Additive & Structural Optimization Updates in Ansys 2021 R2 – Webinar

Minimize risk and ensure high-quality, certifiable additive manufacturing parts with Ansys’ comprehensive and scalable software solution. Create and optimize designs for topology, lattice optimizations and more.

Ansys Additive Solutions, a comprehensive and scalable software solution, allows you to minimize risk and ensure high quality, certifiable parts. Dive deeper into the properties of your printer parts, ensure traceability of your data, optimize build files and more.

Join PADT’s Lead Mechanical Engineer and additive expert Doug Oatis for an in depth look at what’s new in the latest version of Ansys Additive.

This release Additive Solutions enhances speed and workflows for users. Users will experience a significant improvements in accuracy across the Additive Solution products.

Update highlights include: 

  • Faster solve times & improved user workflows

  • Increased accuracy & numerical consistency owing to changes to meshing defaults and improved robustness

  • Speed improvements in additive microstructure simulations​​​​​​

  • ​​​​And much more

Register Here

If this is your first time registering for one of our Bright Talk webinars, simply click the link and fill out the attached form. We promise that the information you provide will only be shared with those promoting the event (PADT).

You will only have to do this once! For all future webinars, you can simply click the link, add the reminder to your calendar and you’re good to go!

All Things Ansys 099: The Future of Ansys on the Cloud

 

Published on: October 18th, 2021
With: Eric Miller & Wim Slagter
Description:  

In this episode your host and Co-Founder of PADT, Eric Miller is joined by Director of Strategic Partnerships at Ansys Wim Slagter to discuss the latest advancements in the software’s HPC capabilities, and how users can make the most out of cloud computing.

If you have any questions, comments, or would like to suggest a topic for the next episode, shoot us an email at podcast@padtinc.com we would love to hear from you!

Listen:
Subscribe:

@ANSYS #ANSYS

A PADT Engineer in King Attiball’s Court – Chapter 8

There just is not enough engineer-focused fiction out there. Romance, Horror, Sci-Fi, Young Adult, Historical, Mystery, etc. They all do well, but they are rarely written for the engineers of the world.

Here at PADT, we are all about undoing such injustices. We decided to brainstorm a story about an engineer who does simulation and 3D Printing and ends up on an adventure. We hope they will find some mystery, some science fiction, and some horror. Maybe even a little romance. To develop the characters and the plot we all got on an MS Teams meeting and blocked it out. It was a lot of fun. That turned into an outline, that will turn into a chapter every month.

We hope you enjoy the result as much as we enjoyed dreaming the journey up.

It should be noted that every character in this story is completely made up. Sometimes we steal some names from real people as a shoutout to them, but that is about it. PADT does not have a basement or a fancy cluster in one. Everything is made up. Well, almost everything. We do have a stack of furniture in the back of shipping and receiving.



Chapter 8

Trapped and Tested

They slowly rocked in gentle swells as everyone looked at Verhbitt. Mnihh’dm looked visibly angry. 

Ash asked, “Do we not like Ahinadab?”

Takaa said, “We do not like him. He is arrogant, selfish, stupid, vain, and has an odd odor about him.”

“And,” added Mnihh’dm, “everyone thought he was dead. He has been missing for several years. We not only do not like him, but we also are not happy that he is alive.”

“Why is that? What did he do?”

Verihbitt said, “Besides being a generally bad human being, and the odor Takaa mentioned, he was also supposed to be my husband. We were betrothed when we were young children.”

While they had been talking, the other ship had slipped closer, and Ahinadab was now only a few yards away.  Ash looked at him and realized he was truly an ugly man, and something about the way he stood and sneered at them made him seem even more unattractive.  As hard as she tried, she could not picture Verihbitt with this man.

“Cousin, so good to see you. However, that frown on your face and the glare from your pet guard and that aged assassin that seems to always be behind you, indicates that you are not so happy to see me.”

“Not at all,” she answered, “It is so good to see that you are alive and the same Prince Ahindab that we all know and love.”

Listening to Verihbitt’s answer, Ash learned how to express sarcasm in the Phonecian language truly.

The prince and princess continued to glare at one another until Duzi said, “Prince Ahinadab, I, for one, am glad to see you again, especially with such a large fleet behind you.  May we pass through and dock in Tripoli. My oarsmen are tired, and we could all use a good night’s sleep in something more substantial than a tent.”

The prince walked out to the end of the ram and leaped onto their ship. “Yes, of course. I will come with you.” He walked up to Verhibitt, took her hand, and kissed it. “And you will all be guests in my palace.”

After a very tense hour on the ship, they were finally docked in the natural harbor of Tripoli.  Ash knew the city as the capital of modern Libya, and also as a Roman port that was originally founded by Phoenician traders.  Low hills surrounded the harbor, covered with houses, shops, and warehouses.  Much of the trade in the western Mediterranean flowed through the city, and the size of the villas on the hills reflected that wealth.

A group of soldiers and slaves emptied the ship and escorted them through the narrow streets to a complex of several villas that Ahinadab referred to as his palace.  As unpleasant as the man was, they were all delighted to be off the boat and not trudging through sand.  When they saw the heated baths, they almost wept for joy.

After they had cleaned up and changed into new robes, they all gathered in the central courtyard for dinner.  Verihbitt was still visibly upset.

Ashly sat next to her on the wonderfully overstuffed pillows and asked, “How are you doing? I can tell you are not happy.”

“Ash, I am so upset.  My whole life, that annoying little toad has been around, making me and everyone miserable.  I honestly thought I was rid of him. I know I have to marry one of my cousins, but I would prefer any of them over him.”

Ash remembered reading about how royal families often married first and second cousins.  And from what she had seen, actual marriages were more political alliances than relationships. But she did not envy Verihbitt in any way about this part of royal life.  

“Well,” said Ash, “I, for one, am happy that he does have a lovely house that is clean and out of the wind. “

“I guess this will all be mine someday,” said Verihbitt. “Hoorah.”

Once the food and bowls of wine were passed around, the group started to relax and enjoy themselves. Their host had not shown up yet.   Ash motioned for Duzi and Alim to join them, and they were soon chatting and talking about their next move.

Ash asked, “Do you think we could find a way to get me a room to set up a lab and a place for me to write? Lots of papyrus and more fruit.  It is going to take me a while to convert all that writing onto paper. Then I will need to convert those words into drawings.”

Duze said, “I will venture out tomorrow and gather writing tools and as much citrus as I can.”

“I have already spoken to the porter here,” said Alim, “and he has given you and Duzi rooms next to one another. If you are willing to share one, the other can be your workshop.” Both Ash and Duzi blushed and said nothing. “I’ll take that as a yes.  I will assist you along with the blacksmith from the ship and two other oarsmen who asked to help make your next machine. Half of them think you are a witch, the other half that you are some sort of demigod sent to improve the lot of our kingdom in the world.”

“I’m not sure I like being thought of as either, but I will accept their generous offer to help.”

Then Prince Ahinadab arrived.  Trailed by servants, he walked up to Ash and her friends and flopped onto some pillows. He soon had a cup of wine in one hand and was gnawing on a leg of lamb in the other. In between bites, he asked, “Betrothed, are you not curious as to where I have been? I heard that everyone in the King’s court thought I was dead.”

No one answered.

“Well, I’ll tell you anyway.  I took part of my fleet west, all the way to the end of the sea where a small passage let out into the great Western sea.  I sailed out and north and, having angered some got or another, was caught in a violent storm and shipwrecked.  It took us over a year to walk across mountains, through forests, and across wastelands to finally get back to the shores of the sea where we were able to, let’s say secure, a few ships and sail back to Carthage, then here. Where I rejoined with my fleet, and we are resting and recovering while we prepare to battle this mad King who is terrorizing all of our trading ports. “

Verhibitt spoke into her wine bowl.  “I thank Ball that you survived your adventure and that you are here to defend your Father’s kingdom.”

Prince Ahinadab tossed the leg bone on the floor and stood. “Cousine, your attitude has always been poor.  It does seem that your years of independence have made you even more disagreeable.  When I am done with this self-proclaimed King of thunder and lightning, I will deal with you.”

He stormed out of the room, servants still in tow.  All Verhibitt said was, “I can not wait.”

Ash slept soundly that night, comfortable not just in Duzi’s arms but also in a huge feather bed that was clean, sand-free, and didn’t move under them. The next day was a busy one as everyone settled in.   Duzi, Alim, and Ash focused on setting up the lab and gathering supplies while Verihbitt, Mnihh’dm, and Takaa ventured out to wine bars to gather information from the loose network of spies and informants that the King had in every port. 

As soon as she had something to draw on, Ash sketched a side view for a simple lever-activated press they could use to squeeze the fruit faster that was starting to arrive in large baskets.  It used a long shaft with a pivot at one end and a small pressing block attached one-tenth of the way up the shaft. This gave a ten to one ratio of force compared to the way they were squeezing the fruit now. The oarsmen went to work building it as she made a list of other supplies she would need to build the device that the government scientists had sent her.

Lost in their work, the day went fast and as the sun dipped below the hills outside the city, they gathered for dinner to catch up.

Mnihh’dm summarized what they had learned from the informants.  “It appears that this bandit king has set up on an island a few days sailing north of here.  He has a large fleet and some magical devices that shoot lightning and burns everything they encounter.  His pattern is to show up at a port town and burns some ships in the harbor.  Then he demands a ransom. Every day they do not pay, he burns something else.  Some towns end up in ashes. Others hand over the gold and silver, and the King and his ships move down the coast. “

Verhihbitt added, “And it looks like Tripoli may be next. We think the best step for us is to take our ship and row out to try and spot them, try and understand their tactic. But we have time. We can let the crew rest a few more days. They will need to row fast for us to avoid being caught by this lightning.”

Unfortunately, they did not have a few days.  They spent the morning continuing the work of the previous day.  Ash’s press was done, and the oarsmen delighted in taking turns smashing fruit and draining the liquid into large pots.  When noon approached, she had more than enough to start charging her phone.

But before she could start, she heard a loud horn.  Alim informed her it was an alarm that signaled an attack. They raced to the balcony that overlooked the harbor.  From that position, they could see the Phonecian fleet in flames.  Beyond the line of ships that had been protecting the harbor were around twenty galleys, not too dissimilar from the Phonecian warships. What was different was a series of large barges in the middle of the attacking fleet.  They were low, flat-topped vessels with some type of shiny structure on the top.  Ash would have done anything to get her hands on a good pair of binoculars.

As they watched, a loud rumble would come from the barges and a bright light would envelope one Phoenecian galley after another. Within a few seconds, the illuminated ship would begin to smoke, then burst into flames. 

“Now I get it!” shouted Ash. “The shiny things on those barges, they must be large polished pieces of copper or brass.  They are focusing the sunlight on one ship at a time!”

“It is not lightning and thunder?” asked Duzi.

“No, it is concentrated sunlight. You know how hot the sun can be. Well, if you reflect it, you can point that heat.  And if you do it with dozens of mirrors, the heat adds up and can be hot enough to catch almost anything on fire. They just be banging on the back of those brass plates to make the thunder sound.”

“Well, witch, that is wonderful that you think you know how this mad King is doing this.” It was Ahinadab. He must have joined them while they watched the attack. “But that is not going to save my fleet.”

They stood there for some time as the enemy galleys and the Phoenician warships battled. The barges focused sunlight on one ship after another until the few that remained had no choice but to row away, leaving the city undefended.

The attacking ships then began to row towards Tripoli. When they got close enough, Ash could see that her guess was correct.  Each barge had a line of polished brass mirrors suspended from a wooden structure. Each panel was about 12 feet wide and 4 feet tall. A soldier stood behind each, pulling on ropes to point reflected sunlight from each panel at the same spot. Another soldier banged on the panels with a wooden club, making the sound of thunder. The waves and distance made it hard for them to all focus on the same location at the same time, but when they did, their target burst into flames. They were showing how it all worked as they picked off one small ship after another in the harbor.

With a shout of horror, the group of travelers realized that the beam was focused on their own ship. It quickly began to smoke, and then flames enveloped the deck and mast.  Ash could hear Duzi sobbing as his pride and joy burned and sank.

The attack stopped soon after.  Everyone assumed that the ransom demand was being sent.  As the sun was starting to dip towards the horizon, a runner appeared and spoke to Ahinadab.

“Well, cousin, I hope you didn’t leave any gold on that ship of yours and that you brought it up here, because we are going to need it.”

“Why?” asked Verihbitt.

“Because we have no choice but to pay the ransom, you stupid cow. My fleet is gone, and they will start to burn down this city next.”

Verihbitt’s face turned red. Without uttering a word, she walked up to her cousin, her future husband, and a son of King Attiball, and slapped him so hard on his cheek that he staggered and fell. 

“Over my dead body,” shouted Verihbitt. “This ends here.”

The people gathered on the balcony stood in silence as the princess walked up to Ash and whispered into her ear, “my smart friend, I am really going to need your help to get us out of this one.”

– To Be Continued –

lease subscribe to our newsletter, so you will know when the next installment, “Design and Deploy,” wherein, the travelers turn to Ash to help them find a way to defeat the machine of death that is threatening them in Tripoli.

Creating a Human Machine Interface in Flownex

Flownex Tech Tips!

No, robots are not taking over… yet… Luckily, Flownex has human machine interface controls available so that we can interact with our system simulation. Let’s go over how to maintain human control of our system using an HMI. For this demo I am using Flownex version 8.12.8

Visualization Library

In the Components pane near the bottom we can find our human machine interface (HMI) components in the Controls category. We have a few components here which we’ll go over use cases for. As a reminder, if we want to learn more about a specific component we can always select the component and press F1 on our keyboard to bring up the library manual for that specific component.

Dial

No, the phone call is not coming from inside the house! We can use the dial component to visualize any property, usually a result, in a dial interface. To use the dial component we simply drop it into our network and then drag and drop the property we’re interested in onto the component itself.

We must set the minimum and maximum values for our dial, in this case since we are reporting the pressure we will want the variable type to be Double. If we want to get fancy we can change our start degrees, amount of rotation, even replace the gradient background with an image from an actual dial!

IO Box

The IO Box is probably something we’ve already been using without even realizing it. This is what is created whenever we drag an input or result property onto the canvas. In the image with the dial we use an IO box to report the pressure in our reservoir. We can attach properties to IO boxes by dragging and dropping. In the properties of the IO box we can change the font, size, units, how many significant figures are reported, and more.

Progress Bar

The Progress Bar is used in very similar situations as the dial however I find it to be particulary useful when reporting fill levels in containers or reporting valve fractions open. We’ll tie the “fraction open” of the restrictor component downstream of the reservoir to our progress bar.

Push Button

The Push Button can be used for a variety of operations (selectable via drop-down in the inputs). I most often use these to run scripts, start, or stop a transient simulation. We have all of the similar formatting options as we’ve seen with these other tools. It is important to note that in order to interact with the push button we need to be in “Interact Mode” found on the home ribbon.

Toggle Button

The Toggle Button is going to be similar to the push button but has distinctive on vs off characteristics. We most often would use this to set a property. This can, again, be set up by dragging and dropping the property onto the button. What I’ll do in this example is have the toggle button set up to toggle our downstream pressure boundary condition between 14.7 psi and 50 psi to simulate an overpressure event. We can go into the different style menus to make our button more aesthetically pleasing and change the text, etc.

Track Bar

The Track Bar is a slider which allows us to vary an input via interaction. We’ll use two track bars in this example; One to control the mass flowrate at the inlet and a second to control the fraction open of the restrictor. To tie a property to a trackbar we again drag and drop the property and then update the track bar’s minimum and maximum values to give us the range of operation. The complete network with all of the HMI components can be seen below (remember we are in “Interact” mode):

Avoid Spiderwebs with Direct References in Scripts

Flownex Friday Tech Tips!

It’s officially Spooky Season! In between episodes of Squid Game and re-watching Hubie Halloween I thought I could make things a little less scary by demonstrating how to get rid of the spiderwebs in our projects (AKA Data Transfer Links). We use these often with scripts, which can be very powerful, but as our networks get more complex we may want to avoid the clutter/attracting spiders.

Quick Script vs Full Script

If we’re not scared of a little C# we may decide to start with a full script. I, personally, like to use a quick script so that I can use the table inputs to define my script inputs and results.

Calling a Specific Component

We will identify the component we want to read/write to by the unique Identifier. This can be found in the input properties for the component. In this example we’ll use a pipe component. By default this would typically be “Pipe – 0” or “Pipe” followed by some other integer. This field is editable so you can change it, but it must remain unique to that specific component.

We can either specify the identifier as a string explicitly in the script:

//Referencing component "Pipe - 0"
IPS.Core.Component Pipe = Project.GetComponent("Pipe - 0");

Or we can have this as an text-type input to the script so that we can change the reference more easily. In this example we have a text variable “ComponentIdentifier”:

//Referencing component which is defined by input "ComponentIdentifier"
IPS.Core.Component Pipe = Project.GetComponent(ComponentIdentifier.ToString());

Note that we are using the ToString function to convert our text variable to a string.

Reading from Component

Now that we have our Pipe component referenced in the script we can read any of the results into our script via their display identifier using the following syntax:

//Reading from flow component
IPS.Properties.Double T_1 = Pipe.GetPropertyFromFullDisplayName("{Flow Element Results,Generic}Total temperature
") as IPS.Properties.Double;
Pipe_Temp.Value = T_1;

Note that we must use a internal variable. in this case “T_1”, to read the temperature before we assign that to the value of our script result “Pipe_Temp”.

A quick trick to determine the display name is to right-click on the result you’re interested in and select “Copy display identifiers to clipboard”.

Writing to Component

The process of modifying a component input with values from the script is very similar. We can use the above trick on our Inputs for the component to find the display identifier for the pipe diameter in this example.

//Write to component
IPS.Properties.Double diameter = Pipe.GetPropertyFromFullDisplayName("{Geometry,Inlet}Diameter") as IPS.Properties.Double;
diameter.Value = Pipe_Diameter;

Summary

Here is how we’ve set up the quick script, as you can see it is really not that scary:

And the snippet of code from the quick script:

//Identify Component
IPS.Core.Component Pipe = Project.GetComponent(ComponentIdentifier.ToString()); 

//Read from component
IPS.Properties.Double T_1 = Pipe.GetPropertyFromFullDisplayName("{Flow Element Results,Generic}Total temperature") as IPS.Properties.Double;
Pipe_Temp.Value = T_1;

//Write to component
IPS.Properties.Double diameter = Pipe.GetPropertyFromFullDisplayName("{Geometry,Inlet}Diameter") as IPS.Properties.Double;
diameter.Value = Pipe_Diameter;

Happy Friday and Happy Coding!

Mechanical Updates in Ansys 2021 R2 pt. 3: nCode, Linear Dynamics & Acoustics – Webinar

Ansys Mechanical delivers features to enable easier workflows, analysis, scripting and product integrations that offer more complex solver capabilities. 

With the Ansys suite of tools, engineers can perform finite element analyses (FEA), customize and automate solutions for structural mechanics challenges and analyze multiple physics scenarios. By implementing this software into a manufacturing workflow, users can save money and time while ensuring their product meets the innovative requirements they have setup.

Join PADT’s Senior mechanical engineer & lead trainer Joe Woodward to discover the new features that have been added to Ansys Mechanical in PADT’s final webinar covering the 2021 R2 Mechanical release.

Highlights include nCode design capabilities, linear dynamics, acoustics, and explicit dynamics among many others.

Register Here

If this is your first time registering for one of our Bright Talk webinars, simply click the link and fill out the attached form. We promise that the information you provide will only be shared with those promoting the event (PADT).

You will only have to do this once! For all future webinars, you can simply click the link, add the reminder to your calendar and you’re good to go!

Using Ansys Fluent’s Gradient-Based Optimization

There is a new workflow that has been developed for the Fluent CFD solver.  It is called gradient-based optimization.  It uses the adjoint solver, which computes the linearized derivatives of a single output variable with respect to all the input variables.  It then calculates separate sensitivity fields for the inputs.  Based on the sensitivity fields, it determines which inputs to change to maximize the desired change in the output variable.

The optimization tool is accessed through the Design tab in the Fluent menu.

There are several observable types that can be optimized for:

The first step in the process is to calculate a steady state solution of the problem.  Once a converged solution has been obtained for steady state solution, an adjoint solution is evaluated to either maximize or minimize the desired observable.

Once the evaluation is completed, the adjoint solution is calculated.

The next step is to use the Design Tool menu to define the wall boundaries that will be modified by the optimization process and what portions of those boundaries.

To perform an individual iteration in the optimization process, click on the Calculate Design Change button in the Design Tool window.  If you are looking to achieve a larger change to the observable, series of iterations will need to be run.  This can be done automatically using the Gradient-Based Optimizer tool.

To test out the capability of this new optimization tool, I ran a simple model of a u-bend pipe and optimized it to reduce the pressure drop through the bend by 40%.  The initial solution of the pipe resulted in pressure contours shown below.

When the optimizer was run to reduce the pressure drop through the model by 40%, the optimization history is as follows:

The resulting pressure contours and pipe geometry are shown below.

The change to the shape of the tube is not something that would be easy to determine without this tool.  It is very easy to use and will allow users to quickly optimize the geometry of their designs.

As you can see, this new capability allows one to quickly optimize flowpath shapes to accomplish optimization objectives. Hopefully you have found this useful and we encourage you to explore this and other enhancements to Ansys Fluent.

All Things Ansys 098: Simulating Hypersonics with Ansys

 

Published on: October 4th, 2021
With: Eric Miller, Bruce Crawford, Valerio Viti & Marisa Melchiorre
Description:  

In this episode your host and Co-Founder of PADT, Eric Miller is joined by Senior Application Engineer Bruce Crawford and Aerospace & Defense Lead Valerio Viti from Ansys to discuss an area of simulation that has seen a lot of growth and interest over the past few years, hypersonics.

Additionally, Ansys Product Marketing Manager Marisa Melchiorre stops by to provide an introduction to Ansys Level Up 2.0, the latest in virtual engineering simulation conferences. You can learn more and register for this event for free here: https://bit.ly/3uIliGy

If you have any questions, comments, or would like to suggest a topic for the next episode, shoot us an email at podcast@padtinc.com we would love to hear from you!

Listen:
Subscribe:

@ANSYS #ANSYS

Modeling a Fire Suppression System in Flownex

Flownex Friday Tech Tips!

Today I’m going to go through my workflow of modeling a fire suppression system in Flownex. This particular system is designed with an aircraft in mind. We’ll go over typical workflow and transient setup using Flownex version 8.12.8.4472

Background Image

See my post on adding a background image for in-depth step-by-step direction. I first set up a background image so I have an easily understood flow schematic to reference in my Flownex build. This also is particularly useful when showing or passing the network off to a colleague or customer who may not have intimate familiarity with Flownex. The image I used in this demo is from this paper by Jaesoo Lee.

Choosing the Appropriate Flow Components

In this model I’ve got a storage bottle, a distribution pipe, and some injection nozzles. I know that I want this to be able to handle two-phase and I know I am pressurizing the bottle with N2 so I will use the Container Interface components to represent the bottle. I will use pipe components for the distribution line, and for the nozzles I will simply use restrictors with discharge coefficients.

Container Interface – Top

Container Interface – Bottom

Pipe

Restrictor with Discharge Coefficient

Building network of components and entering geometry

While building this network I realized I was missing one additional component. I needed to add a valve to open the bottle and release the fire suppressant (HFC-125) and a valve representing a vent to the top portion of the tank which we will leave fully closed.

We need to specify our initial pressures, mass fractions, and a temperature on the storage bottle. We also need an outlet pressure and temperature to fully constrain our model. I use a “view” node on my nozzle so that I only need to specify a single outlet boundary condition.

Transient setup

For this transient analysis I am going to open the valve and see how quickly the suppressant discharges from the system. The first thing we will want to do is to remove any boundary conditions that we want to be “free” during the transient. I’ll remove all of the boundary conditions at the storage bottle so that Flownex will calculate the remaining pressure as our system discharges.

I also need to specify our timestep and simulation length. We can do this under the Scheduler properties which can be found in the Solvers pane on the right side of the GUI. I chose a timestep size of 20ms and a total simulation duration of 2 seconds.

Solve Steady State, Snap and Run!

To get a stable transient simulation it’s best to start from a converged steady state. At this point I’ll solve steady state, addressing any warnings that arise. Then we will want to save a Snap of the solve (so that we can load the snap to get back to initial conditions for any future transient runs).

At this point we should be good to run our transient analysis! I’ve added a plot of the pressure in the bottle and pressure just before the nozzles vs time to this project as well:

Press Release: NASA Awards PADT and Penn State University a $375,000 Phase III STTR Research Grant

When we applied for a NASA Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant with Arizona State University in 2018 we had high hopes around that the idea of developing simulation and manufacturing techniques that would allow engineers to mimic structures found in Nature. Today’s win of a rare Phase III grant from NASA exceeded those hopes and further showed the space agencies’ interest in the research that PADT, ASU, and now Penn State are engaged in.

Inspired by the research of former PADT engineer and now ASU professor, Dr. Dhruv Bhate, the idea was to take a look at how nature uses repeating structures and responses to loads to optimize structures and to use 3D Printing as a way to create the derived shapes, growing geometry just as nature does. That Phase I was received well and led to a Phase II grant in 2019 to dig specifically into lattice structures. In addition to that work was the development of a topological optimization tool that could look at multiple types of loads and create aperiodic lattice topologies.

Researchers at NASA like those results enough to then grant PADT a Phase III project to further the development of the optimization tool and to connect it to a fluid-thermal optimization tool developed at Penn State under a separate NASA project. The study is called “Thermo-Fluid and Structural Design Optimization for Thermal Management” and it will look at creating structures that are strong, light weight, and have the thermal performance required for difficult launch and space-based missions.

You can read more in the press release below or here: PDF | HTML.

We are exceptionally proud of all three phases of this project because they show:

  1. PADT’s ability to work with academia for R&D that results in useful tools
  2. Our deep and broad understanding of simulation across physics
  3. How our unique expertise in Additive Manufacturing can be combined with our simulation knowledge to turn theory into practical hardware.

If you have needs in any of these areas or are just looking for a strong R&D partner that can help make your innovation work, reach out to PADT.


Press Release

NASA Awards PADT and Penn State University a $375,000 Phase III STTR Research Grant

The Grant is a Continuation of PADT’s Topology Optimization Research, Which Will Fund “Thermo-Fluid and Structural Design Optimization for Thermal Management”

TEMPE, Ariz., September xx, 2021 ─ In a move that acknowledges its excellence and expertise in R&D for numerical simulation and 3D printing, PADT today announced NASA has awarded a $375,000 Phase III Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant for PADT to collaborate with Penn State University. The partners will expand research into thermo-fluid and structural design optimization to provide engineers who design next generation launch and space crafts with better ways to design more robust and efficient structures that experience loading fluids, forces, vibration, and temperatures.

The Phase III STTR grant is a continuation of the original $127,000 Phase I and $755,000 Phase II grants awarded to PADT and ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering in August 2018 and December 2019 respectively. This is PADT’s 17th STTR/SBIR grant since the company was founded in 1994.

“Furthering our research in simulation and 3D printing for topology optimization and thermal management is critical to the future of aerospace development,” said Alex Grishin, Ph.D., consulting engineer, PADT. “This Phase III award underscores how valuable NASA found the work we did earlier with ASU and signals their desire to have PADT work with other universities to transform it into a tool that engineers can use to design better launch and space-based structures.”

The objective of the joint effort between PADT and Penn State University is to successfully demonstrate the integration of 3D data output from Penn State Mechanical Engineering Experimental and Computational Convection Laboratory’s (ExCCL) thermo-fluid optimization code, developed under a NASA Aeronautics Fellowship grant, into PADT’s topology optimization tool. The latter was developed by PADT under the STTR Phase II contract.

In Phase II, PADT partnered with Arizona State University (ASU) to develop and test a novel shape optimization tool that used a unique methodology for topological optimization, taking both the thermal and stress response of a part into account. 3D printing was also used to create the geometry produced by the optimization approach. Phase III will connect PADT’s tool to Penn State’s tool, which uses genetic algorithms to better handle the optimization found in thermo-fluid problems.

“Taking our tool and connecting it with the optimization capability that Penn State developed has the potential to benefit aerospace design engineers worldwide,” said Tyler Shaw, PhD, PADT’s VP of Engineering and the leader of the group responsible for this work. “This project will take the joint research one step closer to delivering on an optimization approach that, just as in nature, takes into account all loads, regardless of physics.”

The ultimate goal of the project is to continue research with internal and government funding to create a commercial product that engineers can use as an alternate way to optimize the shape of structures that see loading from multiple physics.

To learn more about PADT and its advanced capabilities, please visit www.padtinc.com.

About Phoenix Analysis and Design Technologies

Phoenix Analysis and Design Technologies, Inc. (PADT) is an engineering product and services company that focuses on helping customers who develop physical products by providing Numerical Simulation, Product Development, and 3D Printing solutions. PADT’s worldwide reputation for technical excellence and experienced staff is based on its proven record of building long-term win-win partnerships with vendors and customers. Since its establishment in 1994, companies have relied on PADT because “We Make Innovation Work.” With over 80 employees, PADT services customers from its headquarters at the Arizona State University Research Park in Tempe, Arizona, and from offices in Torrance, California, Littleton, Colorado, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Austin, Texas, and Murray, Utah, as well as through staff members located around the country. More information on PADT can be found at www.PADTINC.com.

# # #

SpaceClaim Meshing & Geometry Updates in Ansys 2021 R2 – Webinar

Engineering exploration via simulation is virtually risk free because engineers are no longer bound to an expensive and time-consuming prototype-test-redesign cycle. New design ideas can be virtually evaluated in hours, not weeks, freeing up time to optimize the best design candidates or develop moonshot ideas that redefine markets. 

Ansys 2021 R2 continues to expand geometry capabilities and ease of use for every engineer to unlock innovation and increase productivity throughout the product development process. In addition, every analyst can also benefit from Ansys Discovery’s geometry modeling workflows for model prep for simulation.

Join PADT’s Application Engineer and geometry/meshing expert Robert McCathren to learn how you can leverage SpaceClaim’s improvements in Ansys 2021 R2 including: 

  • Discovery Modeling
  • Licensing Changes
  • Meshing
  • Sketch Constraints
  • And much more

Register Here

If this is your first time registering for one of our Bright Talk webinars, simply click the link and fill out the attached form. We promise that the information you provide will only be shared with those promoting the event (PADT).

You will only have to do this once! For all future webinars, you can simply click the link, add the reminder to your calendar and you’re good to go!

How do you remove the dashboard from a car, intact? Very carefully – especially when the dashboard comes from one of only 19 ever-made vehicles. Here, Bogi Lateiner (at right) and volunteer Ally Abel work to disengage every electrical component, screw and snap-fit connector keeping the S60 T8 Polestar dashboard in place. (Image courtesy PADT Inc.)

Girl Gang Garage Iron Maven Project: Taking Shape, Moving Ahead

The two cars have become one! The body of the 1961 Volvo PV544 is now welded to the chassis-frame of a new 2019 Volvo S60 T8 Polestar Engineered sedan. (Image courtesy PADT Inc.)
The two cars have become one! The body of the 1961 Volvo PV544 is now welded to the chassis-frame of a new 2019 Volvo S60 T8 Polestar Engineered sedan. (Image courtesy PADT Inc.)

If you’ve been following Girl Gang Garage on LinkedIn or Instagram, you know there’s been a ton of progress on the Iron Maven Volvo-rebuild project since PADT’s last post in July. Back then, most of the work had focused on gutting the 1961 Volvo PV544 body and interior, and PADT was able to capture much of the sheet metal shape and dimensions with its GOM Tscan Hawk 3D scanner. We also started brainstorming various 3D printed parts to enable new component designs produced on Stratasys 3D printers.

Since then, Bogi Lateiner, co-owner of Girl Gang Garage (and TV host of Motortrend’s All Girls Garage and Garage Squad), co-owner Shawnda Williams, and a rotating team of volunteer women have turned their efforts to disassembling the second vehicle: the new 2019 Volvo S60 T8 Polestar Engineered sedan (donated by corporate sponsor Volvo) and merging its chassis with the PV544 body.

Sounds simple, sort of? It might be if it weren’t for the facts that:

  • a) the wheelbase (front-tire center to rear-tire center) of the two cars differs: the PV544 clocks in at 102.5 inches but the S60 is quite a bit longer, at 113 inches.  Also,
  • b) the track width (axle length) differs – this time the PV544 is about 12 inches narrower at the front (51 inches versus 63 inches), which means the Girl Gang team needs to expand both of the front fenders by half that amount to accommodate everything in the engine compartment. And, lastly and conversely,
  • c) the S60 dashboard is so wide that it needs to be reconfigured from 56 inches down to about 50 inches or less, to fit the interior dimensions.

Growing Fenders, Redesigning a Grill

Original PV544 front bumper/grill housing and fenders. It all looks huge, right? But with the track-width difference between this design and that of the new Volvo S60 chassis, the Girl Gang Garage team needs to splice in about twelve more inches, probably incorporated in the fenders. (Image courtesy PADT Inc.)
Original PV544 front bumper/grill housing and fenders. It all looks huge, right? But with the track-width difference between this design and that of the new Volvo S60 chassis, the Girl Gang Garage team needs to splice in about twelve more inches, probably incorporated in the fenders. (Image courtesy PADT Inc.)

The old-school approach to reconstructing the front bumper-grill section and fenders would involve cutting the original sheet metal, shaping new metal splices by eye and tape-measure, and welding everything together with skilled handwork. This time, although the first and last steps still apply, that project becomes a much more precise, and predictable, task thanks to the digital workflow of 3D scanning -> data processing -> CAD design. These steps are now underway and will set the stage for a cool new grill and fenders that will act big but fool the eye just a bit to keep the overall lines intact.

3D scan of passenger-side fender of PV544, ready for conversion to CAD and creative expansion. (Image courtesy PADT Inc.)
3D scan of passenger-side fender of PV544, ready for conversion to CAD and creative expansion. (Image courtesy PADT Inc.)
PV544 front bumper/grill scan data acquired with a GOM Tscan Hawk handheld laser 3D scanner. (Image courtesy PADT Inc.)
PV544 front bumper/grill scan data acquired with a GOM Tscan Hawk handheld laser 3D scanner. (Image courtesy PADT Inc.)

It’s pretty clear that this front-end has seen better days, so the analysis and measurements of the existing surface needed to be carefully analyzed. Donated expertise for this task came from Chris Strong and Hayati Dirim of Rapid Scan 3D, who mapped the scanned mesh onto planes and surfaces that define the current grill-mount opening.

Surface data file created from the PV544 bumper/grill scanned mesh. Note the reference plane constructed along the left side. File conversion and measurements completed by Rapid Scan 3D. (Image courtesy Rapid Scan 3D.)
Surface data file created from the PV544 bumper/grill scanned mesh. Note the reference plane constructed along the left side. File conversion and measurements completed by Rapid Scan 3D. (Image courtesy Rapid Scan 3D.)

This information has been handed off to the CAD support team. Working hand-in-hand with the Girl Gang Garage experts, the team is using Fusion 360 CAD software, donated from Iron Maven sponsor Autodesk, to analyze these defining surfaces and design a new grill in CAD, which we expect will be 3D printed and painted to match the updated (not yet announced) body color from sponsor BASF.

Knowing both the fender and grill/frame exact dimensions also supports the team in defining the connections and shape of the widened fenders.

Critical surfaces and dimensions extracted from the bumper/grill scan, converted into CAD and brought into Autodesk Fusion 360. The four planes define the current limits of the opening for the grill. This information will guide the CAD-layout of the brand-new grill design and also serve as boundary layers that mate up to the expanded fenders. (Image courtesy PADT Inc.)
Critical surfaces and dimensions extracted from the bumper/grill scan, converted into CAD and brought into Autodesk Fusion 360. The four planes define the current limits of the opening for the grill. This information will guide the CAD-layout of the brand-new grill design and also serve as boundary layers that mate up to the expanded fenders. (Image courtesy PADT Inc.)

Dashboard Surgery

cially when the dashboard comes from one of only 19 ever-made vehicles. Here, Bogi Lateiner (at right) and volunteer Ally Abel work to disengage every electrical component, screw and snap-fit connector keeping the S60 T8 Polestar dashboard in place. (Image courtesy PADT Inc.)
How do you remove the dashboard from a car, intact? Very carefully – especially when the dashboard comes from one of only 19 ever-made vehicles. Here, Bogi Lateiner (at right) and volunteer Ally Abel work to disengage every electrical component, screw and snap-fit connector keeping the S60 T8 Polestar dashboard in place. (Image courtesy PADT Inc.)

The brand-new 2019 Volvo S60 T8 Polestar Engineered sedan was almost too cool to cut up – but Girl Gang Garage knew that something even better would emerge in the end. Before the roof was cut off (see the video on LinkedIn), the work timeline required removing the dashboard with all its electronic components.

Here’s the extracted S60 dashboard, viewed from the bottom and front:

Volvo S60 Dashboard removed from the car by Girl Gang Garage, to be mounted in the PV544 body of the Iron Maven project. (Image courtesy PADT)

And the frame behind it:

Mounting frame for the original Volvo S60 dashboard. It will need to be retrofitted for the PV544 Volvo rebuild project. (Image courtesy PADT)

And here are the existing red PV544 dash and the black S60 version side by side (the dots are the reflective targets used with the 3D laser scanner). The S60 configuration needs to fit in the original PV544 space. To compress this at least five inches, the glove-box probably has to go.

Both Volvo dashboards side by side: the large new S60 dashboard and the original PV544 dashboard. The new one is more than five inches wider and will have to be cut down. (Image courtesy PADT)

Once again, the team is turning to scan data, and that analysis is in process.

Top view of the S60 dashboard, as scanned with the GOM Tscan Hawk 3D scanner. (Image courtesy PADT Inc.)
Top view of the S60 dashboard, as scanned with the GOM Tscan Hawk 3D scanner. (Image courtesy PADT Inc.)

Stay Tuned

Due to the scheduling and travel challenges presented by the ever-shifting COVID scene, Girl Gang Garage has decided to complete the Iron Maven for presentation at the 2022 SEMA Show (highlighting automotive specialty products). This also allows more time for 3D printing the new components which are coming off the Stratasys F370 printer. PADT will be documenting updates and sharing cool photos of this one-of-a-kind project in the months to come.

PADT Inc. is a globally recognized provider of Numerical Simulation, Product Development and 3D Printing products and services. For more information on GOM 3D scanners and Stratasys printers and materials, contact us at info@padtinc.com.

All Things Ansys 097: Fluids Updates in Ansys 2021 R2

 

Published on: September 20th, 2021
With: Eric Miller & Sina Ghods
Description:  

In this episode your host and Co-Founder of PADT, Eric Miller is joined by PADT’s Senior Application Engineer and fluids expert Sina Ghods for a look at what’s new for fluid simulation in Ansys 2021 R2.

If you have any questions, comments, or would like to suggest a topic for the next episode, shoot us an email at podcast@padtinc.com we would love to hear from you!

Listen:
Subscribe:

@ANSYS #ANSYS

Scale Drawings in Flownex

Flownex Friday Tech Tips #17

Flownex has a pretty neat utility to capture geometry from a scale drawing and apply those inputs automatically to your flow network. In todays tip we’ll go over a simple example of how to implement this. We are using Flownex Version 8.12.8.4472

Adding a Scale Image

To apply a scaled image in our Flownex network we will want to navigate to the Scaled Drawings ribbon. Here we can click on Generate Scale Drawing and import our desired image. For this demo I’m using a waterblock idea I sketched up a long time ago to try to fix the overheating issue I was having with my Xbox 360.

Applying Dimensions to Network Components

We’ll notice that some dimensions are automatically associated with our new drawing. For instance, if we put some pipe components in to represent the flow paths we can see that the lengths are automatically updated. I know that these finned sections were about 90mm long so this checks out with what the scaled drawing is using.

We also have the option of associating dimensions with line segments we draw on the canvas. Since the cross-section of this flow path is rectangular perhaps a “duct” component would be better suited so that we can capitalize on the geometry association:

Other Useful Scale Tools

There are a few useful measurements we can do using the scale drawings utility that I didn’t highlight in this demo. Point measurements and Link Points can be extremely useful in a variety of scenarios; A couple of examples might be to define connection points on rotor cavities or elevations of connections to some type of container.

Bonus Tip!

  • If your CAD is evolving we can swap out that image and then updating the measurements in our flow network is as simple as moving the components back into their correct places; Inputs update automatically!

A PADT Engineer in King Attiball’s Court – Chapter 7

There just is not enough engineer-focused fiction out there. Romance, Horror, Sci-Fi, Young Adult, Historical, Mystery, etc. They all do well, but they are rarely written for the engineers of the world.

Here at PADT, we are all about undoing such injustices. We decided to brainstorm a story about an engineer who does simulation and 3D Printing and ends up on an adventure. We hope they will find some mystery, some science fiction, and some horror. Maybe even a little romance. To develop the characters and the plot we all got on an MS Teams meeting and blocked it out. It was a lot of fun. That turned into an outline, that will turn into a chapter every month.

We hope you enjoy the result as much as we enjoyed dreaming the journey up.

It should be noted that every character in this story is completely made up. Sometimes we steal some names from real people as a shoutout to them, but that is about it. PADT does not have a basement or a fancy cluster in one. Everything is made up. Well, almost everything. We do have a stack of furniture in the back of shipping and receiving.



Chapter 7
Journey to Tripoli

It took all four of them to raise the crossbar and then pull the huge bronze doors back.  Outside, the elite soldiers posing as oarsmen had been busy, and the steps outside were covered with more dead men dressed as priests. Without pausing to talk, the soldiers formed a circle around the four travelers, and in a mass, they all began to jog back to Baal’s temple.  There was no time to talk or really think about what had just happened. Ash focused on her footing and breathing. 

A few hours later, she supervised a group of temple workers who packed up her lab in straw-filled wicker baskets.  She had wanted to spend more time in Egypt, to explore so much and learn more about what the ancient culture was really like.  But once again, they were off to the next destination. And Ash was filled with overwhelming sadness. She missed home, she did not know where things stood with Duzi, and mostly she was devastated by all of the death she had seen.

The swiftly flowing Nile carried them back towards the sea.  As the sun set, they found a place to safely anchor in the maze of reeds that filled the river’s delta.  Ash had spent the journey downriver staring at the farms and then wetlands that passed by the ship, not talking with her friends or crew members. They sensed that she wanted to be alone and didn’t try and talk to her. Now she sat by herself at the prow of the boat, leaning back and watching bright stars and the Milky Way in the moonless night sky.

“Can I interest you in some food?” It was Duzi.

She looked at him with surprise and then realized that some company was precisely what she needed. She said, “Even by starlight, with the lamps behind you, I can see your smile.”

He sat down next to her and handed her a wooden bowl. “Some would say it is a curse.  But I have to say, it does me well when I need to negotiate prices or wiggle some information from a local official.”

Ash let go of her sadness and let herself smile.  They ate for a while in silence.

“Are you going to tell me what is wrong?” Asked Duzi.

Ash thought about things before she answered. She had accepted the slaughter and even the questionable state of their relationship. Those were not what kept her depressed.

“I think all this moving around, this running from one danger to another, is really making me miss my home,” she said.

“I understand that.” Duzi leaned closer and put his arm around her shoulders, letting her rest her head under his chin on his chest. “Sometimes home pulls so hard on our hearts.  I think Baal wants us to remember them and our family, so we do not get too confident as we journey around this world.”

Ash let herself relax. The boat swayed gently, and Duzi’s chest went up and down as he took deep breaths.  They did not talk. They just looked at the stars and thought their own thoughts.  Ash was wondering what her friends at work and her parents were doing. 

It was warm, and the insects and frogs provided a broad and sometimes loud natural musical score for their thoughts.  Without realizing it, they both fell soundly to sleep in each other’s arms in the prow of a Phoenician trading ship anchored in the Nile Delta.

“Ahem”

Ash felt Duzi stir underneath her and, through hazy eyes, could see Verhibitt standing over them, her hands on her hips.  She was trying to look stern and disapproving, but the broad smile on her face and the twinkle in her eye gave her away.

“Good morning, Verhibitt.” Said Ash as she leaned forward and stood up.  Sleep faced, and Ash realized she had spent the entire night in the arms of a man from an ancient, macho culture where women were considered possessions of men and where men were taught to take what they wanted. And he had not tried to make a move on her. She was not sure if she was pleased or offended.

Duzi said, “Well, that was relaxing. But I have to say I am a little offended that you did not make a pass at me.”

Without thinking, she lifted her arm and pushed Duzi over the ship’s railing.  She heard a splash and then laughter as she took Verhibitt by the arm and walked to the rear of the ship.

The journey would take over five days as they rowed along the coast. The wind was not favorable, and it was about twice as far as her first sea journey.  This fact made Ash happy, it would give her plenty of time to charge her phone and contact home.

She spent the first day improving design and squeezing baskets full of citrus to make juice. Occasionally Druzi would stop by her makeshift decktop workshop and check on her, not saying much but also linger longer than he needed to.  The combination of his interest and her absorption in her work made her sadness go away.

That night they pulled onto a beach and had a wonderful time around the campfire as Takaa and Mnihh’dm shared fanciful stories, trying to one-up each other as the night wore on.  Duzi kept catching her eye, and Verhibit kept whispering encouragement in Ash’s ear, making both of the women blush and Duzi’s smile even broader.

When the fire died, and everyone headed towards tents, Ash stayed to watch the new moon move across the sky. Before long, she heard footsteps in the sand and then felt a heavy blanket cover her.  She then felt Duzi slide under the blanket and take her into his arms.

“I need to pay you back for pushing me into the water.”

Ash said, “Yes, you do,” and kissed him.

Sometime in the early morning, they had said their goodbyes and went to their separate tents.  However, the way Verhibitt and the soldiers looked at her all; morning made it pretty clear that everyone knew what had happened.  If it was 2021, Ash would not care, but she really didn’t know how Ancient Phonecian’s felt about such things. 

She did not see Duzi until the ship was underway, when he walked up to her, kissed her, and then went to the tiller. 

Later, as the ship moved along the coast, Verhibitt stopped by Ash’s workshop and said, “So I assume you two are now together?”

“Verhibitt, is that acceptable? Where I am from, it is just fine for unmarried people to have… to have a relationship. How do Phonecians feel about it?” 

Verhibitt kissed Ash’s cheek and said, “Sweetie, it is not just acceptable, it is encouraged. Mariage is business and politics.  What you call relationships, that is about fun.”

Ash spent the rest of the morning working on her battery and smiling.  A silly, schoolgirl crush smile.

After lunch, her phone was at three percent, enough for a short conversation with Alex.

Aleks, you there.

I’m here, so glad to hear from you. We were starting to worry. So much going on here. Are you safe?

Well, I am now. Things are a lot more dangerous in this world than in ours. But I’ve made good friends and they have kept me safe.

Good. Let me give you an update. They are keeping me on as communication. They think they know how this happened, but of course, they won’t tell us. Something to do with string theory and temporal resonance at the quantum level. 

OK, I do remember that string theory is about vibrating quantum strings across dimensions or some such crap. And?

And they say that they can pull you back, but they need to know what interdimensional temporal frequency you exist in.

Ummmm. OK. How do we figure that out?

They say they can calculate it, but they need to know the exact date and time where you are. 

OK, let me check my GPS and my watch.  Oh wait, I don’t have either of those on me! That was sarcasm.

I know, I know. Your sarcasm penetrates time and space.  They do have a plan. You need to take some measurements of some stars and where the moon and sun are.

OK, let me get my sextant and telescope out.

alex

OK, let me get my sextant and telescope out.

You need new material.

They say they are have figured out a way to make a device that will calculate the number they need if you enter the relative position of the celestial objects they identify.

I can do that. I’m getting good at building things here.

They are working on the design. Can you text back tomorrow?

Yes, we are at sea for a while I have enough juice, (literally, I’m using citrus juice as the electrolyte) for one more charge.

OK, let’s do that. For now, do you want to send messages to your parents?

YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂

Ash spent the rest of her battery charge writing a note to her parents.  She told them about everything that had happened. What she had seen, but leaving out the violent parts. She also left out Duzi.  

When she finished, all Aleks said was:

OMG. Unbelievable. I don’t know how much they will pass on. I’m worried they may never let me out of this basement.  But the part about you being safe will help them feel better.

Ash was composing a witty response in her head when the phone went black.

Being able to send a message to her parents lifted a weight off of Ash’s shoulders.  She found herself actually skipping around the deck as they made for shore at the end of the day.  The fact that she would be able to be alone with Duzi did not hurt either.

After dinner, some of the soldiers brought out musical instruments, and they all danced in the sand, showing Ash the steps as they went. As she whirled around the fire with Veribitt, she realized that she was in love, she had a way home, she was with friends, and she was safe. She felt good.

When the night was winding down, Alim came up to Ash and told her that all of her things had been moved to Duzi’s tent. 

The next morning, Ash raced to the boat as soon as the sun was up, and started charging her phone.

“I see that the magic jar is working well for you.” It was Alim.

“It is working. I can not thank you enough for helping me put it together.”

“The pleasure was all mine.  But you can repay me?” added Alim.

“How?”

“Explain how your tablet works.”

That was a question that gave Ash pause. How does one explain a smartphone to a Phonecian scholar who was born millennia before Steve Jobs.

She said, “It is hard to explain.  Would you accept my word if I said that a demigod lives inside and uses his powers to talk with another demigod from back where I’m from?”

“No.”

“Let’s see.”  Ash stood up, took one of the unsqueezed citrus fruits, and tossed it into the still water of the shallow cove where the ship had spent the night. “See how the water ripples out? The way this device works is by controlling waves in the air. Waves that are strong enough to travel long distances.  I write a letter or a number, and that is turned into a unique pattern of waves. Those waves travel back to where I’m from, and they send waves to me that the tablet reads and converts back to letters and numbers or me.”

Alim stood at the railing, watching the ripples spread out. “That is very clever. I think.”  He faced her and began to stroke his long white beard.  “However, your demigod explanation seems more probable.”

They both laughed.  Ash and Alim talked about the idea of sending waves and far more things that she could not find a way to explain while the ship left the cove and continued its journey to Tripoli. When the sun reached its zenith and Mnihh’dm brought them a lunch of dates and bread, all of the juice was gone, and the phone was at five percent.  

She said to both men, “That should be enough for Alex to send instructions.”

Taking a deep breath, Ash powered up the phone.

Alex, I’m back. Just have five percent.  Need more fruit juice.  Can you send the instructions?

Hi Ash, we have been waiting for you. And yes. But let me tell you, we had a dozen of our engineers helping these people form an unnamed government agency.  We had to convert everything into words. 

Oh no. I didn’t think about that. But yes, that makes sense. 

So here goes. The first bit will consist of a description of every part. The second chunk will be the assembly instructions. It is going to take a lot of copy and paste, but here goes.

Ash’s screen began to scroll as the messages came one after another. She could see a consistent description of each part – a number, name, material, and dimensions.  Her excitement turned to dread as she realized the complexity of the device they were asking her to make. Then panic when she realized that she could not print out all this information.

When the messages stopped coming, she texted Alex.

Is that all (sarcasm)

Hey, I’m the one moving the stuff from a text file to a text. My thumb may be permanently sprained.

I know, it’s a lot. How much battery do you have left?

It says 1%

OK, enough to send this from your parents

Dearest Asghleith, we miss you so much.  They won’t tell us where you are. They deleted most of your message. But we loved the part we got to read. We are glad you are safe, and we hope you are making “smart choices.”  We are so proud of you and hope that whatever you are facing, you are staying safe.  After getting your message, both of us slept through the night for the first time since you disappeared. They did tell us you are with strangers, and we worry that you can be so shy sometimes. Hopefully, you are making friends that will help you get home. We told them you are smart and stubborn and not afraid to work hard.  We know you will be OK.  We love you so much and can not wait for you to tell us everything.

Just as she read the last words, Ash’s phone went black. Then she began to cry.  Reading their message had brought home how much she missed her parents and made her face the fact that they must be worried sick.  She let go and had a good cry.

“Crying is good for the soul, or so they say,” consoled Mnihh’dm. “Is there anything we can do to help you?”

Ash wiped her eyes and said, “We are going to need some papyrus, a pen, and lots of ink. And more fruit, as much fruit as we can get. It’s going to take days to transcribe all of this.”

With her phone dead and no more citrus on the ship to power her makeshift charger, Ash found herself with nothing to do.  After watching the coast slowly go by, she joined Verihbitt, Takaa, Duzi, and Alim sitting in the tent. They were all silently lounging on pillows.  Ash found a spot next to Duzi and gave him a quick peck on the cheek.  All she could hear was the steady drumming that counted out the rowing and the matching splash of their oars.  As she relaxed, she could also hear the creaking of wood and the occasional seagull. 

The rest of that day and the following days were the most uneventful she had faced since she woke up on the beach.  No pirates, no Kings, no assassins posing as priests. They talked some, played music and sang, and mostly napped. Each beach they spent the night on was different, and the time she spent with Druzi was something that filled her heart.

That all ended late in the afternoon of their fifth day at sea when their napping was interrupted by the sound of a loud horn.

The travelers exited the decktop tent to a row of Phonecian warships. They each had two levels of oarsmen and large, brass reinforced prows that were obviously designed to sink other ships. Archers and spearmen crowded their decks. Further down the coast, they could just make out a walled city in the afternoon haze.

Duzi said to the group, “Welcome to Tripoli, and I would like to introduce you to the Phonecian royal fleet.”

Presently, three ships left the line and headed towards them in a pincer movement.  The ship in the middle stopped just short of ramming them. A soldier in a gleaming breastplate stood on the bow and shouted.

“This harbor is closed, turn around, or we will sink you.” 

Duzi shouted back, “We are a trading vessel with wares to sell and coin to buy a new cargo.”

The soldier answered, “This harbor is closed. Go back.”

Verihbitt stepped up next to Duzi and, in a surprisingly loud voice, said, “I’m Princess Verihbitt, daughter of Prince Batnoam. We are here at the behest of the King, my Uncle. Let us pass.”

The soldier didn’t respond. He turned and walked to the aft of his boat. Everyone waited with nervous anticipation. Before long, a short, muscular man in a purple tunic came forward and surveyed the traveler’s ship. He climbed out to stand on a small platform secured to his ship’s ram and shouted, “Welcome to Tripoli, Cousin.”

Ash heard Verihbitt say under her breath, “Oh shit. It is Ahinadab.”

– To Be Continued –

lease subscribe to our newsletter, so you will know when the next installment, “Trapped and Tested,” wherein, the travelers stuck in the siege of Tripoli, Ash buys up all the citrus in the city to run her phone, and she and her friends learn more about the mysterious king, his cult, and the superweapon he is using to burn cities to the ground. All while battling Verihbitt’s annoying relative.