Teesside University is working with a North East manufacturer to research how advanced computer simulation can be used to optimise its products.
PSI Global is participating in a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with Teesside University, to investigate how Computational Fluid Dynamics software can be used to model the structure of the multiphase flow (simultaneous flow of materials with different states or phases) within a vacuum pump and the filtration/separation process.
The company, which is based in Bowburn, County Durham, manufactures filters and separators for the compressed air and vacuum industries.
As part of the KTP, Nausheen Basha (pictured above), an MSc (Hons) Aerospace Engineering graduate, has been placed with the company to investigate ways to use Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) to visualise how different types of separators within the pump affect the flow of gases.
The visualisation will ultimately help determine how to get the optimum performance from the separators which are used to filter oil from air.
KTPs typically last for two years and are a collaboration between a university and a company. They are part-funded by Innovate UK to help businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills.
Nausheen has already constructed a test rig at Teesside University to obtain data about how gases operate within a pump.
She said: “My degree is in aerospace engineering and that involved a lot of research into air turbulence and I’m applying the same principles to the gas flow in a pump.
“By understanding the flow, we can use that data to make visualisations on the 3D software and then learn how making modifications to the pump and separator can affect its performance.
“Currently, any testing of modifications has to be done experimentally. By using the CFD software, testing that used to take days can be done in a couple of hours.”
Lloyd Cochrane, the Technical Manager at PSI Global, said: “This is a really important step in understanding Computational Flow Dynamics.
“It will enable us to better understand how a separator will perform based on a model at the early design stage, thus giving our clients the opportunity to influence the product design for vacuum and compressor pumps which will improve performance and save design costs.
“This project has already had a positive impact on our OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) clients.”
Dr Faik Hamad from Teesside University’s School of Science & Engineering has been supervising the KTP.
He said: “The project is progressing very well and we’ve made some significant progress.
“The data collected by Nausheen can form the basis for a number of academic papers and there is also the possibility that the project can be used in the teaching of final year students.”