfaces (VTK, CGNS, etc.) the calculation results can be visualized in a postprocessor like FIELDVIEW, ParaView or VisIT.