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One of the key technical challenges facing those of us involved in engineering simulation in the oil and gas industry is multiphase flow. In every part of the production process, from extraction to refinery, we typically have to account for the combined influence of gases, liquids and solids.

The release of STAR-CCM+ 10.02 in March 2015 offers a number of new modeling approaches that could transform the way in which engineers in the oil and gas industry are able to deliver simulation results for the many problems that involve multiphase flow.

Research into the oxidative coupling of methane has been ongoing for more than 2 decades, with the potential payoff being the ability to produce ethylene at much lower costs. In this process, methane is selectively reacted with oxygen in presence of a catalyst to produce ethylene (instead of completely reacting it to water and carbon dioxide). There are two major hurdles to overcome in implenting this process: firstly we need to find a catalyst that has high selectivity; and secondly we need to be to scale-up this process.

Recently, I sat down with Alex Smith from the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI), a UK-based technology innovation centre that uses knowledge in science and engineering combined with state-of-the art facilities to enable their clients to prototype and scale up the next generation of products and processes. Alex is a recent recruit who is just approaching his first work anniversary with CPI. He is a Senior Process Engineer within their Industrial Biotechnology and Biorefining (IB&B) unit and it hasn’t taken him very long to get his hands dirty with simulation work. He is currently balancing his time mostly between developing their CFD capability, both in model development and training of future users, and working on some more 'standard' process engineering tasks such as plant improvement and troubleshooting exercises.
STAR-CCM+ velocity mixing profile courtesy of CPI

When asked about the amount of time he spent on his speech preparation, Woodrow Wilson responded: “That depends on the length of the speech. If it is a ten-minute speech it takes me all of two weeks to prepare it; if it is a half-hour speech it takes me a week; if I can talk as long as I want to it requires no preparation at all. I am ready now.” Perhaps some of us can relate to former President Wilson’s remarks. Without any time constraints, exploring a .sim file, or maybe several, in detail, could be an engaging and informative exercise lasting the better part of an afternoon. Yet more often than not, we only have that brief ten minutes to share our story. And, quite often, review requests come on short notice. What if you could quickly assemble and effectively communicate your results from several simulations in a matter of minutes? What if you could walk from one meeting room to the next, with laptop in hand, and be able to quickly collaborate with different teams? As it turns out, there is a way: STAR-View+, new and improved.

Multiphase modeling is coming of age in 2015 in STAR-CCM+ with the addition of a number of smart hybrid multiphase models that open up a range of new and exciting applications.
STAR-CCM+ now has no fewer than six multiphase models, each best suited for a particular range of applications and computational budgets, namely Eulerian Multiphase (EMP), Volume Of Fluid (VOF), Mixture Multiphase (MMP), Dispersed Multiphase (DMP), Lagrangian Multiphase (LMP), the Discrete Element Method (DEM), and the Fluid Film model.

In many applications, however, no one model is suitable for all the flow regimes that occur simultaneously at different points in the computational domain, and ideally we would like to combine the benefits of multiple models in a single simulation. Now with models such as the VOF-Fluid Film multiphase interaction model, this is possible.

STAR-CCM+ Part Coating Simulation

STAR-CCM+ v10.02 GPU UtilizationWe get a lot of questions about GPUs, and I think it’s fair to say there’s a lot of confusion and indeed misinformation on the general topic. So, to start things off, let’s clarify what we mean by GPU utilization. GPU is the abbreviation for Graphics Processing Unit. This aim of this enhancement is to enable you to draw (or render) images faster, using your local graphics resources, resulting a better interactive experience when working with STAR-CCM+.

Rarely in life do we get the chance to get more for less, and the world of simulation is no different, or at least not until now.

Typically in our simulations we have to make compromises, and in choosing those compromises we need to know which models will give us the best information at the minimum cost. We must also understand the assumptions our choices carry and how these might influence the decisions we make. This after all is the art of being a good Simulation Engineer.

Before we begin and lose ourselves in the wonders of multiphase, imagine if you will a beach, the sun is beating down, the wind is blowing and the surf is up. The sea looks a little rough, but being a good Simulation Engineer the foamy seas pose no worries to you and your recent lunch…..

Island Eisberge am Schwarzen Strand 19

James Clement tries to capture "the big one".One warm July morning buddy of mine and I decided that we needed to hit the lakes and go catch "the big one". We headed out just as dawn broke so we can find that big old bass that I knew was hidden somewhere in our favorite spot. Once we got the boat in the water it is about a 15 minute ride across the lake over to the spot where our fish was bound to be. So a cup of coffee in hand we sped off across the lake, during that time one’s mind always tends to wander and apparently mine wanders back to meshing. Looking across the still lake nothing much is going on but behind the boat is a whole different story; the propeller is stirring up quite a bit of turbulence and the hull is producing a massive wake, this is where the action is. So I ask to myself, what kind of tools would our users need in order to build meshes automatically in order to capture this type of phenomena? A tool that would allow efficient meshes and could give accurate answers with a minimal cells count. STAR-CCM+ v10.02 meshing operation allows users to refine wake zones in both the polyhedral and the trim meshers as well as give wake a draft angle so that the refinement zone expands as it moves away from the model.

In v10.02, we have a new feature, adjoint error estimation, which leverages the power of adjoint to highlight discretization errors in your mesh that may be due to inappropriately sized and distributed cells. These discretization errors may, in turn, affect the accuracy of your engineering results.

Adoint error estimation behind aerofoil STAR-CCM+

You may have noticed that in the upcoming STAR Global Conference, there will be an inaugural Genius Competition designed by our very own Dr Mesh. Wanting to find out more about the competition myself, I recently caught up with Dr Mesh at the Paradise Point Resort and Hotel in San Diego where he was catching some New Year sunshine and inspecting the facilities for the upcoming STAR Global Conference in March. He was looking relaxed and tanned as he emerged from the blue waters of the Pacific Ocean onto the white sandy beach, stopping only to create some weird looking cell shapes from the moist white sand at the water’s edge. He pondered for a while as he gazed out over the ocean and it was a good opportunity for me to tip toe around the polyhedral sand sculptures and ask him some questions about the new STAR-CCM+ Macro competition that would be held during the conference.

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Brigid Blaschak
Communications Specialist
Dr Mesh
Meshing Guru
Stephen Ferguson
Communications Manager
Matthew Godo
STAR-CCM+ Product Manager
Joel Davison
Product Manager, STAR-CCM+
Tammy de Boer
Global Academic Program Manager
Sabine Goodwin
Senior Engineer, Technical Marketing
James Clement
STAR-CCM+ Product Manager