When Daikin Industries in Japan set out to develop a fan for its new line of air conditioners, engineers wanted to use 3D inversedesign technology instead of standard CAD software. In the standard approach, geometry is changed iteratively using CFD analysis and physical tests. But the inverse approach computes geometry for a certain flow distribution where the loading distribution is specified. Then the blade geometry is computed.
This inverse approach is a more systematic way to handle aerodynamic turbomachinery because the input specification can be used to rapidly generate new prototypes once it has been chosen for a given criteria (such as minimum loss, cavitation suppression, or secondary-flow suppression). The 3D inverse approach was possible because of the TURBOdesign software suite from Advanced Design Technology in London. ADT supplies tailor-made software, design services in turbomachinery, and aerodynamic design codes that let engineers control blade design.
“TURBOdesign1 had already increased the efficiency for our compressors, so we expected it would also work for fans,” says researcher Toru Iwata at Daikin Industries’ Environmental Technology Laboratory.
TURBOdesign1 is currently the only nonproprietary software for designing turbomachinery that can do 3D inverse design. “We were almost immediately productive using the software to design our fan,” says Iwata. “Then, it took only about a year to become fully versed in all its capabilities. The software let us reduce development time and slash material use, as well as develop new models of high-efficiency fans.”