Coconuts, Blood Cells, and Snail Armor – Oh My

Crysomallon Squamiferum (Deep Sea Snail) Courtesy MIT
Crysomallon Squamiferum (Deep Sea Snail - MIT)

As the 2010 SIMULIA Customer Conference approaches, it reminds me of a thought-provoking presentation given by Dale Berry of SIMULIA at the 2009 SCC in London. He reminded the audience, of engineers and researchers, that  Realistic Simulation is not only good for evaluating mechanical behavior of product performance, but it’s also an indespenible tool for driving innovative research that improves our lives and society.

I personally think of the researchers who are applying realistic simulation as the ‘Unsung Heroes’ of product development. They are the ones using realistic simulation technology in amazing and creative ways to solve challenging issues facing our society, not just reduce time and costs of product development.

Here are a few examples of innovative research highlighed by Dale that  illustrate how realistic simulation can help improve our society. 

Sliced vew of a Coconut (courtesty of Blekinge Institute of Technology)
Sliced vew of a Coconut (Blekinge Inst of Tech)

Go Coconuts: Next time you think of renewable and biodegradable materials, think coconut fibers. Check out how researchers at Blekinge Institute of Technology are studying the mechanical properties of coconut fiber using Abaqus FEA.

These researchers are investigating how coconut fiber can be used as reinforcement in biodegradadable fabric and plastic containers, which could mean less landfill waste and less reliance on hydrocarbons to make plastic. 

Red Blood Cell Analysis (National Univ. of Singapore)
Red Blood Cell Analysis (National Univ. of Singapore)

Blood Cell Research: Collaboration between researchers at MIT and theNational University of Singapore has resulted in deeper understanding of how disease, such as Malaria, affects red blood cells.

They are using Abaqus FEA to model and analyze the mechanical structure and deformation of red blood cells in response to disease progression. Such realistic simulation is enabling researchers to study the efficacy of treatments for diseases more efficiently.

Bad Vibrations: Vibration induced by trains or road traffic is a frequent problem for urban buildings and dwellings. Such vibrations can range from minor annoyance to significant building damage. A straightforward explanation on how vibrations occur and transfer to nearby structures can be found at Canada’s National Research Council’s website.

Vibration Barrier Analysis (Tokyo Inst of Tech)
Vibration Barrier Analysis (Tokyo Inst of Tech)

Researchers at Tokyo Institute of Technology have used Abaqus FEA to evaluate how wave barriers can be improved to reduce vibration levels on nearby buildings. Check out their paper presented at the 2009 SIMULIA Customer Conference.

Now it’s your turn. What can you think of that could improve our lives or society? Better treatment for back pain? New technology for renewable energy? Better ways to dispose of hazardous waste?

Just do a simple search on Abaqus and ‘fill in your interest’. Here’s one to get you started; “Abaqus and Snail Armor”.

Let me know about the Unsung Heroes that you discover.
Tim

  • Bhavesh Kumar

    I like the “Unsung Heroes” part – it is apt. Besides the usual planes, trains, and automobiles, it is surprising how many day-to-day products we use also rely on realistic simulation.

    Bhavesh

  • Tim

    Hello Bhavesh, thanks for the comment. I am glad you like the unsung hero reference. It is true that many products we use every day are developed thanks in a large part to realistic simulation. Let me know if you have specific questions or topics you would like to hear more about.
    Tim