What Is Computational Fluid Dynamics?

Understanding CFD

Computational Fluid Dynamics, abbreviated CFD, is where physics, mathematics, and computational software are applied to visualise how a liquid or gas flows as well as how it affects objects/things as it flows past them. CFD is based on Navier-Stokes equations which describe how pressure, velocity, density and temperature of moving fluids are related. This bears to question of What is computational fluid dynamics? It enables engineers and scientists in different fields create computer simulations by performing numerical experiments in virtual flow laboratories.

A branch of fluid mechanics, CFD uses algorithms and numerical analysis to analyze and solve problems involving fluid flows. Computers perform the calculations needed to simulate how gases and liquids interact with surfaces that are defined by boundary conditions. With advancement in technology, modern computational fluid dynamics software are now more accurate and faster when it comes to simulating scenarios like turbulent or transonic flows.

When it comes to computational fluid dynamics, the same basic procedures are adhered to in different applications. During pre-processing, the physical bounds (geometry) of the problem/project is defined. This is then followed by dividing the volume occupied by the gas or liquid is divided into a mesh which may be non-uniform or uniform. After this, physical modeling and boundary conditions are then defined. When all that is done, simulation is started and equations are solved in order as transient or steady-state. The post-processor is then used to analyse and visualize the resulting solution.

CFD has been around for some time now (since the early twentieth century) with most people knowing it as a tool for studying or analyzing air flow on aircraft and cars. However, one area it has become prevalent is in the tech sector. As the need for server rooms to be cooled has further complicated their cooling infrastructure, computational fluid dynamics has now become a very useful tool in data centers as it used to model air flow and analyze thermal properties.

CFD software generally requires information about the content, layout and size of a data center and uses this data to create a 3-Dimensional mathematical model on a rotate-able grid that can be viewed from different angles. Computational fluid dynamics can help administrators pinpoint hot spots and know where air is mixing or cold air is being wasted.

By changing variables, administrators can visualize how air will flow through the center under different circumstances. With this knowledge, it becomes easier for administrators to optimize the efficiency of the existing cooling infrastructure and to predict how effective a particular IT equipment layout will be.

Wen Wei Max

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