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Relative roles of CFD and wind tunnel testing in the development of aircraft full rep
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Relative roles of CFD and wind tunnel testing in the development of aircraft


CFD is computational technology that enables us to study the dynamics of things that flow.
Using CFD, a computational model that represents a system or device that we want to study is built. Then we apply the fluid flow physics to this virtual prototype, and the software outputs a prediction of the fluid dynamics.


fluid flow, heat transfer , mass , phase change , chemical reaction, mechanical movement and stress or deformation of related solid structures

Benefits of CFD


Elements essential in design of an aircraft

Aerospace design



Wind tunnel test

Advantages of wind tunnel testing

Accurate data generation for validating CFD has considerably benefited from this role of wind tunnel simulation Simulation of complex shapes where grid generation and accuracy of flow simulation pose problems in CFD Simulation of viscous effects in corners and over gaps in control surface Simulation of power effects,rotor flows and multi component flows with relative ease In one tunnel lasting less than a minute it is possible to obtain 15-20 simulations ,whereas in CFD simulations one run of code generates only simulation. Limitation of accuracy of turbulence models is a hindrance in CFD simulation. This area would be dominated by wind tunnel for a long time

Advantages of CFD simulations

Aerofoil design and analysis ,and optimization of wing body

A few simulations at one design can reveal merits of one
variant over the other and

Quicker and less expensive changes to configuration and their
numerical simulation

Smoothing of the configuration to reduce pressure drag levels

Hypersonic flow and chemical /rarefied-gas effects, for which experiments are impossible to be done

Detailed flow field information


CFD is now able to simulate the flow past realistic configurations and can thus play a major role in the design and development of aerospace vehicles. In the near future, CFD will be able to simulate more complex geometries and thus become an even more valuable design tool. It is now also possible to use CFD for extremely accurate computations in order to study complex fluid phenomena in detail. 

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