Multidisciplinary Design, Analysis & Optimization

Adaptive structures — those that can be reconfigured depending on the need at hand — require accurate and intricate testing to analyze interactions between various components. In such cases, in which a number of engineering disciplines must come together, the importance of integrated simulation software is critical.

Creating aircraft, ships and vehicles that are lighter and more efficient requires tightly integrated designs. The closer the components are to each other physically, the more likely they are to affect each others’ performance. So engineers must make multidisciplinary tradeoffs to optimize the performance of the system as a whole.

Consider the multiphysics example of determining the size, shape and material of an electronics control box mounted within the aircraft’s engine housing. The box will be subjected to severe mechanical and thermal loading conditions; it must withstand ambient heat produced by the engine as well as excess heat generated by electrical sources within the control box. To operate effectively at high altitudes, it must also withstand very cold temperatures. Severe loads come from high vibration. The control box must not break free from its mountings even in an engine failure (blade-off) condition. Finally, strict electromagnetic interference regulations must be met.

In such multidisciplinary applications, the work done by engineers from a number of sectors — including aerodynamics, electrical and structural — influences and informs the design as a whole. If a component is to function properly, it is critical to account for the interaction of the various disciplines.

ANSYS FLUENT, ANSYS Icepak and ANSYS Mechanical software packages provide designers with the tools they need to communicate across all disciplines, using one language. ANSYS incorporates a depth of capabilities in each discipline to accurately represent the physics, as well as breadth across disciplines and an integration framework to model and optimize the system as a whole.