5 Ways CAE Has Led to Improvements in Sustainability
Advanced simulations helped companies spanning a range of industries discover new ways to contribute to sustainable manufacturing.
Over the past decade and more, achieving more sustainable product designs has become a top priority for companies around the globe. The drivers behind this newfound focus are many. Some have been motivated by a concern for the environment and a desire to reduce their company’s negative impact. Others recognize the economic benefits that come from reducing waste in their production process and creating more efficient designs. And others still are aware of the consumer-driven demand for greener products. For most, the interest in sustainability is a combination of all three.
However, as much as companies may want to achieve more sustainable benchmarks, it is harder to actually get there—and to demonstrate you have done so with reliable data. This is where CAE simulation becomes invaluable.
Using advanced computer simulations, companies can test whether their designs have met their sustainability goals before those designs enter the prototyping stage. They can also use these simulations to demonstrate the improved sustainability of their products to key stakeholders, including board members, consumers, and regulators.
CAE simulation has already been used across many industries to drive improvements in sustainability. Here’s how.
1. Improvements in the design of green energy technology.
One of the most high-profile green initiatives is the move away from fossil fuels and toward green energy solutions, including wind, solar, and hydroelectric. This has led to a higher demand not just for the manufacture of more green energy stations, but of designs that better capture and store energy.
CAE has an impressive track record in aiding the development of new energy sources. While CFD simulation can be applied to the development of both wind and hydropower turbines, Abaqus has long been used to strengthen the nuclear plants against earthquakes and improve the structural integrity of battery assemblies under a variety of stress conditions.
2. Increased efficiency of electric vehicles.
The growing market in electric vehicles has been another highly publicized advancement in sustainable technology, spurred on by the rise of Tesla in the automotive market. Improvements in battery technology have broken down several of the factors limiting wider adoption of electric vehicles, including more efficient battery storage, which has increased the range of electric vehicles, and better optimization of on-board systems to reduce their drain on battery life.
As might be expected, EM simulation has played a key role in helping engineers improve electric motor design, but thermal simulation and analysis has also been invaluable in resolving design challenges related to the heating and cooling of EV components. Chemical simulations have helped improve the energy storage of electric batteries and fuel cells, while FEA simulations have allowed engineers to test the integrity of new designs under extreme stress conditions.
3. Reduction of material consumption across industries.
Creating a more eco-friendly product sometimes comes with increased costs, but one area in which economics and the environment are perfectly aligned is in reducing the raw materials required for manufacturing. However, finding ways to reduce waste in a product design is a challenge, especially when doing so can’t compromise the quality and durability of the end result.
CAE simulations can test the strength and durability of a design, ensuring that changes to the construction of a component don’t result in unacceptable quality failures.
4. Development of new sustainable advanced materials.
Material development is a difficult but promising field of engineering focused on developing new alloys, nanomaterials, plastics, foams, rubbers, and composites that can be used in new and innovative ways. Many of these materials have potentially unique physical properties that engineers could use to resolve various design challenges. The development of biomaterials can also aid sustainability efforts by reducing the environmental burden of various products.
CAE is crucial to the development of new materials by helping engineers test their behavior in various scenarios. Nonlinear FEA, in particular, is especially necessary in guiding engineers toward the right choices in material properties and applications. Nonlinear FEA solutions (of which Abaqus is a known leader) offer an advantage in this field, as they provide accurate simulation of extreme use cases, such as high heat and high stress.
5. Creating of efficient aircraft designs with reduced carbon footprints.
Finally, despite the move toward electric vehicles, fossil fuels are still necessary for many vehicle designs—especially aircraft. So long as electric airplanes remain largely theoretical, the emphasis in the aerospace industry has been toward more designs that consume less fuel and are more streamlined, so as to have a lower carbon footprint.
CFD and FEA analysis can help engineers identify ways in which the design of an aircraft is contributing to drag or turbulence – and decide what to do about it. FEA also aids in lightweighting a design to reduce the weight of aircraft components, including structurally critical ones, through both redesign and material substitution. These lead to improvements in overall range and fuel efficiency while potentially reducing manufacturing costs.
We can help you use CAE simulation to achieve more sustainable designs.
Although many companies want to improve the sustainability of their products—for economic, environmental, and social reasons—not all have the in-house simulation resources at hand to do so. Those that do have engineers devoted to CAE simulation may not have the bandwidth to handle their full workload. In either case, we are ready to help.
Our engineers can work with your team to run simulation models that will show how a design behaves under various conditions, including whether it is meeting the sustainability targets that your company is aiming for. Our expertise with Abaqus can also help create designs that can withstand mechanical stressors from the environment, resulting in more durable, longer-lasting energy sources. Furthermore, our team of engineers is comprised of experts in diverse fields who can bring their knowledge to your projects.
If you would like to learn more about the skills our team of engineers can bring to your company, contact us today.