What advantage does learning CFD give a Mechanical engineer?


Mechanical engineering is considered to be a field where analytics and manual power is a necessity while computational powers are optional. But the actuality is vice-versa. Let me explain how:

According to the report published by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas on January of 2014, the transportation sector in India consumes 70% of diesel in which 28.25% of diesel is consumed by heavy trucks.


Data for the chart was taken from here.


As you can imagine, fuels like diesel and petrol are extremely vital and always in demand. Reducing the consumption of fuel will benefit a country economically and environmentally. But to do, we must first understand that making a machine consume less fuel is a mechanical problem. In the case of trucks, the shape of the truck and the weight they usually carry causes a high level of drag force to act on them.

Because of the drag force acting on the trucks, they have to burn more fuel. In other words, if we can improve the aerodynamic shape of the trucks to reduce the drag force acting on them, we can reduce fuel consumption. to do so, we must develop new designs and test them. This can be done to win three ways:


Road test Accurate Expensive and time-consuming.
Wind tunnel Cheap Low level of accuracy. The circumstantial parameters are different in a wind tunnel and on-road.
CFD Extremely cheap Results are relative. CFD results are more accurate on supercomputers.


From the table above, you can understand which method is more favored. A test design of a truck is going to cost a lot of money. A wind tunnel experiment is also favored in many cases. But the problem with wind tunnels is that when they test vehicles, they don’t take the reality factor into account. A test design in wind tunnels acts under a set of parameters whereas, on-road, they act under different conditions. In CFD, we can create as many designs as we want to and test them in different conditions.

While this is just an illustration, it proves that Mechanical engineering concepts affect real-world problems like economics and the environment. And to combat those issues, we usually involve CFD whenever there is flow mechanics involved.

Here are a few reasons why CFD is preferred by industries across the world:


  1. Cost-effective & Time-consuming – Assume that you are testing a new design of refrigerator. You are trying to determine the flow rate, phase change, and change of temperature in the refrigerant. Now, if you try to build a test model and perform experiments, it will be time consuming and expensive. Also, if the model fails to pass some test, you will have to rectify your mistake, build another model, etc. which is really a long process. But in CFD software, you can perform numerous experiments once you have designed the model. If you happen to have many designs, you can build them on the computer, run tests and zero down the right model for production. – all while saving time and money.
  2. Can investigate the flow of liquids in challenging conditions – In some cases, when we work with dangerous liquids or liquid metals, it is impossible to investigate their flow behavior without compromising our safety to some extent. Or if you are working with complex systems where the temperature or pressure is too high, you will not be able to insert a probe into the system to analyze it. In such cases, CFD comes in extremely handy.
  3. Provides detailed insight into flow behavior – when testing an opaque component, you cannot analyze the flow inside the component visually. In CFD, you can take picture of the flow inside the component and extract the necessary information from it. This is vital because inflow mechanics, visualized data is essential.

Because of reasons such as the ones mentioned above, industries have already started to replace prototyping with simulation. According to the Financial Times, Jaguar land Rover is planning to remove physical prototypes from the early development processes by 2020 and rely on computer modelling instead and a lot of industries are planning to follow suit. This is why CFD is gaining popularity these days. And in order to be relevant to the industry, mechanical engineers are recommended to learn CFD in depth. Learning CFD will substantially increase your chances of securing a job in the core industry.


When you enroll in Skill-Lync's CFD engineering Post-Graduate program, you can take one step closer to working at your dream domain. At Skill-Lync, we aim to deliver cutting-edge industry relevant courses that help you build your portfolio.


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