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Application: CFD at Opel
Posted Thu November 15, 2001 @07:09PM
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Application CFD engineers at Opel have streamlined the simulation process for vehicle external aerodynamics. Their aim is to produce high-accuracy CFD predictions in the shortest turn-around time.

Opel utilizes a CAE database which allows the engineers to quickly extract components, such as the base chassis, external mirrors, and spoilers, and combine them into a CAD model. The pre-processing software ANSA is then used to produce a triangular surface mesh. Generation of the volume mesh is done using a variety of tools including Fluent's TGrid and GAMBIT mesh generators. Prism layers are utilized to provide good resolution of the viscous boundary layer and the remaining volume is filled with tetrahedra. Non-conformal interfaces are used to handle difficult geometry such as external mirrors, underbody, and side window steps.

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The mesh is further refined inside the Fluent flow solver using mesh adaptation to y+ and static pressure gradients. Typically 5 grid adaptations, of the hanging-node type, are performed with each adaptation affecting 1-2% of the total cell count. Solution convergence is determined when the lift and drag coefficients vary less than 0.001.

Pressure distribution and pathlines around the Opel Astra vehicle
Courtesy of Opel AG and Fluent

Visualization of the predicted flow field allows the Opel engineers to evaluate the aerodynamics of the car's components long before a physical model is constructed. In the future, Opel engineers hope to increase model complexity and solution accuracy, as well as, add additional capabilities such as aeroacoustics and water management.

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