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The Winner of the Discovery Live Design Competition May Save Your Life

Discovery Live Design Competition logo

Earlier this year we kicked off the ANSYS Discovery Live Engineering Design Competition on the heels of the Discovery Live technology preview. Judging by the feedback and participation, it was a tremendous success. Many users shared stories of their simulation-aided design innovations and spoke of the knowledge they acquired from simulation — without the need for supercomputing. Initially, we selected three winners; in this blog, we wish to shine a spotlight on our first-place winner, Ninsight’s Michael Stadler.

A Need for Speed

Ninsight develops stents for the biomedical industry. Generally made of stainless steel or Nitinol, the stents expand the flow section of an artery partially blocked by stenosis. This condition is often caused by a poor diet that leads to a contraction of the lumen (blood-filled cross section of an artery). With human lives at stake, engineering simulation plays a vital role in stent design validation and performance under many different operating conditions. While critical, performing a thorough design analysis using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and finite element analysis (FEA) tools could take up to two months. Ninsight sought to streamline its development process by finding a way to validate only the best designs.

Ninsight stent designs using Discovery Live

Ninsight needed a design tool that would help it think outside the box. Whenever engineers had a new design idea, they found optimization through parameterization was of little value. They also discovered that performance changed very little after varying aspect ratios, as the essence of a design is still the same. Ninsight wanted to begin anew, to ideate and come up with a completely different design. Although simple in concept, this design process could be very time consuming. Often, engineers realized that their models required drastic changes that forced them to repeat the ideation process again and again.

Michael Meets Discovery Live

Michael was no stranger to NVIDIA and its graphic processing units (GPUs), CUDA programming interface and simulation technology. He’d previously utilized compute power from NVIDIA and programmed in CUDA to perform aerodynamic simulations and other modeling. However, the Discovery Live technology, which uses the latest GPU technology from NVIDIA, was certainly a breakthrough discovery for him. Geometry creation for Ninsight stent

Discovery Live helped Michael and other Ninsight engineers to digitize their concepts as fast as they could conceive them and obtain instant simulation results. They were able to run through 3D concepts, one after the other, using the direct modeling technology in Discovery Live. They could easily remove sections of a model, then quickly replace them with new, patterned geometry before ultimately merging all the elements together again. In running the FEA studies, the engineers were looking to balance the stent’s flexibility and rigidity. A stent must be flexible, with a minimum diameter to accommodate human movement. At the same time, if it’s too rigid, it can damage the inner lining of an artery and cause restenosis. Deflection studies on a stent in Discovery Live For the second optimization criteria, a CFD study, the engineers’ goal was to minimize any blood flow perturbations induced by the stent, which potentially could cause other pathologies. Michael loved being able to use the same geometry to perform the FEA and CFD studies, without having to make any changes: Switching from one study to another was seamless. He also studied the internal flow to observe the formation of vortices, which may lead to platelet deposition and possible restenosis. Because of the compute power in the thousands of cores available in NVIDIA’s GPUs, Michael was able to perform this study in Discovery Live and receive immediate results. Fluid visualizations for a stent in Discovery Live

Michael says that there was something missing in his toolbox before he found Discovery Live. During the initial stage of design development, the high-fidelity and accuracy of classic simulation tools is normally not needed. The precision of Discovery Live was up to the task at hand, as it allowed him to assess more design concepts in a “rough” way, before using higher- fidelity flagship tools like ANSYS Mechanical and ANSYS Fluent to validate his findings and fine-tune the designs. The result of implementing Discovery Live was a drastic improvement in Ninsight’s design process — an estimated 50-times time savings.

To learn more, check out ANSYS Discovery Live!