Feelin’ the Flow: Project Dalton Brings Simulation Insights to Pipe Flow Design

Categories: Engineering



Project Dalton Standalone Application

From a nation’s oil supply line to a residential building’s fire protection system, many industries depend on the efficient transportation of liquids and gases through complex pipe network systems.

The engineering objective in such complex systems is to develop a network that meets the distribution needs while also balancing other considerations such as cost, architectural design, etc.  An added challenge for design engineers is that they have to develop a design to meet these objectives, but are often unable to evaluate the performance of the design until a detailed simulation is performed later in the process.  But the ability to accurately and efficiently simulate fluid flow in the design stage could enable informed evaluation of design trades early in the process.

Project Dalton is an application developed to enable this capability. Recently introduced through the Autodesk Labs, Dalton provides a means for design engineers to quickly apply fluid analysis methods to their design models and get nearly instant feedback on system performance.

Project Dalton 3

Analysis of Large Piping Network

The tool is employed as a standalone application or as an add-on within the design package, such as Autodesk AutoCAD Plant 3D. Starting with a standard PCF file, Dalton accesses the information available in the model geometry (pipe length/diameter, elevation, etc.). Dalton’s menu bar then offers simple windows that enable the user to specify additional analysis inputs such as materials, component data, boundary conditions, etc.

Project Dalton AutoCAD Plant 3D plugin

Project Dalton AutoCAD Plant 3D plugin

Project Dalton Autodesk Revit MEP plugin

Project Dalton Autodesk Revit MEP plugin

To assist, Dalton includes analysis aides such as a built-in, customizable library of common liquids and gases, as well as pipe materials and equipment data (roughness, k-factor, etc.) and the ability to generate a pump or fan curve with just a few characteristic input points. Visualization tools help along the way to make it clear what is being modified, what the impact to flow direction, etc.

Once the design elements are characterized, the user can Solve for a number of performance measures, including pressure, flow rate and temperature.  The user can easily change design features and re-solve to assess the impact of the change. Dalton is able to quickly simulate flow for given conditions and deliver results to the user for review and interpretation – intelligently guiding the design process.

When finished, Dalton allows users to export results into a CSV file as well as save a copy of the analysis configuration for future use.


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