The PADT Blog

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


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

    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 we would love to hear from you!



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

    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.


    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;


    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

    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:

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



  • 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

    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


    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

    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

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  • 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

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