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CFD Simulation of Championship Soccer Balls
Posted Thu July 22, 2010 @02:02PM
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Application While the attention of the world focused on soccer balls (or footballs if you prefer) this summer, Wilson continues to drive technical innovation in the design of their sports balls by teaming with CD-adapco to redefine state-of-the-art computer simulation of soccer ball aerodynamics.

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During preparations and all the way through the final match of this year's World Cup, FIFA fielded complaints from many players concerned with uncontrollable speed and/or unpredictable flight behavior of the official match ball which was developed and manufactured by the tournament's primary corporate sponsor.

The primary objective of this partnership is to ensure that Wilson maintains its competitive edge in the technical design of its products with a focus on ball aerodynamics. “Wilson has long realized the importance of aerodynamics in the design of reliable and high performance golf balls, footballs, soccer balls, basketballs, and baseballs,” said Doug Guenther, Wilson Sporting Goods Co., Vice President of Research and Development. "Several factors lead to the choice of CD-adapco and STAR-CCM+," stated Guenther. "The ability of STAR-CCM+ to accurately and efficiently solve unsteady flows with boundary layer transition was certainly a key technical factor, but equally important is the support and flexibility offered by CD-adapco. Their dedicated support model and Power-on-Demand offering is an ideal solution for our needs."

The complexities with computational simulation to analyze the flow around soccer balls are well documented. In the past, most computational fluid dynamics (CFD) studies were limited to fundamental models. This was accomplished by simplifying the details in the shape of the ball and ultimately reducing the actual flow physics involved. These simplifications eventually led to inaccurate results, forcing ball designers to perform expensive and time consuming wind tunnel tests. STAR-CCM+ is CD-adapco's flagship software product which allows engineers to accurately and efficiently simulate aerodynamics (and other types of fluid flow) of any level of complexity using CFD.

flow pathlines
Simulation of Wilson championship soccer ball with STAR-CCM+.

Using STAR-CCM+ allows Wilson to easily model the genuine shape of the ball including details such as the panels, seams and stitches. This is imperative because these geometric details affect the transition of the airflow from laminar to turbulent flow, and this is the critical element to accurately predicting the aerodynamic drag and stability of the ball. The initial phases of the project were executed using Power-on-Demand with computer clusters running Windows HPC Server 2008.

The Power-on-Demand offering from CD-adapco enables Wilson to take advantage of cloud computing when executing the STAR-CCM+ simulations. "Cloud computing is a fantastic cost-effective solution for Wilson, and our Power-on-Demand offering makes it easy to use STAR-CCM+ on the cloud." said David L. Vaughn, VP Worldwide Marketing for CD-adapco. Vaughn continued, "We are proud to partner with Wilson, not only because of their renowned history of quality products, but because of their innovative vision that includes applying technology to continue providing the best equipment to the world of sports."

Wilson and CD-adapco intend to follow the success of this project with studies focusing on other Wilson Sport categories, including American Footballs.

About CD-adapco
CD-adapco is the world's largest independent CFD focused CAE provider. Our core products are the technology-leading simulation packages, STAR-CCM+ and STAR-CD. The scope of our activities, however, extends well beyond CFD software development to encompass a wide range of CAE engineering services in fluid dynamics, heat transfer and structural engineering. Our ongoing mission is to "inspire innovation and reduce costs through the application of engineering simulation software and services."

A privately owned company, CD-adapco has maintained 16% organic year-on-year growth over the last 5 years. CD-adapco employs over 400 talented individuals, working at 21 different offices across the globe.

About Wilson
Chicago-based Wilson Sporting Goods Co., a division of Amer Sports, is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of sports equipment. The company designs, manufactures and distributes advanced equipment that helps players improve their performance. Wilson’s core categories include Baseball, Football, Basketball, Softball, Bats, Volleyball, Soccer, Youth Sports, Uniforms/Apparel, Golf, Footwear, and Racquet Sports (Tennis, Racquetball, Squash, Badminton and Platform Tennis).

All product and company names herein may be trademarks of their registered owners.

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