HPC improves engine cooling innovation for SMEs

Advanced Innovative Engineering (AIE) will use HPC resources and expertise from STFC Hartree Centre to improve the development of rotary engines for unmanned vehicles.

​​Advanced Innovative Engineering (AIE), an SME based in Lichfield in the UK will use HPC resources from PRACE to improve the development of rotary engines for unmanned vehicles.

The 12th PRACE SHAPE call generated sixteen proposals, one of those proposals taken forward was from AIE, an SME based in Lichfield in the UK specialising in the development of rotary engines for unmanned vehicles. Over the next few months, domain experts within AIE will collaborate with High-Performance Computing (HPC) experts at the STFC Hartree Centre to develop and refine AIE’s simulations to make cooling improvements to power units using HPC.

AIE is an engineering company specialising in the development of innovative rotary engines for unmanned vehicles. From its headquarters in Lichfield, it manages entire project life cycles through concept, prototype and production. Working with international partners and customers, AIE creates technologies that combine low total-cost-of-ownership (TCO) with exceptional reliability and versatility for global commercial and defence markets.

Image credit: PRACE, AIE

Key to achieving a highly power-dense and simple air-cooled engine is the ability of the required heat exchange area of the engine (fin or cooling pack) to reject the heat from the engine to the atmosphere as efficiently as possible. Due to the large number of design and parameter iterations required to achieve an optimised heat exchanger design, sheer computing power becomes a significant factor in reaching a prototype design within reasonable timescales. This is where HPC comes in.

A dedicated AIE technical expert will collaborate with STFC specialists to develop and refine suitable mesh representations of candidate heat exchangers to facilitate Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) computations at scale on an HPC platform. The computations will involve the open source software OpenFOAM which already runs efficiently on HPC platforms. From these simulations, the performance of candidate heat exchanger designs will be determined with precision. All results will be validated against experimental data.​

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