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  • Writer's pictureNATALIA SOUSA

Altair Acquires Flow Simulator from GE Aviation

Updated: Apr 6, 2022

The technology company Altair who provides software and cloud solutions in simulation, high-performance computing (HPC), and artificial intelligence (AI) has announced that it has acquired Flow Simulator from GE Aviation. Flow Simulator is an integrated flow, heat transfer, and combustion design software, enabling mixed fidelity simulations to optimize machine and systems design.

As part of the acquisition, Altair and GE Aviation have signed a memo of understanding (MOU) to facilitate a higher level of collaboration and establish a long-term strategic partnership. The relationship will include Altair's continuous development of Flow Simulator; granting GE Aviation access to Altair's complete software suite. GE Aviation will use the entire suite to explore enhanced functionality aligned to real-world use cases and workflows; they hope to establish deeper strategic alignment and pursue new ventures.

"We successfully collaborated with GE Aviation for many years on several initiatives including rotor dynamics using Altair OptiStruct, which opened doors for new opportunities to work together. We value our strong relationship with GE Aviation as we join forces to drive innovation for aircraft engines and beyond," said James R. Scapa, founder and chief executive officer, Altair. "Utilizing Altair's simulation and AI-driven approach to innovation, there is great potential to expand Flow Simulator's capabilities and make it available to new industries focused on simulating systems models including automotive, electromobility, battery, defence, and renewable energy."

"Altair will bring Flow Simulator's capability to simplify the modelling of complex thermal systems to new industries. This will expand global technical capabilities," explains Arjan Hegeman, senior executive – Technology, GE Aviation. "Concurrently, GE Aviation and Altair will continue developing Flow Simulator together, with even more advanced simulation technologies and design tools that will continue to expand its capabilities for a broader base of users."

The system-level design has become increasingly critical as organizations are tasked with simulating complex duty cycles. Fast software solutions like Flow Simulator are needed to model an entire system, including rapid iteration concept modelling and understanding of system simulation and system behaviour in applications such as rotating machinery design, electromobility, wind turbines, heat exchangers, and virtually anything that encompasses thermal management.

GE Aviation developed Flow Simulator to serve as a fast flow network simulator for aircraft engines – simulating how an entire flight cycle would behave in the real world, from the runway and take off to flight and landing. Since its inception, it has been used to simplify modelling for various complex thermal systems applications, including healthcare, locomotives, and renewable energy. Before acquiring the technology, Altair was a commercial distributor of Flow Simulator, available through the Altair Partner Alliance (APA).

Key features of Flow Simulator include:

  • Fully-coupled flow/thermal network modellingAn extended library of preconfigured elements and components leveraging a large set of publicly-available experimental data for pressure drop and heat transfer characteristics.

  • Control system module – Proportional integral derivative (PID) controllers, feedforward, and missions can be integrated with flow/heat transfer models to optimize the simulated-machine operation during cycle/mission analysis.

  • Optimization module – Monte Carlo, Optimal Latin Hypercube, and N-factorial analyses quickly explore the entire design space of a 3D modelling environment. An analytical model can be parametrized based on flow configuration, shape, dimension, and thermal characteristics to achieve an optimal cost-benefit design.

  • User-defined elements – Ability to integrate a customer's own IP and element formulations using UDE creator supported in flexible python scripting and Fortran language. APIs are provided with an option to connect Flow Simulator with external software for multidisciplinary analyses.

  • Intuitive interface – A modern interface for pre, post, solve, and optimization. The three-dimensional design environment gives users the ability to overlay/integrate the network model with 3D computer-aided design (CAD) while integrating a customer's IP and element formulations seamlessly.

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