Due to time, financial and practical reasons, worldwide trends are moving towards the design of virtual prototypes (simulators), technologies that can be applied to a wide diversity of processes: food, chemicals, aerospace, etc.
Simulation is a tool, created by programming mathematical models that represent the system to be simulated, in a computation system and/or with the use of Finite Elements or Finite Differences for the analysis, synthesis and optimization of processes. This tool helps to understand and predict the response of the simulated systems, and hence, identify opportunities for improvement and propose alternative solutions.
An example of this, is when a car manufacturing company uses software to design, test and create the virtual model of a vehicle. Reaching a physical prototype via simulation, implies obtaining this prototype with a response that adjusts to an ideal, while also including the restrictions of environmental law, finance and available technology (electronics, mechanical, thermal, materials, etc.)
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The CIMAV has a virtual laboratory for carrying out the study and design of prototypes via the simulation of processes, by means of developing mathematical models and specialized software. In particular, (CFD) computational fluid dynamics in gases and liquids are lines of interest in research and investigation.
The main aim of the use of this technological tool is academic work, as it enables highly specialized human resources to be trained, in the simulation of industrial process and the identification of areas of technological opportunity, along with the publication: of articles in journals, congresses and books.
The importance of process simulation in research and innovation, is the opportunity it provides in reducing the time destined for experimentation, as well as optimizing financial investment and improving the administration of material and human resources. From this stems the importance of creating virtual prototypes before their production in series.
Furthermore, within the potential held by this technological tool, a wide range of applications can be found, such as:
In cooking/dehydrating/refrigeration systems, fluid dynamics can determine the correct distribution of gas currents to maintain suitable temperature/humidity conditions. For a dehydrated product such as apple chips, the circulation of heat currents and humidity control can be simulated. The drying speed affects the conservation of the nutritional properties, appearance and texture of the food.
Cement Manufacturing Process
Although, it is certain that cement production is a big player in greenhouse gas emissions, it is also true that it is currently impossible to stop using it. So for now, the aim is to optimize the production process. Simulation enables information to be obtained related to the phenomenon of precalcining and clinkering, thereby predicting the behavior related to phase changes inside the oven. This enables options to be proposed for the production process.
Currently, with the aim of providing more features for vehicles, the presence of and support provided by electronic systems is on the up, to increase both safety and comfort. This leads to an increase in thermal energy emissions in small spaces and close to the user. The virtual laboratory enables the effect of fluid dynamics to be analyzed, in order to offer more efficient alternatives for dissipating heat from the electronic circuits.
Another example, is the design to obtain a more comfortable and homogeneous temperatures inside the automobile.
The design performance of a vehicle can be simulated both while moving and stationary, with regards to its aerodynamics, that is, its resistance to a determined fluid. We can know how to modify the flow pattern, as a result of the geometric shape, according to variables like change in speed, pressure, effects of the surface area and temperature.
In these systems, it is possible to model and simulate turbulences on the bed of aquaculture ponds, a phenomenon related to sensitivity and the amount of oxygen required by each marine species. For this purpose, it is important to have an appropriate water circulation system with pond flows, heights and inclinations for each species. Not using the correct fluid dynamics impacts the reproduction and development of the species, as well as production costs.
Simulation of the process enables the filtration system to be studied and understood, in order to determine the most suitable mechanisms for holding harmful organisms, metal, toxic substances or dissolved gases.
Of course, each case involves a different level of difficulty, interdisciplinary collaboration and computation time.
- Computational Fluid Dynamics
- Dehydration Processes
- Cement Manufacturing Process
- Simulating Combustion
- Wastewater Treatment
- Applied Mathematics