Digital Combustion Simulation
When researchers arrive at a particular after lots of experimentation they already have used up lots of resources in terms of money, man, material and time. Now scientists are trying to arrive at a result by simulating the experiments on computers and thus saving on lots of resources. A team of researchers from ETH Zurich are creating simulated autoignition with the help of a supercomputer equipped with 65,000 processors. This could lead to better models and reduction in cost of conducting actual experiments.
Professor Konstantinos Boulouchos is leading a team of researchers from the Laboratory of Aerothermochemistry and Combustion Systems (LAV). They shared the initial findings of one of the largest reactive “Direct Numerical Simulations” (DNS) to date. They imitated the autoignition of hydrogen in a turbulent hot air coflow on a supercomputer. The hydrogen fuel ignites by itself when its pressure and temperature is right.
Christos Frouzakis, head of the DNS group at LAV elaborates about the positives of the simulation, “The main advantage of such a numerical simulation over a ‘real’ experiment is that data like the flow velocity, temperature, pressure and concentration of the individual chemical components can be measured accurately with a high temporal and spatial resolution. It would simply be impossible to obtain such detailed information in a real experiment.”
100 terabytes of data for 11 milliseconds
The all too important software for simulation is developed by the LAV group and the Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) near Chicago, and had already been tested effectively in less challenging computations. Stefan Kerkemeier who is a doctoral student at LAV, and Paul Fischer from ANL updated and expanded the code over the last two years to make the simulation on tens of thousands of processors probable,
They are utilizing IBM BlueGene/P at ANL for simulation. It is considered one of the world’s largest high-performance supercomputers.
For more efficient engines and energy from hydrogen
It goes without saying that we need a detailed study of autoignition if we are serious in our pursuits of developing clean, green and efficient engines. Currently the simulation used hydrogen as the fuel. Why? Konstantinos Boulouchos shares his point of view, “We used hydrogen because the computational time would be too long with petrol or diesel due to their complex chemical composition.” He is also aware of the importance of hydrogen as a fuel of future.