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Fluid Flow

Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is a technique used to simulate fluid flow. The principle of the technique is that the user defines a flow geometry: the walls and obstacles that define where the fluid goes. This geometry will have flow entering and leaving at various locations, and the user supplies values that describe these flows. The CFD software then calculates the effects of these throughout the geometry by solving the equations that describe fluid mechanics. The results can be accessed in a variety of formats: from a single value, such as a pressure drop or a flow rate, to an animation of changing properties from several viewpoints. See Figure 1 for a colourful example.

CFD originated in the aerospace and automotive industries, and is still used there extensively. The flows to be solved are often quite simple – just the flow of air around a fast-moving body – but the geometry can be very complex, and commercial CFD packages must be able to link to the major computeraided design (CAD) packages. Other industries have also adopted CFD, and the abilities of software have increased to reflect this.

SIMPLE FLOW IN AN INHALER

For pulmonary drug delivery, a relatively straightforward application of CFD would be to simulate air flowing through a dry powder inhaler. Even ignoring the particle effects, this can provide valuable information. For example...

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Ed Wynn is a Principal CFD Engineer with ANSYS UK Ltd, working in the Process and Healthcare team. Ed’s background is in Chemical Engineering: he has MEng and PhD degrees from the University of Cambridge, and has worked in the chemical industry for ICI in Teesside, UK and Huntsman in Brussels, Belgium. In 2005, he moved from being a lecturer at the University of Birmingham to join Fluent Europe Ltd, which was acquired by ANSYS in 2006. His specialism is in fluid flows and particles.
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