AirShaper partnership

The partnership

G-MET Technologies and AirShaper cooperate to provide you CFD services for external aerodynamics. AirShaper is a Belgian online platform dedicated to aerodynamics featuring and easy-to-use interface running steady-state CFD simulations. The whole workflow is detailed here by AirShaper’s founder Wouter Remmerie:

  1. Upload your 3D model, set wind speed & orientation, choose simulation accuracy and launch your wind tunnel simulation in just 5 minutes.
  2. The CFD model is solved using high-performance cloud computing.  You’ll be looking at the results in no time.
  3. Check the results via the online 3D visualization and consulting the simulation report for more data.

At G-MET Technologies we can help you to improve your design, with complementary physics simulations (multi-phase, thermal, structural analysis, moving object..). Our in-house cluster allows us to run large models with hundred of million cells.

Case study : Wind loading analysis for solar panels

STEP1 : Automated online simulation with Airshaper platform:

The CFD model has been solved using the AirShaper online platform. The solar panels geometry has been uploaded using an stl format. The wind tunnel configuration simulates a wind flow of 20 m/s (72 km/h) with 15 ° orientation. All the details can be found on the automatic report downloaded on AirShaper:

Solar panels geometry (left) – Streamlines (middle) – Surface pressure field (right)

Velocity field (left and middle) – surface streamlines (right)

STEP2 : Finite element analysis with G-MET Technologies (Ansys):

The Forces and moments can be extracted for each panel using the AirShaper platform and used as input data for the finite element simulation. The structural analysis has been run with Ansys Mechanical. The solar panel structure is modeled with shell elements. For this case study we have decided to run two types of analysis : structural static and modal analysis. The first one is useful to determine the structure integrity depending on wind speed and orientation. The second is aimed at analyzing vibrations caused by flow detachments (note that this would require a transient CFD analysis to compare with frequency of flow detachments). The mesh is built with Ansys Workbench and illustrated on the following pictures:

Unstructured mesh details of the solar panel structure

The structure is made of standard Steel and embedded on the ground. The force vectors from CFD results are applied on each panel. After solving the numerical model with Ansys, special post-processing is often required to check the integrity of bolts and welds. The sizing can be done using standard codes and norms (Eurocodes for example). The following pictures show the Von Mises stresses for the solar panel structure. 

VON MISES yield criterion (strain is amplified x 50) – left : global view – Middle and right : local views

The modal analysis is performed to obtain the modal frequency of the solar panel structure. The following animation illustrates the first vibration mode of the structure. The results of the modal analysis can be used for comparison with force oscillations and flow separation occurrence to predict resonance failure mode.

* : When you start a simulation, you will immediately be referred to Airshaper.com. Airshaper directly collects your personal identification information when you start a simulation or create an account at Airshaper.com. This data includes your name and email address. By creating an account or starting a simulation, you give your consent to Airshaper to share your data (name and email address) with partner companies. This data is collected with the purpose of contacting you with offers regarding consultancy services. Your data will be stored no longer than necessary. If you have any questions regarding the storage and sharing of your data, please contact AirShaper via info@airshaper.com.

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