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Optimal Solutions Wins SBIR Phase II
Posted Wed October 06, 2004 @02:36PM
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News NASA has recently awarded Optimal Solutions Software, LLC a second phase of the only Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) project in the State of Idaho in 2004. The first phase of the project began in January, 2004.

The SBIR project will allow the company to add new features and capabilities to its existing computational fluid dynamics (CFD) shape deformation and design optimization software tool—Sculptor™. The new capability will enable NASA engineers who are responsible for designing complex valves and pipe fittings on pipes that transport dangerous fluids, such as liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen, to achieve designs that meet strict design standards for these applications.

Sculptor is an interactive design software program that provides capabilities to perform shape deformation and optimization in CFD design—in real time—thus, eliminating the numerous iterations inherent in the process when the designer has to manually modify the design.


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Key benefits of the innovations that Sculptor™ will have as a result of this NASA SBIR project are:
  • The ability to optimize complex component designs; i.e., control valves, manifolds, mixers, pipe fittings, etc. Some of these components require the deformation of several different grids while guaranteeing the same shape change in each grid. The high-level volume creation and manipulation tools will greatly simplify this process and enable the optimization of complex problems.
  • Speed up the optimization to process by taking advantage of advanced parallel computers and an improved user interface and software tools.
  • Allow NASA Stennis Space Center to leverage its CFD analysis capabilities to quickly troubleshoot engineering problems and produce timely solutions.
  • The successful addition of evolutionary optimization algorithms to Sculptor™ will facilitate the future generation of Pareto design sets so that a broad range of optimal designs will be produced based on different and often times competing objective functions.
  • Become a versatile CFD design tool for all of NASA—not just Stennis Space Center—as well as other government agencies and the commercial marketplace.

The NASA SBIR project will allow Optimal Solutions to incorporate new capabilities that will even further enhance Sculptor’s™ already rich set of tools available for arbitrary geometric shape deformation and optimization.

NASA Small Business Innovation Research projects are not new to the Optimal Solutions team. In 1998, Optimal Solutions Software, LLC, captured a DOD/Air Force SBIR for “Efficient CFD-Based Aerodynamic Shape Optimization”. This project was the application of technology to the optimization of aircraft shapes. An initial shape was provided, along with certain criteria for design optimization, such as maximizing the lift-to-drag ratio through all angles of attack. Improvements in these aircraft shapes gave them more maneuverability during flight in order to perform evasive actions.

three dimensional valve
Valve plug geometry. The grid of control points is an Arbitrary Shape Deformation grid, within Sculptor, created and used to deform the valve geometry to improve its performance.

 

valve after deformation
Valve shape after deformation. The shape change is subtle, however, large improvements in achieving the desired fluid flow characteristics are found by using Sculptor’s smooth, volumetric, shape optimization capabilities.

 

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