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Simulating Holiday Hot Chocolate: Gateway to Industrial Multiphase

Enjoying hot chocolate.

Regardless which holiday is on your calendar one thing is for certain: it’s great to get out of the cold to enjoy hot chocolate with the family.

I’m a chocoholic myself. So, when I watched a pot boil, I wondered how quickly I could simulate that using ANSYS Fluent.

While chatting with some colleagues about my idea, they noted that now would be a perfect time to play with the software.

It turns out that new workflows were on the way that streamline multiphase simulations. So, preparing the model now would give me a good baseline once these improvements are released.

Naturally, I took them up on the offer.

Simulating the Hot Chocolate on the Stove

Making hot chocolate.

I started off by measuring the pot I use to make my drink. It’s about 4 inches in diameter and 3 inches tall. I tend to fill it three quarters of the way to ensure it doesn’t boil over.

Using ANSYS SpaceClaim, I was able to model a pot with the same dimensions. I then brought the model into ANSYS Fluent to create the mesh and begin setting up the simulation.

When I was using the multiphase model I had to jump from panel to panel editing the phases and their interactions. I can’t say much, but the improvements I hinted at above will address this part of the preprocessing.

After the setup was complete, I was able to submit the job to the ANSYS Cloud to further speed up my simulation.

After post-processing the results, it looked a lot like what I see when I boil hot chocolate at home!

How Hot Chocolate Simulations Relate to the Real World

I must admit, this whole experience was a little silly. Other than learning the process, there isn’t much information to gain from simulating hot chocolate on the stove. However, in industry this simulation could be used to help optimize a whole production plant.

The hot chocolate simulation is a bit silly. But it can be a gateway to optimizing whole production facilities.

By simulating the multiphase process, engineers will be able to model everything from food production to chemical separations and metal casting.

With the information these engineers gain from their studies, they will be able to tweak their processes to maximize throughput, try alternative setups, reduce energy usage and minimize bottlenecks without risking equipment in the physical world.

To learn more read the application brief: The Challenge of Multiphase Flows in CFD Simulations.

Have a happy holiday, a happy new year and a nice cup of liquid chocolate!