Mentor Graphics Corporation (NASDAQ:MENT) today announced the donation of the FloEFD™ Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software to over 700 USA high schools in support of the Real World Design Challenge (RWDC) contest. Embedded into PTC’s Creo product for 3D mechanical design, the FloEFD product enables these high school teams to efficiently analyze their aircraft wing, tail and fuselage designs for optimized performance. Previous years’ challenges have included the wing design of a 737 aircraft, the design of LSA (Light Sport Aircraft) and the tail assembly of a Cessna corporate jet. This year’s challenge will be the optimization of a commercial UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle), also known as a drone, and will require extensive design and CFD optimization to meet aggressive performance specifications and UAV task definition.
Each student team will have access to more than one million dollars’ worth of professional level software—donated by various sponsors—commonly used by aerospace companies in their design of real commercial products. Although a network of industry technical mentors is provided to the teams to help them understand the issues to be considered in the design process, the design approaches and CFD analyses are performed by the students. At the judging events, comprehensive presentations and documentation are presented to a panel of judges at both the state and national levels.
The RWDC was started five years ago with the goal to interest students in the pursuit of engineering careers and specifically in the aerospace industry. In addition to Mentor and PTC, the program has an impressive number of sponsors including NASA, the FAA, the US Department of Transportation, and over 40 commercial companies like Northrop Grumman, SPACEX, Lockheed Martin, Cessna, Pratt & Whitney, etc. The annual competition originates at the state level and then each state winner competes at the national level. To broaden the reach of the program, the cost to compete is free to the teams and expenses to the national competition are completely covered by corporate sponsorship funds.