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Case Study

DuXion Simulates the Future of Electric Aircraft Propulsion with Ansys Tools


"DuXion prides itself in producing accurate models while iterating quickly, and there is no better way to achieve this than by using the industry-leading simulation software from Ansys. Utilizing Ansys TurboSystem and the Ansys Fluent suite, DuXion was able to iterate more quickly and get solutions that would have taken much longer otherwise. Incorporating Ansys into our design process has enabled us to create the new technology and believe in our solution."

— Sheikh Rabbi, Ph.D., Co-Founder & VP Electrical Systems / DuXion Motors, Inc.


Introduction

In the aerospace market, there is a major push to move toward electric flight to realize a cleaner future, reduce operating expenses and produce more reliable machines. Annually, billions of dollars are spent by major airlines on fuel consumption strategies, and there is constant pressure from governments and society to find a better solution. As such, DuXion has set out to develop a highly efficient, light and compact electric propulsion unit for several aerospace applications that range from passenger aircraft to UAVs. However, to be competitive in this market, companies need to move fast and prove their ability to comply with a robust set of rules and regulations.

Challenges

Due to the level of system complexity, approximations and rapid prototyping are not feasible options for creating initial design models for testing. Creating a design and being able to simulate it in an environment where every result is meaningful is essential to developing efficient and reliable machines. Ansys software was the logical, cost-effective choice to execute design analyses and optimizations while saving hundreds of hours of analysis time.

Engineering Solution

Ansys delivered a comprehensive set of tools for simulating the complex operation of an electric propulsion system and modeling the electrical, mechanical and thermal properties. Some of the core applications used in the Ansys suite include:

  • Dynamics Ansys RMxprt for quickly designing and optimizing preliminary electric motor models.
  • Ansys Maxwell and Ansys Simplorer to perform electromagnetic performance analysis of design models.
  • Ansys Vista TF and BladeModeler to generate preliminary 3D blade models.
  • TurboGrid for automatically generating high-fidelity mesh tailored to turbomachinery.
  • Mechanical APDL to conduct finite element simulations of the fan blades.
  • CFX and Fluent solvers to simulate the fluid flow through the fan blades/propulsion unit and determine maximum achievable thrust.

Benefits

DuXion sought to develop an optimized design for its electric propulsion units using accurate and reliable engineering simulations, thus avoiding the massive cost and delay associated with real-world prototyping and model testing.

Ansys engineering simulation software helped DuXion meet its goals in the following ways:

  • Quick design iterations in a fast-changing workplace, saving hundreds of hours of work and increasing the value of the intellectual property developed.
  • Lower operational costs to finalize a design before going into the prototype phase — a necessity for a startup.
  • Multi-goal optimizations, including unit weight reduction while maximizing thrust and efficiency.

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