State-of-the-art supercomputer performing a million billion calculations a second

Advanced Research Computing High End Resource (ARCHER) is the UK’s primary academic research supercomputer. It enables researchers from industry and academia to run simulations and calculations involving massive datasets, such as those used to simulate airflow around cars and aircraft, and in the design of new materials.

ARCHER is the UK’s national supercomputing service, provided by its partners the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), Cray Inc. and the Edinburgh Parallel Computer Centre (EPCC) at the University of Edinburgh.

Using computational fluid dynamics (CFD), the Aircraft Research Association Ltd (ARA) harnessed ARCHER’s enormous power to carry out their largest simulation of civil aircraft landing gear. There is a strong drive to cut aircraft noise and emissions, and both can be reduced by making engines and airframes more aerodynamic. But the airflow around landing gear, as it deploys and retracts, is extremely complex and this increases the likelihood of it being designed too conservatively, with greater weight leading to increased fuel burn and higher emissions.

The researchers explored the use of CFD to compute the airflow around landing gear. The results, together with wind-tunnel data obtained in an experimental test, allowed this approach to be validated and enabled additional insight into the complex flow physics. Simulations like this will pave the way for increased use of CFD in the design of landing gear, leading to improved, more environmentally friendly designs.

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