SOUTHPOINTE, PA — ANSYS, Inc. (NASDAQ: ANSS) announced that the Italian car manufacturer Ferrari uses software from ANSYS to optimize automobile design and performance. The latest improvement involves the use of software from ANSYS to predict thermal comfort in the vehicle’s interior.
Automobile thermal comfort is important to prospective buyers, and, for this reason, Ferrari has made it a high priority in vehicle design. In order to assess comfort not only qualitatively but also quantitatively, Ferrari worked together with the University of Pisa in Italy to define thermal comfort indices and to make comprehensive evaluations of the general aspects of thermal comfort. Because an experimental approach was not practical, the investigating engineering team used fluid dynamics software from ANSYS to perform the calculations.
“Thermal comfort is an individual perception and not a measurable value,” explained Giovanni Lombardi, professor of airplane aerodynamics and vehicle aerodynamics at the University of Pisa. “Qualitative statements from a test team do not really help car developers who want to measure the design quality and usefulness of design changes objectively and comparably. An experimental approach for determining the data required was virtually impossible. For that reason, we used engineering simulation software from ANSYS, which had advantages for this scenario and rendered accurate and reliable results.”
The research team based its resulting “global thermal comfort index” on several local indices: the thermal equilibrium of the human body, discomfort caused by drafts, and horizontal and vertical temperature gradients. A number of factors were studied, including the car’s velocity and materials (leather, glass, aluminum) as well as sensitivity to warming or cooling on various body sites (leg, arm, face, covered with clothing or not), solar irradiance, vehicle interior size, and air flow.
“Ferrari and the University of Pisa faced the difficult task of developing a measure for quality. They saw a high business value in applying our software and made profitable use of it,” said Jim Cashman, president and CEO of ANSYS, Inc. “The advantage of Simulation Driven Product Development(TM) is that no complex physical models or testing configurations are required, and the design can be tested, optimized and, if necessary, modified virtually at an early stage in the development process. Companies across the whole industry spectrum — not just automotive — are seeing the benefits of this process. In this case, with help from ANSYS(R) software, Ferrari is living up to its expectations of designing one of the most desirable brands worldwide.
Filed Under: Automotive, Simulation, Software