The development of small modular nuclear reactors, or SMR’s, is a complex task that involves balancing the thermodynamic performance of the entire system. Flownex is the ideal tool for modeling pressure drop [flow] and heat transfer [temperature] for the connected components of a complete system in steady state and transient, sizing and optimizing pumps or compressors, pipes, valves, tanks, and heat exchangers.
To highlight this power and capability, PADT and Flownex will be exhibiting at the 2016 SMR conference in Atlanta where we will be available to discuss exciting new Flownex developments in system and subsystem simulations of SMRs. If you are attending this year’s event, please stop by the Flownex booth and say hello to experts from M-Tech and PADT.
If you are not able to make the conference or if you want to know more now, you can view more information from the new Flownex SMR brochure or this video:
Why is Flownex a Great Tool for SMR Design and Simulation?
These developments offer greatly reduced times for performing typical design tasks required for Small Modular Nuclear Reactor (SMR) projects including sizing of major components, calculating overall plant efficiency, and design for controllability
This task involves typical components like the reactor primary loop, intermediate loops, heat exchangers or steam generators and the power generation cycle. Flownex provides for various reactor fuel geometries, various reactor coolant types and various types of power cycles.
Flownex can also be used for determining plant control philosophy. By using a plant simulation model, users can determine the transient response of sensed parameters to changes in input parameters and based on that, set up appropriate pairings for control loops.
For passive safety system design Flownex can be used to optimize the natural circulation loops. The program can calculate the dynamic plant-wide temperatures and pressures in response to various accident scenarios, taking into account decay heat generation, multiple natural circulation loops, transient energy storage and rejection to ambient conditions.
The developers of Flownex have been hard at work again and have put out a fantastic update to Flownex 2015. These additions go far beyond what most simulation programs include in an update, so we thought it was worth a bit of a blog article to share it with everyone. You can also download the full release notes here: FlownexSE 2015 Update 1 – Enhancements and Fixes
What is Flownex?
Some of you may not be familiar with Flownex. It is a simulation tool that models Fluid-Thermal networks. It is a 1-D tool that is very easy to use, powerful, and comprehensive. The technology advancements delivered by Flownex offer a fast, reliable and accurate total system and subsystem approach to simulation that complements component level simulation in tools like ANSYS Fluent, ANSYS CFX, and ANSYS Mechanical. We use it to model everything from turbine engine combustors to water treatment plants. Learn more here
A lot went in to this update, much hidden behind the scenes in the forms of code improvements and fixes. There are also a slew of major new or enhanced features worth mentioning.
Shared Company Database
One of the great things about Flownex is that you can create modeling objects that you drag and drop into your system model. Now you can share those components, fluids, charts, compounds, and default settings across your company, department, or group. There is no limit on the number of databases that are shared and access can be controlled. This will allow users to reuse information across your company.
Static Pressure Boundary Conditions
In the past Flownex always used a total pressure boundary condition. Based on user requests, this update includes a new boundary condition object that allows the user to specify the static pressure as a boundary condition. This is useful because many tests of real hardware only provide static pressure. It is also a common boundary condition in typical rotational flow fields in turbo machinery secondary flow.
Another turbo machinery request was the ability to break cavities up into several radial zones, giving a more accurate pressure distribution in secondary flow applications for Rotor-Rotor and Rotor-Stator cavities. These subdivisions can be automatically created in the radial direction by Flownex.
Excel Input Sheets and Parameter Tables
The connection between Microsoft Excel and Flownex has always been strong and useful, and it just get even better. So many people were connecting cells to their Flownex model parameters that the developers decided to directly connect the two programs so the user no longer has to establish data connection links. Now an properties in Flownex can be hooked to a cell in Excel.
The next thing users wanted was the ability to work with tables of parameters, so that was added as well. The user can hook a table of values in Excel to Flownex parameters and then have Flownex solve for the whole table, even returning resulting parameters. This makes parametric studies driven from Excel simple and powerful.
Users can now create component defaults and save them in a library. This saves time because in the past the user had to specify the parameters for a given component. Now thy just drag and job the existing defaults into their model.
Compound components have also been enhanced by the development team so you no loner have to restart Flownex when you move, export, or import a compound component.
Find Based on Property Values
Users can now search through properties on all the objects in their model based on the value assigned to those properties. As an example, you can type > 27.35 to get a list of all properties with an assigned value that is larger than 27.35. This saves time because the user no longer has to look through properties or remember what properties were assigned.
Network Creation through Programming
Users can now write programs through the API or scripting tool to build their network models. This will allow companies to create vertical applications or automate the creation of complex networks based on user input. Of all the enhancements in this update, this improvement has the potential to deliver the greatest productivity improvements.
Automatic Elevations Importing in GIS
Users who are specifying flow networks over real terrain can now pull elevation data from the internet, rather than requiring that the data be defined when the network is specified. This enhancement will greatly speed up the modeling of large fluid-thermal systems, especially when part of the simulation process is moving components of the system over terrain.
Multiple Fluid Interface Component
A very common requirement in fluid-thermal systems is the ability to model different fluids or fluid types and how they interact. With this update users can now model two separate fluid networks and define a coupling between the two. The mass balance and resulting pressure at the interface is maintained.
Static Condition Calculation Improvements
Many simulation require an accurate calculation of static pressures. To do this, the upstream and downstream areas and equivalent pipe diameters are needed to obtain the proper values. Many components now allow upstream and downstream areas to be defined, including restrictors and nozzles.
The ability to create a scale 2-Dimensional drawing was added to Flownex. The user can easily add components onto an existing scaled drawing that is used as a background image in Flownex. These components will automatically detect and input lengths based on the drawing scale and distance between nodes. This results in much less time and effort spent setting up larger models where actual geometric sizes are important.
How do I Try this Out?
As you can see by the breadth and depth of enhancements, Flownex is a very capable tool that delivers on user needs. Written and maintained by a consulting company that uses the tool every day, it has that rare mix of detailed theory and practical application that most simulation engineers crave. If you model fluid-thermal systems, or feel you should be simulating your systems, contact Brian Duncan at 480.813.4884 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We can do a quick demo over the internet and learn more about what your simulation needs are. Even if you are using a different tool, you should look at Flownex, it is an great tool.
Simulation has revolutionized flow and heat transfer dependent systems over the past decades by minimizing costly physical testing and accelerating time to operation around the world. But for many companies, such simulation has largely focused on components and proved to be very time consuming. The technology advancements delivered by Flownex SE now offer a fast, reliable, and accurate total system and subsystem approach to simulation.
With the release of FLOWNEX 2015, users now have access to advanced combustor system level modeling and they can interact with more system and component simulation tools. This is on top of the already considerable capabilities found in the tool
Gas Turbine Combustor Heat Transfer Library
During the Preliminary design phase or when considering modifications to existing combustor designs it’s essential to make realistic predictions of mass flow splits through the various air admission holes, total pressure losses liner temperatures along the length of the combustor etc.
Although very powerful, 3D CFD solutions of combustors are specialized, time consuming processes and therefore are seldom exclusively used during initial sizing of a combustor.
It has been demonstrated that 1D/2D network tools, like Flownex, are capable of predicting with reasonable accuracy the same trends as more detailed numerical models.
The advantage, however, is Flownex’s rapid execution, which allows design modifications and parametric studies to be conducted more simply than ever before. The ease of use and incredible speed of Flownex allows 1000s of preliminary designs to be evaluated under all modes of operation for steady state and dynamic cases. Furthermore, the data obtained from the one-dimensional analysis can be used as boundary conditions for a more detailed three-dimensional model, ultimately supplementing a typical combustor design work flow.
While the simulation of combustor systems was previously possible in the Flownex environment, much of the work of implementing industry standard heat transfer correlations was left to the user through scripting .Now in Flownex SE 2015 it’s all been built in to the tool, while maintaining the flexibility required to model any combustor configuration.
New components include
Film convection component
Fluid radiation component
Jet impingement heat transfer component
To sum up Flownex allows more accurate initial designs, less time is spent on advanced 3D combustor simulations and rig tests, thus reducing development time and cost.
Here is a Video that shows off these features:
Added importers and integration features
AFT Fathom/Impulse/Arrow importer
An importer was added to import the file formats of AFT products. The importer imports all the diameters, loss factors heights, etc. so 90% of the effort is done, and in some cases the networks solve without any modifications.
ROHR2 Integration (pipe stress analysis software)
Flownex has the ability to calculate forces during dynamic simulations. This is very useful in pipe stress analysis for surge or water hammer cases. The ability to import complete geometries from ROHR2 and export results in the format that ROHR2 expects natively has been added. This means a user can perform these combined analysis now with ROHR2 with the minimum of effort.
An Importer was added to import liquid and gas properties from CoolProp an open source fluid property library. The existing Aspen/Hysys fluid importer was changed to be a generic Cape-Open compliant importer. This means that fluid properties can now be imported from any Cape-Open compliant server software.
A group of enthusiastic students at the University of Houston are doing their part at solving that age old academia problem: not enough hand’s on experience. They are designing and building a working steam turbine for the schools Thermodynamics lab so students can experiment with a Rankin cycle, learn how to take meaningful measurements, and study how to control a real thermodynamic system.
After meeting a team member at the 2014 Houston ANSYS User conference, PADT saw a great opportunity to help the team by providing them with access to a full seat of Flownex SE so that they can create a virtual prototype of their steam turbine and the control system they are developing.
The four team members have the following goals for their project:
Create a fully automated system control
Create system with rolling frame for ease of transport
Create system with dimensions of 4x2x3.5 ft
Deliver pre-made lab experiments
Produce an aesthetically pleasing product
Flownex should be a great tool for them, allowing the team to simulate the thermodynamics and flow in the system as well as the system controls before committing to hardware.
You can learn more about the team on their Facebook page here, or on their website here.
We hope to share their models and what they have learned when their project is complete. If you are interested in using Flownex for your work or school project, contact PADT.
The June release of Flownex SE software includes numerous updates for companies that model thermal fluid systems; videos and webinars are available to showcase the impact of these enhancements.
Flownex SE has increased the ability of engineers to accurately model their fluid-thermal with the release of version of Flownex 2014 on June 19th, 2014. The program is known for its in ease of use, breadth of capability, and depth of functionality. With enhancements in turbomachinery modeling, support for 3D networks, GIS data import, heat transfer and a myriad of additional new features impacting efficiency, integration, and automation, this release expands the industries that can take advantage of it, and will help current users model their systems more accurately with greater ease.
To help the user community understand the impact of these significant enhancements, PADT is offering two webinars. Both webinars will include a brief introduction to the tool, so if you are new to Flownex SE you will have a good foundation to get started.
Overview webinar: July 24, 2014, 1:00-2:00 PM MST
This webinar will focus all of the new features in Flownex SE 8.3.6. Register here.
This webinar will be a deep dive into the extensive turbomachinery capabilities added in this release, and will be of interest to anyone simulating turbine engines, pumps, blowers, or other rotating machinery that involves fluids. Register here.
All registrants will be sent links to recordings so they can view the presentation even if they cannot attend them live.
A video is also available that hits the important new capabilities:
If you are new to Flownex SE, visit PADT’s Flownex page to learn more:
The key features introduced in Flownex 2014 (Flownex SE 8.3.6) are:
Rotating components, Swirl Boundary, and General Turbine and Compressor Models
Importing and Geometries
GIS File Support
Connections to ANSYS Products
Link to Mathcad
Graphical Script Generation Tool
New Designer Tools to Quickly Model Common Systems.
Additional Enhancements ranging from 3D Graphs to Support for Miter Bends in Piping
Visit here to see a detailed list of these key features, or download the complete release notes here.
These additional features reflect the growing diversity of industries that are using Flownex SE to model their systems. Users in oil and gas, mining, chemical processing, and turbomachinery will all see additional accuracy, functionality, and efficiency from this release. Built on an existing strong foundation that offers un-paralleled capability with intuitive ease of use, a short look at Flownex SE will show you why so many users around the world are choosing it as their thermo-fluid modeling tool.
PADT is the distributor of Flownex SE in the United States. Our experienced staff is eager to discuss your system modeling needs and is ready to show you how Flownex SE can start delivering value almost immediately. Contact us today to meet with our experts.
We are pleased to announce the release of Flownex SE 2014. This is a very exciting release for all of us involved in Flownex because it introduces a mix of advanced features and usability enhancements – we love better and easier. We will be publishing more information about this release, as well as videos and webinars. While we set all of that up, we wanted to whet everyone’s appetite and give you a list of what we feel are the 10 most important enhancements.
Rotating components, Swirl Boundary, and General Turbine and Compressor Models A new library has been added which models rotating flow on a system level. Focusing on secondary flow and heat transfer in turbine engines, it includes all the components needed including compressors, turbines, seals, gaps, nozzles, and cavities. A complete library for Steam Turbine modeling was also added.
Importing and Geometries Users can read in 2D and 3D layout files in common formats and directly create Flownex models from the geometry. The model and results can then be visualized with the 3D geometry.
GIS File Support When modeling systems that cover a large area, such as water or gas pipelines, the geographical data can be imported for display and to automatically include altitude into the model.
Connections to ANSYS Products Users can import 3D Pipe geometry as an ANF file, and connect to ANSYS Mechanical and ANSYS Fluent for co-simulation.
Link to Mathcad Users can transfer parametric data to and from Mathcad worksheets
Graphical Script Generation Tool Users can use Quick Script to create complex scripts to customize their processes or models without having to learn the full scripting language
New Designer Tools to Quickly Model Common Systems. Designer tools atomically iterate on a user’s model to calculate unknown values for them. This release includes tools for calculating mass flow when only pressure is known at a boundary, automatically calculating steady state conditions in a two-phase tank, and a component designer that calculates input parameters for common components so that those components deliver the users requested mass flow.
Five Additional Convection Models Based on user input, five new models were added to the Dittus-Boelter correlation for calculating heat transfer coefficients: tube, shell-side single phase, shell-side horizontal tube condensation, ribbed wall channel, and channel with pedestals.
Exit Thrust Nozzle Added New model in subsonic and supersonic flow at the outlet of a flow network with gasses and superheated fluids
Additional Enhancements: Support for miter bends in piping 3D graphs Radiation supports multiple surface enclosures The range of methane two phase fluid was increased Support for 64 bit Several more values can be changed during a transient solution
The best way to learn more about these additions, or anything about Flownex, is to contact Roy Haynie at email@example.com or 480-813-4884. There is also some more detailed material here: