Examples and Applications

ENGYS has a long history of applied CFD and optimisation methods in the automotive sector. Many automotive OEMs, consultants, suppliers and motor-sport teams rely on our open-source CFD software products ELEMENTS, HELYX, HELYX-Adjoint and HELYX-Coupled to design new vehicles and individual components, including: VW Group, FCA, Volvo, Mahindra, BMW, Toyota, Honda, Subaru, Rivian, Faraday Future, Yokohama Rubber, Aisin AW, F.C.C., Horiba MIRA, etc.

Our software products have been widely used and validated in the production environment to solve the majority of flow related problems encountered in automotive design, including: external vehicle aerodynamics, UHTM, HVAC and cabin comfort, aeroacoustics, power-train, ICE, water management and soiling, among others.


External Aerodynamics

The preferred CFD solution for external aerodynamics calculations in our portfolio of products is ELEMENTS.

The meshing technology and enhanced DES methods provided with this tool are employed to create fixed simulation templates to accurately predict the aerodynamic performance of cars, vans, SUVs and trucks in a virtual wind tunnel environment. This methodology is continously used, improved and validated against wind tunnel measurements by ENGYS, our partners of ARC, and our many automotive customers. The results are consistent with the latest Worldwide harmonized Light vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) in terms of drag prediction accuracy.

ELEMENTS also provides the means to create custom-made reports to collect and record all the results from every external aerodynamics simulation performed during the design process. This has helped OEMs with bridging the gap between stylists, engineers and management to enhance the PLM process.

The same CFD methods available in ELEMENTS have also been succesfully applied beyond automotive to analyse the aerodynamics performance of other vehicles and means of transporation, such as high-speed trains, motorbikes and competition bicycles.

Vehicle Design

Besides external aerodynamics, the general-purpose CFD interfaces available in both ELEMENTS and HELYX are widely used to analyse and solve a wide range of flow-related problems encountered in automotive design. Some of the problems solved by our clients in this sector include the following applications:

Underhood thermal management (UHTM), including cooling package performance and thermal response within the engine bay.
Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), related to cabin comfort for occupants, defogging, pull-down, warm-up and HVAC duct flows.
Aeroacoustics, including aerodynamics source generation and propagation inside and outside the cabin.
Power train, including in-cylinder flow, engine combustion, intake ducts and filters, turbochargers, exhaust gases, catalitic converters and mufflers. 
Soiling and water management, related to rain and spray deposition, water film dynamics, vehicle wading and water ingress analysis.

ELEMENTS and HELYX can also be coupled to the 3D thermal simulation software TAITherm from ThermoAnalytics using the dedicated coupling tools available in their product CoTherm. This coupling opens up further possibilities to simulate complex physics in the context of UHMT, battery thermal cooling and human thermal comfort.


The methods available in HELYX, HELYX-Coupled and HELYX-Adjoint are particularly suitable for motorsports applications where delivery times and computing resources are severely constrained by competition rules. Our CFD software tools are used by several teams in Formula 1 to complete a wide range of simulation tasks, ranging from external aerodynamics evaluations to thermal management. 

HELYX-Coupled is employed to perform RANS based external aerodynamics simulations to predict downforce up to 10 times faster than with the equivalent segregated type solver. Similarly, HELYX-Adjoint is employed to calculate surface sensitivities with respect to downforce and drag to optimise the aerodynamic performance and balance of the car with fewer iterations and less time in the wind tunnel. The topology optimiser available in HELYX-Adjoint is also ideal to design air ducts with maximum inflow and minimum pressure losses.

Adjoint Optimisation

The continous adjoint solver delivered as part of our HELYX-Adjoint add-on module for ELEMENTS and HELYX was created by ENGYS in 2010 based on the extensive theoretical work of Dr. Carsten Othmer of Volkswagen AG, Corporate Research. Since then, this method has been succesfully applied in the design of many passenger vehicles and F1 cars.

HELYX-Adjoint is employed by our customers to perform shape or topology optimisation, depending on the application. For example, the surface sensitivities to drag or lift calculated from the adjoint runs are used to morph the shape of the vehicle (subject to constraints) in order to improve its aerodynamic performance. By the same token, the volume sensitivities with respect to pressure losses and flow swirl are combined to perform topology optimisation of engine ports. The same methodology is also applied to other critical vehicle components, such as ducts and cooling channels, to optimise performance with respect to a large number of predefined design objectives.

Improve your automotive engineering



Contact your nearest ENGYS office today to discuss your specific applications with one of our engineers and learn more about how we can help you realise your designs using our open-source CFD software products and services.

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