Flownex Friday Tech Tips #4

How to make a great compound component!

Compound components make it easy and efficient to reuse the same collection of components over and over throughout your models. In this post I’ll be going over the basics of making a user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing compound component. In this example I am working in Flownex Version 8.12.7.4334

How to create a compound component

To create a compound component we must first create a local library in the project database. This can be done by right-clicking on the project database in the components pane and select “New Library”.

We can name our new library and choose a picture if desired:

To create our compound component we just need to right-click on the new library and select “New Compound Item”

To build our compound component we’ll use the “edit” function on the compound component. In this example I am building a Lohm resistor component. It’s a good idea to test my component on a separate page to make sure scripts interact as expected and validate results against some given test cases.

Let’s make it functional!

To define the inputs and results we’d like to expose to the user we right-click on the new compound component in the library and select “component setup”.

To add inputs and results we need to navigate to the Compound Setup ribbon and then simply drag and drop inputs and results into the Selected Properties window. Note that we can even grab whole categories of inputs or results to save time!

Now those inputs and results will appear to the user when they add this compound component to their canvas!

Let’s make it pretty!

To make our component more aesthetically appealing let’s replace the boring default icon with one more representative of our Lohm Resistor. To do this we right-click on our compound component again and this time stay in the “Display Setup” tab. We can click the “Choose Picture” button to upload our own icon. To refresh on the image selector check out the blog post on adding a background image.

To correct the aspect ratio so that it shows up looking less squished on our canvas we want to change the settings back in the Compound Setup tab. I’ll change it to 133×34 so that it appears similar in scale to the standard flow components but correct in the aspect ratio.

Now when we place our compound component onto our canvas it should look great!

Bonus Tips!

  • In the compound component setup there is a third ribbon called “Tooltips Setup”. This is where we can define what properties show up when we hover our mouse over the component.
  • Don’t forget we can save compound components in a “database” on a server so that they can be accessed by every Flownex user in your organization.

Friday Flownex Tech Tips #3

Input Sheet Hacks!

Building on last week’s global parameters example I’d like to show some tricks within the input sheet environment. These are really more so excel tricks – but the methodology within Flownex is slightly different. In this example I am working in Flownex Version 8.12.7.4334

Refresher on using Input Sheets

To create a new Input Sheet we will navigate to the project tab, then select “Excel Reports/Pages”, right-click on the Input Sheets folder, and select “New Input Sheet”

To add inputs to the sheet it’s as simple as dragging and dropping the inputs from the component into the desired cell in the Input Sheet.

Formatting our Input Sheet

I like to use color, shading, and border to specify which cells contain inputs so that if I pass the project off to a client or colleague it is immediately clear what variables they should be editing and which cells they shouldn’t change.

To modify the formatting we need to enter “workbook designer”. This is done by right-clicking on the input sheet and selecting “workbook designer”

All of the standard Excel-type formatting is available here, including adding graphs, images, etc. Typical operations are found in the format menu on the top ribbon.

Drop Downs

A more advanced Excel operation I like to integrate into these types of input sheets is a drop-down where multiple inputs may be tied to a given condition. In the example below I set up a scenario for given ambient temperature for cold day, hot day, and nominal day.

In the workbook designer we will click “insert” > “worksheet” and build our list of environmental conditions. On the right we will set the associated temperatures.

Back on Sheet1 we will need to set up the data validation cell reference to this table. Select the cell where we want to add the dropdown and go to data > validation. We will choose list, and reference cells B2:B4 of Sheet2.

We will need to use VLOOKUP to associate the temp to another cell based on this dropdown. Where this becomes valuable is when we have many input variables tied to each of the dropdown selections.

In this example, since we’ve put the applicable temps a single column to the right the syntax for VLOOKUP will be “=VLOOKUP(B5,Sheet2!B2:C4,2,FALSE)”. After this is added it should behave as follows:

As I mentioned before, this trick becomes very powerful when you have many different environmental or operational inputs tied to a single “scenario” that you want to model in an individual run rather than in a parameter study.

Bonus Tip!

  • All of these tricks can be applied to any of the excel-type sheets within Flownex. Remember to be careful with parameter tables as the inputs and results are tied to the columns instead of individual cells.

Flownex Tech Tips #2

Working with Global Parameters!

As we build more and more networks it quickly becomes tedious to enter in the same inputs many times. There are a couple methods of using global parameters to save us lots of time and clicks. In this example I am working in Flownex Version 8.12.7.4334

Refresher on Global Parameters

Global parameters are just what they sound like. Parameters defined globally for the project. These could be any type of component input; diameter, length, temp, pressure, etc.

The global parameters can be found in a couple of locations. Under the configuration ribbon we can open the global parameters in a floating window which gives us a friendly interface for creating or modifying these parameters. To create a global parameter one may simply right-click in the GlobalParameters window and select Add (hint: there’s a better way!).

Conventional method to add Global Parameter

Global parameters can also be accessed in via the solver tab in a similar way to typical inputs (this is important later on).

The Quick way to add Global Parameters

We don’t really want to have to navigate to that configuration ribbon, right-click a bunch, choose names and assign units do we? Good news! There is a much faster way to add a global parameter. We can add a global parameter with minimal work by simply typing a dollar sign “$” prefacing the name of the tag in any of our component input fields! Remember to hit enter after typing the identifier.

Global Parameter Shortcut

Once a global parameter has been defined we can tie more inputs to the existing parameter by typing the dollar sign “$” and choosing the correct parameter from a drop down:

Multi-Assign Global Parameters

As you can see, this can be quite a time saver when building a network! The next trick utilizing global parameters will have to do with using them for actual analysis.

Using Global Parameters as Manipulatable Inputs

The default/slow way to change a global parameter would be to go to the configuration ribbon > global parameters, and manually change the value in the floating window. No thanks. This is not automated at all and requires many clicks.

The better way to utilize the global parameter as an input would be to tie the global parameter to an input sheet, parameter table (for a parametric study), or even a human machine interface component (HMI).

Global Parameters in Input Sheet

For a design variable that an analyst or engineer may change which would then remain constant (such as pipe diameter) the input sheet comes in very handy. To reference a global parameter in the input sheet recall the second method to access the global parameters and then simply drag and drop onto the input sheet:

Global Parameter in Input Sheet

Global Parameters in Parameter Table

If you are trying to run a parametric study where you are varying something like ambient temperature, it makes sense to use a global parameter as you may have many boundary conditions defined by a single global parameter. Similar to the input sheet this can be tied to a global parameter by a simple drag and drop operation:

Global Parameter as variable in Parameter Table

Global Parameter in a Human Machine Interface

By now I expect you are catching on. The trick to defining a global parameter externally is to use the second method; solver tab > global parameters, and then drag and drop to your desired connection. In the HMI instance I’ve tied inlet mass flow to a Track Bar so that a user can dynamically change the flow rate during the solve:

Global Parameter tied to HMI
Global Parameters and HMI components

Global Parameters are efficient and POWERFUL

We can use global parameters during network construction using the “$” shortcut to build our networks much more quickly and keep identical inputs the same. We can tie these global parameters to other tools to keep our user inputs all in one place, reducing clicks, and reducing the chance of forgetting to update an input.

Bonus Tips!

  • Global Parameters can also be used in Designer so that you can keep your independent to dependent variable count the same (EX: Adjusting ALL pipe diameters to target a single exit flowrate)
  • Global Parameters can be adjusted via transient actions (EX: Adjusting ambient temperature to model the changing temperature over the course of 24 hours).

Adding a Background Image in Flownex

In this post I will go over what is usually the first step in any Flownex network I build. Adding a background image not only helps me lay out my network but also helps colleagues and clients understand networks at a very quick glance. In this example I am using Flownex version 8.12.7.4334

Choosing an Appropriate Image

The first thing we want to do is to make sure that the image size is such that it’s reasonable in size both resolution-wise (so it doesn’t appear pixelated), and right-size so that components don’t appear too small when placed on top. I recommend something in the multi-thousand of pixels both in width an height. 3000 pixels at a minimum. I usually shoot for around 10,000 wide by 5,000 high if the background image will be landscape. For very complex, large networks, it may make sense to go much larger.

Once we’ve found an appropriate image we will want to make a note of the exact size. This can be found by right-clicking on the image file, selecting properties, and navigating to the details tab.

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Confirming Image Resolution

Resizing Flownex Canvas

The canvas in Flownex can be resized to match this resolution by right-clicking on the canvas, selecting edit page, and populating the correct inputs:

Editing Canvas Inputs

Applying Background Image

The background image can be applied by clicking the radio button next to Style in the Appearance subcategory. Here we will change the Fill Style type to Image, then click the Select Image button:

Styles Editor

The images saved locally to this project will appear here. To add an image we simply click Add Image, navigate to the image of our choice, and click open. Now that it is available as an option we select the image in the Image Selector Gallery and click OK.

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Image Selector Gallery

We can press OK in the Styles Editor to confirm our changes and we should now see our added image as the new background!

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Drawing Canvas with Background Image

Bonus Tips!

  • Adjusting the Fill Style opacity can fade out the background image so that it doesn’t overwhelm the Flownex components placed on top.
  • Turning off the grid under the View ribbon can make the canvas a bit more aesthetically pleasing.

Press Release: Ansys Elite Channel Partner and Stratasys Diamond Channel Partner, PADT Announces Jim Sanford as Vice President of Sales & Support

The Sales and Support team at PADT is the group that most of PADT’s customers interface with. They sell world-leading products from Ansys, Stratasys, and Flownex and then provide award-winning support long after the initial purpose. The team has grown over the years and has plans for even more growth. To help make that happen, we are honored to have Jim Sanford join the PADT family as the Vice President of our Sales & Support team.

Many of our customers and partners know Jim from his time with industry leaders Siemens, MSC, Dassault Systems, and NextLabs, Inc. He brings that experience and his background as a mechanical engineer before he entered sales, to focus PADT on our next phase of growth. He also fit well in PADT’s culture of customer focused, technical driven sales and support.

Our customers have a choice of who they purchase their Ansys multiphysics simulation, Stratasys 3D Printers, and Flownex system simulation software from, and who delivers their frontline support. We know with Jim leading the team, even more companies will make the choice to be part of the PADT family.

The official press release has more details, and can be found at these links or in the test below.

Press Release: PDF | HTML

Want to have a conversation about your Simulation or 3D Printing situation? Contact PADT now and one of our profesionals will be happy to help.


Ansys Elite Channel Partner and Stratasys Diamond Channel Partner, PADT Announces Jim Sanford as Vice President of Sales & Support

Sanford Brings a Wide Range of High-Profile Leadership Experience Across Technology and Aerospace and Defense Sectors to his New Position

TEMPE, Ariz., February 11, 2021 PADT, a globally recognized provider of numerical simulation, product development, and 3D printing products and services, today announced the addition of Jim Sanford as vice president of the company’s Sales & Support department. In his new position, Sanford is responsible for leading the increase of sales and customer support for a range of best-in-class simulation and additive manufacturing solutions. Sanford reports to Ward Rand, co-founder and principal, PADT.

“In the last few years, PADT has expanded across the Southwest, adding new expertise and technologies to our product and service offerings,” said Rand. “Jim is a valuable addition to the team and will be instrumental in sustaining PADT’s growth across the region. His leadership, experience, and knowledge of the industry will allow us to increase the pace of expansion and bring our solutions to serve new and existing customers in deeper and more impactful ways to their businesses.”

After a comprehensive search, Sanford proved to be the most experienced and capable leader to take on the vice president role. He will focus on providing visionary guidance, strategy, and tactical direction to the department. His responsibilities include refining the company’s sales team structure, recruiting, hiring, training, managing for profitable growth, and leading the support team to ensure an optimal customer experience for their use of Ansys, Stratasys, and Flownex products.

Prior to joining PADT, Sanford held business development and engineering positions in a diverse range of aerospace and defense, modeling and simulation, and software companies. His 30-year career span includes executive leadership roles at Siemens, MSC, and Dassault. Most recently he served as the VP for NextLabs Inc., a leading provider of policy-driven information risk management software for large enterprises, and the VP of Business Development for Long Range Services, where he was engaged in the development and testing of various classified items for the U.S. Department of Defense. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Arizona, with emphasis in materials science and physics.

“PADT is a well-respected brand well-known for its product knowledge, customer-centric approach, and expertise,” said Sanford. “My career has been defined by my ability to take technology-focused companies to the next level of success, and I’m thrilled to join PADT and help continue its expansion by supporting highly innovative customers.”

PADT currently sells and supports the entire Ansys product line in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah as an Ansys Elite Channel Partner. They also represent all Stratasys products in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah as a Diamond Channel Partner and are the North American distributor for Flownex.

To learn more about Sanford and PADT’s products and services, please visit https://www.padtinc.com/products/

About PADT

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 90 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.

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Building a System Model of the RL-10 Rocket Engine in Flownex

When we engineers are building a new system or iterating on an existing design it can be expensive.  Simulating a full system-level model in a 3D CFD program can take days.  Making iterative changes to an existing system can be costly or even impossible. Utilizing a one-dimensional system modeler like Flownex allows us to analyze many different designs very quickly, on the order of seconds or minutes.

Flownex is a thermal-fluid network modeler.  It is a simulation tool that allows for 1D fluid modeling and 2D heat transfer.  It uses a variety of flow components, nodes, and heat transfer elements to model the entire system we are interested in analyzing.  It solves conservation of mass, momentum, and energy to obtain the mass flow, pressure, and temperature of fluids and solids throughout the complete network.  Because of this approach we can analyze large, complex networks very quickly, iterate on designs, and even run short or long transient simulations with ease.

In the example today we are looking at a version of the RL-10 rocket engine, which has been a staple in the delivery of satellites into orbit and an essential part of many spacecraft. The specific iteration of the RL-10 we will be using for building our network model is the RL10A-3-3A. A good place to begin with any system model is a system schematic:

Figure 2: RL10A-3-3A Engine System Schematic – Image from https://ntrs.nasa.gov/citations/19970010379

In Flownex we can assign an image (could be from a P&ID diagram, a CAD cross-section, or even a satellite image!) as the background for our drawing canvas. We simply need to right-click on the drawing canvas and select Edit Page to bring up the drawing canvas properties.

Clicking on the action button under Appearance Style brings up the Styles Editor.  Here we can change the fill style to Image and select the appropriate image for our background.

In the case of the RL-10 we can use the image from figure 2 as our background image.  We may want to consider adjusting the opacity of the image so that it blends into the background a little bit more.

In Flownex building a system model is as simple as drag and drop.  We can build our rocket engine using a variety of flow components from the Flow Solver library. To build the RL-10 system model we will be using the following components:

CEA Adiabatic Flame component to model combustion.

Composite Heat Transfer component to model thermal transport through pipe-walls to ambient and to model the regen.

Boundary Conditions to constrain our system at the inlets and outlet.

Basic Valves to model the different valves in the system,

Flow Resistances to model specified losses where appropriate.

Flow Interfaces to model the fluids entering the combustion chamber (to transfer fluid properties as we switch from two-phase O2 and H2 to gaseous fluids for modeling combustion.

Pipes for modeling various flow-paths.

Restrictors with Discharge Coefficient for our injection ports to the combustion chamber.

Restrictors with Loss Coefficient to model both the Calibrated Orifice and the Venturi contraction/expansion.

Basic Centrifugal Pumps for our Fuel and LOX pumps.

Simple Turbine to model the Fuel Turbine

Shafts to connect our different pumps mechanically.

Gearbox is used to connect the shafts between the LOX pump and the Fuel Pump.

Exit Thrust Nozzle to determine total thrust.

Script is used in assigning O2 properties prior to combustion.

The components may be dragged and dropped from the component library onto the drawing canvas to build our system model. We can also copy and paste components that are already on the canvas into different locations. This can be especially useful when the same inputs for say, a pipe, are used consistently throughout the model. All components have both Inputs and a Results associated with them as seen in the figure below. This is how we will define our flow components.

The completed model of the RL-10 Rocket Engine can be seen below. There are a few simplifications; we are using composite heat transfer components to model free convection to a specified ambient temperature (as though this was a land-based test). Rather than tie the actual temperatures and flow conditions in the nozzle to the regen we are using assumed temperatures and convective heat transfer coefficients. For additional fidelity we could model the heat transfer between these two flow paths with calculated convective heat transfer coefficients and we could model cross-conduction along the pipes which deliver the fuel and oxidizer to the combustion chamber. With additional effort, more complex use cases could also be simulated.

For the sake of demonstration we set up a transient action to slowly vary the oxidizer control valve fraction open; starting at 30% and ending at 100% open and observer the change in thrust at the nozzle as a function of this changing transient action.

Plots may be easily added by dragging a Line Graph from the Visualization > Graphs section of the component library onto our canvas. To choose the characteristics we would like plotted against time we simply need to drag and drop the desired inputs or results onto our newly placed line graph.

RL-10 Transient Thrust Plot

We can plot both the oxidizer control valve fraction open and the thrust versus time to observe the thrust reaction to the opening of the valve. The thrust plot has some jumps that are likely due to numerical singularities – with additional work this could be improved.

As can be seen, setting up complex system models in Flownex is relatively simple with most operations being drag and drop. For ease of sharing models with colleagues or customers adding a background image makes it very easy to see how the flow components in the model correspond with a system schematic. Setting up and plotting the effects of operational transients is a breeze!

For more information on Flownex please reach out to Dan Christensen at dan.christensen@padtinc.com.

All Things ANSYS 020 – Modeling Flow & Heat Transfer with Flownex

 

Published on: September 10th, 2018
With: Eric Miller, Luke Davidson, Vincent Britz, and Farai Hetze
Description: In this episode your host and Co-Founder of PADT, Eric Miller is joined by Luke Davidson and Vincent Britz of M-Tech, and Farai Hetze from CFX-Berlin, for an interview on the what Flownex is, it’s capabilities for modeling flow and heat transfer, and how it works with ANSYS products. All that, followed by an update on news and events in the respective worlds of ANSYS and PADT.

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:
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@ANSYS #ANSYS

Getting to Know PADT: Flownex Sales and Support

This is the second installment in our review of all the different products and services PADT offers our customers. As we add more, they will be available here.  As always, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to reach out to info@padtinc.com or give us a call at 1-800-293-PADT.

The PADT sales and support team focused on simulation solutions is best known for our work with the full ANSYS product suite.  What a lot of people don’t know is that we also represent a fantastic simulation tool called Flownex. Flownex is a system level 1-D program that is designed from the ground up to model thermal-fluid systems.

What does Flownex Do?

Flownex Simulation Environment is an interactive software program that allows users to model systems to understand how fluids (gas and/or liquid) flow and how heat is transferred in that same system due to that flow.  the way it works is you create a network of components that are connected together as a system.  The heat and fluid transfer within and between each node is calculated over time, giving a very accurate, and fast,  representation of the system’s behavior.

As a system simulation tool, it is fast, it is easy to build and change, and it runs in real time or even faster.  This allows users to drive the design of their entire system through simulation.

Need to know what size pump you need, use Flownex.  Want to know if you heat exchanger is exchanging enough heat for every situation, use Flownex.  Tasked with making sure your nuclear reactor will stay cool in all operating conditions, use Flownex.   Making sure you have optimized the performance of your combustion nozzles, use Flownex.  Time to design your turbine engine cooling network, use Flownex. Required to verify that your mine ventilation and fire suppression system will work, use Flownex. The applications go on and on.

Why is Flownex so Much Better than other System Thermal-Fluid Modeling Solutions?

There are a lot of solutions for modeling thermal-fluid systems. We have found that the vast majority of companies use simple spreadsheets or home-grown tools. There are also a lot of commercial solutions out there. Flownex stands out for five key reasons:

  1. Breadth and depth of capability
    Flownex boasts components, the objects you link together in your network, that spread across physics and applications.  Whereas most tools will focus on one industry, Flownex is a general purpose tool that supports far more situations.  For depth they have taken the time over the years to not just have simple models.  Each component has sophisticated equations that govern its behavior and user defined parameters that allow for very accurate modeling.
  2. Developed by hard core users
    Flownex started life as an internal code to support consulting engineers. Experienced engineering software programmers worked with those consultants day-in and day-out to develop the tools that were needed to solve real world problems.  This is the reason why when users ask “What I really need to do to solve my problem is such-and-such, can Flownex do that?” we can usually answer “Yes, and here are the options to make it even more accurate.”
  3. Customization and Integration
    As powerful and in-depth as Flownex is, there is no way to capture every situation for every user.  Nor does the program do everything. That is why it is so open and so easy to customize and integrate. As an example, may customers have very specific thermal-pressure-velocity models that they use for their specific components. Models that they developed after years if not decades of testing. Not a problem, that behavior can be easily added to Flownex.  If a customer even has their own software or a 3rd party tool they need to use, it is pretty easy to integrate it right into your Flownex system model.Very common tools are already integrated. The most common connection is Matlab/Simulink.  At PADT we often connect Excel models from customers into our Systems  for consulting.  It is also integrated into ANSYS Mechanical.
  4. Nuclear Quality Standards
    Flownex came in to its own as a tool used to model the fluid system in and around Nuclear Reactors.  So it had to meet very rigorous quality standards, if not the most stringent they are pretty close. This forced to tool to be very robust, accurate, and well documented. And the rest of us can take advantage of that intense quality requirement to meet and exceed the needs of pretty much every industry.  We can tell you after using it for our own consulting projects and after talking to other users, this code is solid.
  5. Ease of Use
    Some people will read the advantages above and think that this is fantastic, but that much capability and flexibility must make it difficult to use. Nothing could be further from the truth.  Maybe its because the most demanding users are down the hallway and can come and harangue the developers. Or it could be that their initial development goal of keeping ease of use without giving up on functionality was actually followed.  Regardless of why, this simulation tool is amazingly simple and intuitive.  From building the model to reviewing results to customization, everything is easy to learn, remember, and user.  To be honest, it is actually fun to use. Not something a lot of simulation engineers say.

Why does buying and getting support from PADT for Flownex make a Difference?

The answer to this question is fairly simple: PADT’ simulation team is made up of very experienced users who have to apply this technology to our own internal projects as well as to consulting jobs.  We know this tool and we also work closely with the developers at Flownex.  As with our ANSYS products, we don’t just work on knowing how to use the tool, we put time in to understand the theory behind everything as well as the practical real world industry application.

When you call for support, odds are the engineer who answers is actually suing Flownex on a customer’s system.  We also have the infrastructure and size in place to make sure we have the resources to provide that support.  Investing in a new simulation tool can generate needs for training, customization, and integration; not to mention traditional technical support. PADT partners with our customers to make sure they get the greatest value form their simulation software investment.

              

Reach out to Give it a Try or Learn More

Our team is ready and waiting to answer your questihttp://www.flownex.com/flownex-demoons or provide you with a demonstration of this fantastic tool. .  You can email us at info@padtinc.com or give us a call at 480.813.4884 or 1-800-293-PADT.

Still want to learn more? Here are some links to more information:

 

  

PADT Events – March 2017

March starts out with a bang, with a ton of events in that very first week. So we are updating everyone on the month’s events a week early. They cover a wide range of customers and states, so we hope to see many of you there.

The most important is our Open House for families, part of the AZ ScitTech festival. Make sure you RSVP so we order enough pizza!


12th annual Wasatch Front Materials Expo

03/01/17
SLCC Miller Campus
Salt Lake City, UT

This is a fantastic event that brings manufacturing companies in Utah together to share and network. PADT will have a table. Stop on by!
Learn more

Scientifically fun for the whole family: PADT 2017 SciTech Festival Open House

03/02/17
PADT HQ
Tempe, AZ

Once again, PADT Inc. is proud to partner with AZ SCITECH to promote and celebrate Arizona’s STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) programs!As part of this event, we will be hosting an open house that will give you an inside look at what our engineers do all day, as well as a first hand display of the capabilities of innovative technology such as 3D Printing and Simulation. Come see how we make innovation work!
Learn more

Mayo Clinic Course: Collaborative 3D Printing in Medical Practice

3/3/2017-3/7/2017
Fairmont Scottsdale Princess
Scottsdale, AZ

Collaborative 3D Printing in Medical Practice is a post-graduate course designed to update and introduce radiologists, surgeons, dentists, biomedical engineers, and other health professionals and administrators on uses of 3D printing of anatomic models. PADT will be there as an exhibitor to answer questions about how 3D Printing and Simulation can be leveraged by in the medical space.
Learn more

Webinar: Co-Simulation with ANSYS Workbench and Flownex SE

03/07/17
Online

In this webinar Flownex will discuss some examples which are ideal for a hybrid 1D-3D simulation and showcase how Flownex can be used with ANSYS products to maximise the efficiency of your simulations. This is a great oportunity for those who do system fluid-thermal simulation or those who do component CFD, and they want to know how to use the two together.
Learn more

America Makes TRX

3/14/2017-3/16/2017
University of Texas, El Paso
El Paso, TX

The event gathers all of the members of America Makes in one place to review the advancements in the US Additive Manufacturing industry. PADT’s Dhruv Bhate will be sharing the results of our America Makes project and looking forward to catching up with all of you who are members.
Learn more

Seminar: Impacting the Medical Device Value Chain: What is the Right Supply Chain for Your Product?

3/22/2017
Arizona State University
Tempe, AZ

PADT’s Eric Miller will be on a panel discussion supply chain and how it impacts medical device development.  We will consider ways innovative companies approach product development as well as principal upstream and downstream strategies and risks associated with innovative medical products. The extent to which products and processes are truly disruptive will be considered. Product diversity will be addressed including impacts of evolving business-to-business and business-to-customer strategies, biosensors, 3-D printing, and the shift of care outside of the acute care setting.
Learn more

Hardwarecon: The Convention for Hardware Startups

3/24/2017-3/25/2017
ZNE Center
San Leandro, CA

PADT’s Eric Miller will be attending this unique event focused on hardware startups along with ANSYS, Inc. He will be talking about using Simulation to drive product design in a startup. This is a great event where the focus is on hardware and how to produce outstanding physical products.
Learn more

Flownex at the International SMR and Advanced Reactor Summit 2017

3/30/2017-3/31/2017
Westin Buckhead
Atlanta, GA

Our team will be joining staff from Flownex for this key event in the small modular reactor space to talk about how Flownex is becoming an important design and performance tuning tool for the industry.
Learn more

New Flownex Training Course Available Online

flownex-training-1

We are pleased to announce the new Flownex Training Course for Flownex SE, the world’s best (we think) thermal-fluid modeling tool.  The Flownex course is aimed at new users with a desire to quickly equip themselves in the basics of system modelling as well as enabling one to visually refresh one’s memory on the various capabilities and applications within the Flownex suite.

If you are not a user already but want to check this tool out by going through the training course, go to the login page and simply click “Don’t have an account?” and register. This will get you access and we will follow up with a temp key so you can try it out.  This is actually the best way for you to get a feel for why we like this program so much.

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Here is a list of the sessions:

  • Session 1: Background to Flownex
  • Session 2: Page navigation
  • Session 3: Boundary values
  • Session 4: Pumps & Fixed mass flow functionality
  • Session 5: Flow restrictions
  • Session 6: Exercise 1
  • Session 7: Designer functionality
  • Session 8: Heat Exchangers
  • Session 9: Containers
  • Session 10: Exercise 2
  • Session 11: Excel component
  • Session 12: Visualization

As always, If you have any questions or want to know more, reach out to us at info@padtinc.com or 1.800.293.PADT.

Driving the Design of Small Modular Nuclear Reactors with Flownex

Flownex-Logo-2015-250wThe 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.

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Learn more at www.padtinc.com/flownex, give us a call at 480.813.4884 or email brian.duncan@padtinc.com.

 

New Enhancements to Flownex 2015: Even Better Fluid-Thermal Simulation

987786-flownex_simulation_environment-11_12_13The 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

Major Enhancements

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.

Shared Database
Shared Database

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.

Subdivided Cavities

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.

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Subdivided Cavity Input Dialog

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.

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Excel Parameter Tables

Component Enhancements

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.

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Dialog for upstream and downstream area specification

Scaled Drawing

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.

Scaled Drawing Tools
Scaled Drawing Tools

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 brain.duncan@padtinc.com. 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.

Three Jobs Open at PADT

3-Guys-PADTPADT currently has three job openings, two sales and one engineering.  If you are interested, or know of someone that is, please use the links below to learn more.

If you are smart, proactive, love technology, and believe in win-win interactions with customers, then PADT might be the place for you.

Electrical Engineer, High-Frequency Simulation: RF/Antenna
Account Manager: ANSYS Simulation Software
Account Manager, Flownex Sales

Flownex and PADT Sponsor University of Houston’s Rankin Rollers Team

rankin-rollers-logoA 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.

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Look! Flownex and PADT on Social Media! Thanks for the plug guys.
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:

    1. Create a fully automated system control
    2. Create system with rolling frame for ease of transport
    3. Create system with dimensions of 4x2x3.5 ft
    4. Deliver pre-made lab experiments
    5.  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.

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    This is the Team’s proposed configuration for the final test bench.
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    We can’t wait to see this flow diagram translated into Flownex.

    Integrating ANSYS Fluent and Mechanical with Flownex

    Component boundaries generated in Flownex are useful in CFD simulation (inlet velocities, pressures, temperatures, mass flow). Generation of fluid and surface temperature distribution results from Flownex can also be useful in many FEA simulations. For this reason the latest release of Flownex SE was enhance to include several levels of integration with ANSYS.  

    ANF Import

    By simply clicking on an Import ANF icon on the Flownex Ribbon bar users can select the file that they want to import. The user will be requested to select whether the file must be imported as 3D Geometry which conserves the coordinates system or as an isometric drawing.

    The user can also select the type of component which should be imported in the Flownex library. Since the import only supports lines and line related items this will typically be a pipe component.

    Following a similar procedure, a DXF importer allows users to import files from AutoCAD.

    This rapid model construction gives Flownex users the ability to create and simulate networks quicker. With faster model construction, users can easily get to results and spend less time constructing models.

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    ANSYS Flow Solver Coupling and Generic Interface

    The Flownex library was extended to include components for co-simulation with ANSYS Fluent and ANSYS Mechanical.
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    These include a flow solver coupling checks, combined convergence and exchanges data on each iteration, and a generic coupling that can be used for cases when convergence between the two software programs is not necessary.

    The general procedure for both the Fluent and Mechanical co-simulation is the same:

    1. By identifying specified named selections, Flownex will replace values in a Fluent journal file or ds.dat file in the case of Mechanical.
    2. From Flownex, Fluent/Mechanical will then be run in batch mode
    3. The ANSYS results are then written into text files that are used inputs into Flownex.
    4. When applicable, specified convergence criteria will be checked and the procedure repeated if necessary.

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    Learn More

    To learn more about Flownex or how Flownex and ANSYS Mechanical contact PADT at 480.813.4884 or roy.haynie@padtinc.com.  You can also learn more about Flownex at www.flownex.com.