Although there are many components needed for mounting the electronics, these play no role in thermal and flow analysis and would only create mesh issues and make the computational time much bigger.
There were significant challenges to performing a flow only analysis of the entire fuselage such as high velocity and the change in fluid properties due to altitude. Additionally, turbulence solvers needed to be run and evaluated to ensure the success of the CFD analysis.
Upon completion of the CFD, the turbulence model was applied. In order for all pieces of the drone to be cooled properly, the model required a complex mesh – mostly due to the unbalanced ratio of fuselage size and thickness to the minuscule electronic parts. To further reduce the mesh count, hollow blocks were modeled for the components that contributed only to the flow obstruction.
From this juncture, Boyd was able to work with the customer to redesign the drone to accommodate the finding. On this project, flow analysis was actually more critical to evaluating and redesigning the device than thermal analysis. Both flow and thermal analyses are often crucial to design success and are recommended for any electronics that are being used in new and innovative ways in nonstandard environments, such as these drones.