Skip to main content

Increasing Sustainability Through Efficient Simulation Design

A picture of jet engines as seen out of a plane in flight

Imagine you were using simulations to make your jet engine more fuel efficient. In order to test if a change you made worked, you had to wait 1,000 hours, or 41 days, to see the results. That was the situation Rolls Royce was in before they joined a powerful partnership between LSTC (now Ansys), Cray (now HPE), and NCSA. Utilizing NCSA’s finite elements modeling and high-performance expertise, Blue Waters’ powerful computing scale, the computing resources of the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility and HPE, the team took those 1,000-hour simulations down to 10 hours. Now simulations take less than a day to finish, making the process up to 100 times faster.

Such a monumental reduction in simulation time doesn’t happen overnight. The team began work on this project back in 2017 when Blue Waters was still at peak performance. By this point, Rolls Royce already had a highly successful partnership with NCSA’s expertise and hardware, so it was only natural they returned to the team to tackle this new problem. Rolls Royce wanted assistance in improving the scalability of implicit FEA solver, the most important component to improve the computational efficiency of their high-fidelity thermal-mechanical numerical models. The team continued to work on improvements over the years, work that earned them an HPC Innovation Excellence Award announced by Hyperion Research at SC22. The culmination of this work has finally been realized in this vastly improved simulation time.

The recipe for this great success was unique inter-disciplinary collaborative work and culture we built between the code developers (Ansys), hardware vendors (HPE and Intel), NCSA with domain and HPC expertise, and our outstanding aerospace partner, Rolls-Royce.

Seid Koric, technical associate director, NCSA and research professor of mechanical science and engineering, UIUC

With this impressive outcome, Rolls Royce can now innovate that much faster. Each time they test a new design variable on their engines, they know the results are only 10 hours away. Efficient computing times are just one form of sustainability to come from this project. More efficient, safer and more environmentally friendly jet engines are right around the corner, all thanks to the fruitful collaboration between NCSA and our Industry partners.

Brendan McGinty, NCSA’s Industry director, is excited about this good news. “For over 30 years, NCSA has enjoyed long and mutually beneficial relationships with industry, including with Rolls-Royce and its collaborators,” he said. “From performance optimization to sophisticated analysis of large datasets, high-performance computing has long made an impact on corporate competitiveness and innovation. This often results in significant return on investment. Now, we’re adding even more data to machine learning models to get deeper results in less time and the value proposition to industry continues to be very impressive.”

Read the full release from Ansys here: Rolls-Royce Rapidly Powers Sustainable Aviation with Ansys and Intel Technologies

Back to top