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Exa Helps US Bobsled Team Achieve Gold
Posted Tue March 23, 2010 @09:46AM
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Application Exa® Corporation, a global innovator of fluids simulation (CAE/CFD) solutions for product engineering, announces that its PowerFLOW® software, was used by USA’s bobsled engineers to digitally simulate and optimize the fastest four-man US bobsled ever. This sled brought gold to the USA this month in an Olympic victory—the first for the men in 62 years.


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Driver Steven Holcomb immediately credited the sled’s speed, “Our Night Train sled—it’s like fire.” Even initial test runs proved that the Night Train was, at a minimum, shaving a tenth of a second off the fastest times of previous sleds—a remarkable advantage in these competitions where often mere hundredths of a second separate the medal winners.

“After winning the first World Championships in 50 years last season, we were hopeful this highly engineered sled would again be a champion in Vancouver,” commented Bob Cuneo, President of Chassis Dynamics and Chief Engineer for the USA Bobsled team. “Our initial trials were so promising and that we ultimately exceeded our expectations,” he continued.

“PowerFLOW simulation and collaboration with Exa’s engineering experts allowed us to visualize and analyze flow structures and aerodynamic effects simply not possibly in a wind tunnel. We were able to make numerous design iterations in extremely short timeframes, resulting in this final, highly optimized gold-medal winning design.” All simulation runs on the sled were performed with Exa’s OnDemand service, leveraging hosted IBM supercomputing power that delivered results in mere hours—key for developing complete new designs in weeks.

“Exa is delighted to have helped the US team achieve this historic result,” remarked Dr. Brad Duncan, Director of Aerodynamics for Exa Corporation. “Building these sleds is a unique art, and we are thrilled to have collaborated with the team to allow rapid and systematic exploration of innovative ideas. PowerFLOW’s ability to quickly produce highly accurate results on fully detailed geometry allowed the design team to virtually eliminate expensive wind tunnel tests.” Duncan continued, “In fact, we were able to meet extreme time constraints and allow the team meet their goal of re-engineering the design, quickly, before the 2009 World Championships.”

Phil Kurze, President of the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project, an organization with a singular mission to raise funds to make USA sleds more competitive said, “This win validates all the hard work. We knew that aerodynamic superiority would definitely help the USA team in their quest for Olympic gold.” Kurze continued, “Many sleds in Vancouver achieved 90-plus MPH. The Night Train’s aerodynamic sled improvements became even more significant in Vancouver due to the speed of the track, and helped our team achieve a record performance over talented global competition.”

About the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project
The Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project was the brainchild of former NASCAR driver and 1986 Daytona 500 winner Geoff Bodine. After watching the 1984 United States Olympic Bobsled team finish well outside of medal contention, Bodine decided to get involved and help bring the sled technology up to par with the world’s top programs. Bodine proceeded to partner with Chassis Dynamics and Whelen Engineering to build a bobsled for the U.S. athletes. It was an idea that led to the creation of the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project that has since put the U.S. Bobsled team back into Olympic medal contention. For more information or to donate to this cause, visit www.bodynbobsled.com.

About Exa Corporation
Exa Corporation develops, markets, and supports a suite CAE and CFD simulation software tools including PowerFLOW, PowerDELTA® PowerCLAY®, PowerWRAP®, PowerVIZ®, PowerSPECTRUM®, PowerACOUSTICS™, PowerCOOL® and PowerTHERM® along with professional engineering consulting services. Exa’s products and services enable engineers to create competitive designs, while shortening product design cycles, and speeding time-to-market. A partial customer list includes: AGCO, BMW, Chrysler, Ford, Hyundai, Kenworth, MAN, Nissan, Peterbilt, Renault, Scania, Toyota, Volkswagen, and Volvo Trucks.

Founded in 1991, the company is headquartered at 55 Network Drive, Burlington, MA, USA 01803. Tel: 1.781.676.8500; Fax: 1.781.676.8599; Email: info@exa.com; URL: www.exa.com

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