The Brillance of Ingenuity

CFDRC wins Air Force contract to develop physics based modeling tool to assess fuel spurt phenomena

Huntsville, Ala. | April 4th, 2016 – CFD Research Corporation (CFDRC) in collaboration with ESI Energy Solutions (ESI) has won a $750k Air Force contract to develop a physics-based CFD tool to quantify fuel spurt caused by impact and penetration of fuel tanks.

In prior work, CFDRC in partnership with ESI, have developed and validated the models showing good agreement with experiments in terms of fundamental physics including: droplet formation, breakup, size, timing and distribution; capture of the cavitation zone and its growth behind a projectile; cavitation bubble collapse and associated pressure shock; fluid-structure interaction of cavitation with a flexible fuel tank and development of reduced-order module (ROM) for fast running.

The objectives of this follow on work is to further qualify and validate the high-fidelity physics-based CFD tool under different tank and impact parameters to build knowledge, database and correlations of fuel spurt quantities as a function of aircraft fuel properties, such as temperature, depth, ullage pressure, and dissolved gas volume; also tank parameters, such as dimensions, material and thickness, and internal stiffening structure and cluttering; and finally impact parameters, such as projectile type, impact angle, velocity and location.

The generated high-fidelity database will be integrated into a ROM solver, which uses physics-based Ordinary Differential Equation solvers to describe the fuel spurt process. The ROM solver will accurately estimate fuel characteristics in a few minutes of CPU time. The final module will be integrated into the Air Force’s analysis environment Fire Prediction Model (FPM).

About CFD Research Corporation: Since its inception in 1987, CFDRC has worked with government agencies, businesses and academia to provide innovative solutions within the Aerospace & Defense, Biomedical & Life Sciences, and Energy & Materials industries. Over the years CFDRC has earned multiple national awards for successful application and commercialization of innovative component/system technology prototypes, multi-physics simulation software and multi-disciplinary analyses. Learn more at

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