A Personal Reflection on the Convergence of CAE Technology
I quickly learned that in such an application the analyst had to include many different disciplines into the dynamics model to include the physics of aerodynamics, the flexibility of the helicopter blade and the required control systems.
The focus area of my work was in the area of multi-body dynamics – this is what paid my stipend – the other disciplines were required as inputs into my dynamics model. In retrospect, I realize that incorporating aerodynamics, flexibility and control systems was a secondary objective to my primary objective of building my multi-body dynamics model. As my career progressed, I found that this is very common. I found that a dynamics analysis of a naval structure required ocean wave motion as input. I found that loads generated from my analysis of a chain saw were required for fatigue analyses. Modern Automotive CAE frequently involves interaction between several disciplines such as vehicle dynamics, noise vibration and harshness, and durability.
It seems that CAE analyses frequently (perhaps always) require data and other inputs from disciplines that are not necessarily within the core subject matter expertise of a particular analyst.
To meet the needs of these specialized analysts, the CAE industry has developed a very broad and comprehensive set of software applications that focus on their particular areas of specialization. For each discipline the analyst generally has multiple software solutions available – tailored to her needs and developed with methodology that she learned in University. Each analyst has strong preferences within his or her area of specialization. Each of these tools has varying degrees interoperability with other areas specialization. For example, in the case of multi-body dynamics we have fantastic solvers available for the equations of motion, and we can input pressure loads for aerodynamics, we can input modal representations for flexible bodies, and we can export loads from these models for use in fatigue analyses.