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Case Study

Fluid-Structure Interaction Simulations Help CSIR-CMER's Solar Cells Withstand Wind Gusts


“Ansys AIM helped us to analyze the effects of wind speed on a solar artifact in a very short time, leading our conceptual design to reality in a few months.”

--Dr. R. K. Jain, Principal Scientist and P. Saha
Sr. Technical Officer CSIR-Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CMERI) / Durgapur, India


Introduction

With India’s large and growing population, the challenge of generating enough power to supply the people’s needs is great. Increasing the number of renewable energy sources can solve this problem. Aesthetically pleasing designs of solar cells (called “solar artifacts”) in the form of umbrellas (Attapatram) or trees (Surya Banaspati) can be placed in commercial or public spaces while maintaining the space underneath for productive or recreational uses.

Challenges

The solar artifacts developed by researchers at CSIR-CMERI had to fit into the available space and be able to withstand a range of wind speeds depending on the location (beaches, parks, river banks, roadsides, lawns of bungalows, etc.). The researchers needed to ensure that their artifacts would be strong enough to resist damage over a range of wind speeds without sacrificing their aesthetic design. 

Engineering Solution

CSIR-CMERI researchers chose Ansys solutions to run fluid-structure interaction (FSI) simulations to determine the effects of wind gusts on their solar artifacts. They used Ansys SpaceClaim and Ansys AIM for pre-processing, meshing, solving and post-processing in a single-window environment. With these tools, they:

  • Set up a complete FSI workflow in AIM for steady-state turbulent wind flow conditions, with total force mapping on solar panel structures for stress and displacement studies.
  • Simulated a solar artifact model under different structural load and wind flow conditions (80, 100 and 120 km/hr). The simulation results showed that the umbrella design can withstand all these wind conditions.

Benefits

  • Ansys AIM software provided a new immersive simulation environment that lowers the barrier to entry for engineering simulation analysis of solar artifacts.
  • AIM’s single platform, combined with its guided and customizable simulation processes, made multiphysics FSI simulation accessible to the entire engineering organization.
  • AIM’s ease of use and quick turnaround time enabled rapid completion of the FSI project. • CSIR-CMERI was able to offer this technology for licensing based on the simulation results.

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