Table of Contents
ISRN Mechanical Engineering
Volume 2013, Article ID 625175, 20 pages
Review Article

A Critical Review of Computational Methods and Their Application in Industrial Fan Design

1Dipartimento di Ingegneria Meccanica e Aerospaziale, Sapienza University of Rome, Via Eudossiana 18, 00184 Rome, Italy
2Fläkt Woods Limited, Axial Way, Colchester CO4 5ZD, UK

Received 13 August 2013; Accepted 23 September 2013

Academic Editors: O. Allix, S. W. Chang, and R.-J. Yang

Copyright © 2013 Alessandro Corsini et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Members of the aerospace fan community have systematically developed computational methods over the last five decades. The complexity of the developed methods and the difficulty associated with their practical application ensured that, although commercial computational codes date back to the 1980s, they were not fully exploited by industrial fan designers until the beginning of the 2000s. The application of commercial codes proved to be problematic as, unlike aerospace fans, industrial fans include electrical motors and other components from which the flow will invariably separate. Consequently, industrial fan designers found the application of commercial codes challenging. The decade from 2000 to 2010 was focused on developing techniques that would facilitate converged solutions that predicted the fans’ performance characteristics over the stable part of their operating range with reasonable accuracy, using a practical computational effort. In this paper, we focus on elucidating aspects of the flow physics that one cannot easily study in a laboratory environment, discussing the challenges involved and the relative merits of the available modelling techniques. The paper ends with a discussion of the practical problems associated with the use of commercial codes in a development environment and finally the legislation that is driving the need for aerospace style computation methods.