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The world’s first and still existing roundhouse was the home of engineering simulation for two days on 15th - 16th April 2015 in Derby, UK, where in cooperation with CRADLE Europe Flow Computing Technologies manned one of the stands.

I would like to highlight two interesting things from the massive load of engineering simulation stuff.

The first is that several companies exhibited impressive applications of virtual reality. At one for the stands a student just checked the virtual cockpit of a Tesla Model S, looked through the window and moved his sight over the dashboard.
A visitor checks the virtual cockpit of a Tesla Model

In an other booth a software editor showed a video about how engineers walk the frame of an aircraft, while zooming on to details, operating subassembles. It was very interesting to see that even portable configurations exist now that can be set-up to provide virtual reality on a show like this.

The second interesting thing that took my fancy was among the presentations of the conference ran in parallel with the exhibition. Two staff members of Mondeléz – a large company operating in the food industry – made a splendid presentation on how challenging chocolate was in terms of engineering. Production of chocolate immediately starts with the fact that it is non-newtonian and at the top of all that it has fat particles in it. What a material! One could never imagine how complex that can be to simulate.

Viscosity of chocolate was determined as a function of shear rate and the shape of the curve looked to me very similar to what plastics usually have if their extrusion process has to be flow simulated. The red horizontal line on the picture belongs to Golden Syrup as a reference that stays the same while shear rate is increased. This is what we call a newtonian fluid.

Viscosity of chocolate as a function of shear rate,
horizontal line shows viscosity of Golden Syrup

If that is not enough for a challenge for a CFD engineer, then there are problems like the adventure of Cadbury chocolate egg with the casting die.

Because viscosity of chocolate depends on temperature as well the die must be tempered – just like in case of casting aluminium cylinder heads – and if the temperature of the multi-cavity die is not homogenous the chocolate either solidifies before filling the whole cavity or remains liquid and pours on the floor after die opening.

The adventure of Cadbury egg with tempered die

After all this tempering the warehouse where all those chocolate products are stored before shipping is a piece of cake for a CFD engineer. CFD simulations were made to ensure homogenous temperature distribution within warehouse to preserve best product quality during the time between production and shipping.

CFD simulations used for ensuring homogenous temperature within warehouse

Dr. Robert Dul

2015.07.18 - Flow Computing Technologies Ltd.

Richard Maris
Engineering Director
M.I.E. Enterprises

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