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A Landmark in Simulation
Posted Tue October 28, 2003 @05:31PM
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Application by Nick Waterson,
Mott Macdonald, UK

Mott Macdonald is an international engineering and management consultancy based in the United Kingdom and operating world wide in the fields of construction, transportation, energy, water resources, the environment and education.

The Simulation Group within Mott Macdonald has been using CFX-4 and CFX-5 from ANSYS CFX for more than 12 years to solve a wide variety of problems relating principally to fire safety, wind engineering and power generation.

The Maitreya Project International is planning to build one of the largest statues of the Buddha in the world. The statue, with a height of 152m and a design life of 1000 years, is to be located in northern India. Mott Macdonald has been acting as consultant for a number of aspects of the design as well as the project management. The unusual nature and size of the structure mean that a number of advanced analysis techniques, including computational fluid dynamics, are required to overcome the many design challenges. During the preliminary design phase, one key issue to be addressed was the effect of extreme wind loads on the structure. It was decided to use a CFD approach for the initial determination of these loads, to be backed up by wind-tunnel testing and further CFD studies later in the project.


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The complex shape of the structure makes it ideally suited to analysis using an unstructured flow solver. A hybrid mesh consisting of 1.9 million tetrahedra, prisms and pyramids was built from an STL (triangulated) definition of the surface geometry using the ICEM Tetra mesh generator, with the geometry itself determined from a 3-D scan of the artistsí original model. Mean surface pressures were computed for a number of different wind directions and using a mean wind speed of 29 meters per second at a height of 10 meters.

Once the pressures on the statue had been computed they were scaled up to equivalent three-second gust pressures using an approach based on the typical turbulence structure of atmospheric boundary layers. These gust pressure loads were then suitably interpolated and read into the STAAD-Pro finite-element model used for the stress analysis, after which the necessary design computations were carried out. CFX-5ís unstructured-grid approach allowed wind-load estimation to be carried out on a highly unusual and complex structure within the time-scale and budget of preliminary design, helping to streamline the design process. It is anticipated that during the detailed design phase further CFD analyses will be carried out relating not only to wind loading but also thermal effects on the structure and pedestrian comfort.

statue of the Buddha
Artist's rendering of statue of the Buddha to be erected in northern India.

wind flow
Wind blowing on the front of the Buddha simulated with CFX-5.

surface pressure
CFX-5 analysis showing surface pressure mean contours.

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