The ability to simulate aerodynamic flows using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) has progressed rapidly during the last several decades and has fundamentally changed the aerospace design process. Advanced simulation capabilities not only enable reductions in ground-based and in-flight testing requirements, but also provide added physical insight, enable superior designs at reduced cost and risk, and open new frontiers in aerospace vehicle design and performance. However, today the aerospace CFD community finds itself at a crossroads due to the convergence of several factors. In spite of considerable successes, reliable use of CFD has remained confined to a small but important region of the operating design space due to the inability of current methods to reliably predict turbulent-separated flows. At the same time, High Performance Computing (HPC) hardware is progressing rapidly and is on the cusp of a paradigm shift in technology that may require a rethinking of current CFD algorithms and software. Finally, during the last decade, government investment in simulation-based technology for aerospace applications has been significantly reduced and access to leading-edge HPC hardware has been constrained both in government and industry.
This talk will overview a NASA-sponsored study to envision the potential for CFD in the 2030 timeframe and develop a plan to achieve this potential. Key findings on the current state of CFD and a vision for the future state of CFD are described. To achieve this vision, recommended actions to NASA and the broader CFD community are given.