CONVERGE CFD Software

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Published August 20, 2018

CONVERGE Workflow Tips

Author:
Julian Toumey

Senior Research Engineer

As a general purpose CFD solver, CONVERGE is robust out of the box. Autonomous meshing technology built into the solver eliminates the meshing bottleneck that has traditionally bogged down CFD workflows. Despite this advantage, however, performing computational fluid dynamics analyses is still a complex task. Challenges in pre-processing and post-processing can slow your workflow. To streamline the simulation process, CONVERGE CFD software includes a wide array of tools, utilities, and documentation as well as support from highly trained engineers with every license.

Pre-Processing

  • Although you do not have to create a volume mesh, your surface geometry must be watertight and meet several quality standards related to triangulation and normal vector orientation. CONVERGE Studio includes several native surface repair tools to quickly detect, show, and resolve these issues. With an additional license for the Polygonica toolkit, you can leverage powerful surface repair capabilities from within CONVERGE Studio.
  • For engine simulations, a popular acceleration technique is to use a sector (an axisymmetric geometry representing a portion of the model) instead of the full geometry. In CONVERGE, the make_surface utility allows you to quickly create a properly prepared sector geometry based on the piston bowl profile and just a few more geometry inputs. CONVERGE Studio includes a graphical version of this tool.
  • With any CFD software, the multitude of input parameters to control the complex physical models can be overwhelming. In CONVERGE CFD, we provide several checks to help you validate your case setup configuration before beginning a simulation. In CONVERGE, run the check_inputs utility to write information about missing or improperly configured parameters to the terminal. In CONVERGE Studio, you can use the Validate buttons throughout the application to validate input parameters incrementally as you configure the case. Additionally, the Final Validation tool examines the geometry and case setup parameters and provides suggestions for anything that may need to be revised.
  • A staple of the CONVERGE feature set is the ease with which you can simulate complex moving geometries. One requirement is that boundaries cannot intersect during the simulation. There are several ways to verify that your setup meets this requirement. Running CONVERGE in no hydrodynamic solver mode does not solve the spray, combustion, and transport equations. Instead, this type of simulation checks surface motion and grid creation. In CONVERGE Studio, use the Animation tab of the View Options dock to preview boundary motion and check for triangle intersections at each step of the motion. 
  • Many complex engine, pump, compressor, and other machinery simulations employ the sealing feature to prevent flow between regions at various times during a simulation. To test your seal setup, run the CONVERGE sealing test utility by supplying the check-sealing argument after your CONVERGE executable. This command uses a simplified test with only a single level of cells and most options (including AMR, embedding, sources, mapping, events, etc.) automatically turned off.
  • Full multi-cylinder simulations provide accurate predictions for fluid-solid heat transfer, intake and exhaust flow, and other important engine design parameters. Setting up the multiple cylinder geometries and timing can be a frustrating exercise in bookkeeping. The Multi-cylinder wizard in CONVERGE Studio makes this process painless. The wizard is a step-by-step tool that guides you through the process of configuring cylinder phase lag, copying geometry components for additional cylinders, and setting up timing of events such as spark ignition. After your configuration is complete, the wizard provides a quick reference sheet that catalogs the salient details for each cylinder. 
  • Because surface triangles cannot intersect during a CONVERGE simulation, valves (e.g., intake and exhaust valves in an IC engine) must be set to a minimum lift value very close to the valve seats but not technically closed. CONVERGE Studio includes a tool to automatically and quickly move the valves to this position based on profiles of intake and exhaust valve motion.
  • In compressor simulations, the working fluid is often far from an ideal gas. In addition to multiple equation of state models in CONVERGE, you can directly supply custom fluid properties for the working fluid. CONVERGE reads properties such as viscosity, conductivity, and compressibility as a function of temperature from supplied tabular data, obviating the need to link CONVERGE with a third-party properties library.
  • As CONVERGE is a very robust tool, you can use it for many different types of simulations: compressible or incompressible flow, multiphase flow, transient or steady-state, moving geometry, non-Newtonian fluids, and much more. Each of these regimes and scenarios requires you to configure relevant parameters. CONVERGE Studio includes a full suite of example cases across a range of these regimes including IC engines, compressors, gas turbines, and more. It is as simple as clicking File > Load Example Case to open an example case with Convergent Science-recommended default parameters for the given simulation type. You can use the example cases as starting points for your own simulations or run them as-is while you learn to use CONVERGE. 

Post-Processing

  • The geometry triangulation for a CONVERGE simulation may differ from that for a finite element analysis (FEA) simulation because the FEA geometry may have higher resolution in areas most relevant to the heat transfer analysis. CONVERGE includes an HTC mapper utility that maps near-wall heat transfer data from the CONVERGE simulation output to the triangulation of the FEA surface. That way, you can iterate between the two simulation approaches to understand and optimize designs.
  • CONVERGE Studio includes a powerful Line Plotting module to create two-dimensional plots. In addition to providing a high level of plot customization, the module is designed to plot some of the two-dimensional *.out files unique to CONVERGE. Also, you can use the Line Plotting module to monitor simulation properties such as mass flow rate convergence in a steady-state simulation. 
  • One of the post-processing tools available in CONVERGE Studio is the Engine performance calculator. This tool automatically calculates engine work and other relevant engine design parameters for 360 degree or 720 degree ranges from CONVERGE output and the engine parameters in your case setup. The results are collated in a table so that you can easily export them to a spreadsheet.

Documentation

  • Several case setup tutorial video series on the Convergent Science YouTube channel provide step-by-step walkthroughs of full case setups. Refer to these for information on surface preparation, case setup, simulation, and post-processing of some basic CONVERGE example cases.
  • On our CFD Online support forum, you can interact with other CONVERGE CFD users and our knowledgeable and approachable support team for assistance.

Performing CFD analyses can be difficult due to the number of unknowns, uncertainty of boundary conditions, and complexity of flows. CONVERGE CFD helps you by removing the necessity of meshing and giving you auxiliary tools to simplify your workflow.