User Story


There are many companies that enjoy worldwide recognition. Rolls-Royce is one of them. With the world's broadest range of aerospace engines, Rolls-Royce provides the power for over 300 leading airlines. The company's advanced engines are also chosen around the world for major defense, marine, and energy markets, including the oil and gas industry, as well as power generation. Rolls-Royce has 55,000 engines in service, built on reliability, integrity, and innovation.

Dr. Shahrokh Shahpar, a Rolls-Royce CFD specialist and technical authority for aerodynamic design systems in the company's aeronautical-thermal methods department, focuses on producing design systems and associated optimization for engine components.

He says, "We continue to strive for improving efficiency and performance while reducing product development time from months to weeks and in some cases, days. Our internal customers require high quality, efficient, and reliable systems. I have been working with designers to understand their requirement and current limitations. In addition, I have been working with worldclass researchers to develop the best techniques and software to apply innovation. Our goal is to provide the company with the best solutions and software systems for design tasks. In a way, we have tried to exceed customers' expectations. Proactively, we are trying to determine what tools and techniques our engineers may need in the next five to ten years."

Shahpar and his team use a number of in house and commercial software packages. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software is used for both design and analysis processes. One proprietary simulation code called forward and inverse three-dimensional design system (FAITH) allows 3D aerodynamic-mechanical design of turbomachinery blades to be performed in a very fast and efficient manner. FAITH works with components such as turbines, compressors, fans, and is being extended to other applications.

In essence, FAITH allows users to build an influence matrix that basically gives the sensitivity of flow variables with respect to design parameters. FAITH does this very effectively by executing tasks in parallel and exploiting the fact that certain flow variables vary in a linear manner with design parameters. Hence, designers can quickly and interactively explore a large design space. The ability to very quickly execute a number of traditionally very complex calculations that could take weeks to solve using other technology helps reduce design cycles and costs.

"While FAITH is a very powerful system, it needed to be expanded," notes Shahpar. "While the software provides the geometry associated to specific fluid flow configurations, the approach provided unconstrained results. For example, if we wanted to improve efficiency or achieve a particular pressure distribution on the blade, the inverse mode of FAITH can provide geometry very quickly to achieve the specified target. However, the capacity or the flow rate that is needed to go through the engine may also change - an undesirable factor.

"I studied this issue and realized that we already had an efficient methodology of doing forward design with FAITH. Why not add an optimizer to it so that the optimizer could achieve the constraints? iSIGHT software from Engineous Software GmbH (Munich, Germany and headquartered in Morrisville, NC, USA) achieves this task very well. We linked FAITH with iSIGHT. The optimizer works like a designer - determines which parameters need to change and why. FAITH returns the cost function very quickly. We specify constraints such as capacity and let the optimizer decide on what's the best solution."

As a result of implementing iSIGHT, Rolls-Royce designers can investigate a relatively large number of different design scenarios. "We can realize results as the optimization proceeds. iSIGHT allows us to view the design parameters as they change and that is quite helpful. The combination of FAITH coupled with optimization techniques, as provided by iSIGHT is helping Rolls-Royce achieve its aggressive goals of reducing time to market in a very competitive global marketplace," says Shahpar.

After one day of installation and training, Shahpar was up and running iSIGHT in production mode. He claims that the software is quite easy to learn to use. For more information about Engineous Software, iSIGHT, and its services, visit

Click here and here for two GIF files that contain graphics depicting turbine blades analyzed using iSIGHT. (31k and 21k).

Author: Laura Carrabine

Home | Top of page | Front of MANAGING CAD/CAM/CAE section

Page last modified on August 24, 2000
Copyright 2000 by John Stark