Monday, April 15, 2024

Gaining the Competitive Edge with Unified Design, Modeling and Simulation

There is room for only one car in the Winner’s Circle and every motorsport race team has that singular ambition. However, the road to the finish line is filled with obstacles, including strict time and budget restrictions, stringent technical regulations, and the need to make split-second decisions –seemingly ‘on the fly’.

The Multiphysics Simulation Toolbox

To overcome racecar development challenges, teams have embraced the use of computer-aided design and computer-engineering software for decades. Today, most race teams use a wide range of simulation codes to reach the best vehicle performance. Through its SIMULIA Brand, Dassault Systèmes develops and delivers a broad range of multidiscipline, multiphysics simulation applications that are used extensively in Automotive, Aerospace, and the motorsports industries.

Race teams across all platforms, face limited time and budget for wind tunnel testing. This makes it critical for teams to leverage Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) for Aerodynamic analysis. Advanced CFD simulation capabilities such as those provided by SIMULIA PowerFLOW enable engineers to analyze the turbulent airflow around a vehicle and optimize its aerodynamic design. SIMULIA XFlow is used to simulate engine lubrication and fuel tank sloshing effects. The use of robust and proven CFD applications reduces the need for physical testing and helps team make design improvements that help improve vehicle, handling, and fuel efficiency.

 

Another key simulation technology is Finite Element Analysis (FEA), which is used to evaluate the structural integrity of the body, chassis and critical components.  SIMULIA Abaqus provides linear and nonlinear structural analysis capabilities. This makes it possible to analyze the behavior of a wide range of materials used within a racecar body and chassis, including composites, metals, plastic and rubber. Combining FEA with SIMULIA’s design optimization technology enables engineers to optimize the structural design for maximum strength and stiffness while minimizing weight.

Abaqus is also used to perform thermal-mechanical analysis ranging from thermal expansion in engines to friction-driven heat transfer such as in brake systems to fully coupled temperature-displacement simulation, in which motion affects heat transfer and heat transfer affects motion. PowerFLOW enables engineers to analyze airflow cooling for engines, brakes and cockpits to evaluate and improve designs to prevent overheating and improve reliability.

SIMULIA Simpack Multibody Simulation (MBS) is used to analyze the dynamic motion of mechanical systems including engine pistons, drivetrains and gears, clutches, suspensions and vehicle dynamics. Simpack enables the creation of full 3D components within the system to evaluate realistic forces of components interacting within the full mechanical system. In the case of vehicle dynamics, engineers are able to analyze and optimize vehicle design for maximum handling and stability.

During the concept design phases, offline lap time simulations using MBS with system control software to perform design tradeoff studies, such as evaluating how changes to vehicle styling, suspensions, or engine modifications influence lap time performance.

Simpack provides unique real-time, man-in-the-loop driving simulator capabilities, which enables race teams to put their drivers into the seat of a virtual racecar. This allows them to analyze software-, hardware- and man-in-the loop scenarios to get realistic, real-time feedback from the driver’s perspective of the handling and suspension under various track conditions, including cornering, to rapidly influence design decisions.  

Digital Transformation with a Cloud-based Platform

However, even within the close confines of a race team, these simulation tools are often being used by silo’d specialists and the results do not always keep pace with design iterations. The never-ending quest for cost-control, incremental performance improvements, and speed has created the need for Digital Transformation within the motorsports industry.

Key to achieving the promises of digital transformation is a shared, digital cloud-based platform that facilitates on-site and remote work arrangements and lowers IT hardware and maintenance overhead. A cloud-based platform such as the 3DEXPERIENCE platform from Dassault Systèmes allows teams to share functional requirements, collaborate on conceptual and detailed designs, and perform realistic simulations of components and systems – including aerodynamics, powertrains, body, chassis, suspension, tires, braking, and safety.

The 3DEXPERIENCE platform enables development teams to free their design and project data from personal email inboxes and shared file folders. It also allows the updating of designs and simulations in near-real time and sharing of ideas, status updates and their models through planners, apps and shared communities.

Unified Modeling & Simulation (MODSIM) enables designers and simulation specialists to collaborate on the same design model thus avoiding translation and version control issues between CAD and CAE. The platform provides an option for using guided simulation workflows, which allows designers to use approved methods to rule out potentially unworkable designs before final design work has been done, which reduces re-work of design models based on disparate simulation results. For example, they are able to use CATIA with the SIMULIA Fluid Dynamics Engineer role to analyze pressure in fuel lines or exhaust systems or create lighter components with SIMLUIA optimization technology embedded in the CATIA Structural Generative Design role. The platform enables them to share the design and simulation results with stakeholders immediately for their review and comments, no matter where they are.

Design associativity along with rules-based and automatic meshing capabilities enable race teams to shave hours and even days off the traditionally manual process of updating simulation models and meshes with every design change. Time reduction of a factor of 10 has been reported for select unified design and simulation workflows when compared to traditional silo’d processes and tools.

Process automation and optimization technology combined with design and simulation apps on the platform enables design and engineering teams to use parametric and non-parametric methods to explore hundreds of design alternatives to accelerate collaborative, performance-based decisions.

The 3DEXPERIENCE platform provides race teams with access to the right technology whenever and wherever they need it. This includes 3D Design, functional generative design, systems modeling, structural analysis, electromagnetics simulation, fluid dynamics, multibody simulation, process automation, as well as apps to manage functional requirements, decision support, and manufacturing processes. The platform enables the team to manage and share a single source of design and simulation information that is secure and easily accessible by all team members regardless of location or time zone. This allows them to create more design alternatives and simulate realistic vehicle performance more efficiently and with more confidence. This digital transformation of their development processes results in faster turnarounds and lower costs, which supports their ultimate goal of being ‘the only one’ in the winner’s circle.

 

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