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Can a CFD engineer be self employed?

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Old   November 6, 2012, 11:14
Default Can a CFD engineer be self employed?
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Hello

I am fairly new to CFD and have noticed that most people on this forum are experts with CFD, my question is, since you have so much knowledge within CFD could you not be self employed if you have access to the software?
Does anyone run a successful business from home by using CFD and make money from it?
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Old   November 6, 2012, 13:46
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Great question. I am looking forward to hearing peoples' opinions as this is something I am interested in. I would see the high cost of commercial software as a major business risk. If you aren't getting business and are still paying for the software, you could be sunk pretty quickly. Maybe open source codes are the answer? I am sure there are people on these forums that are self employed who can provide input.
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Old   November 6, 2012, 18:55
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1. Most people are experts with CFD? I cannot accept it as true. Even an very experienced user cannot identify him/herself as an expert. Even he is an expert, then expertise in what? Just one field is usually not enough, even though you can, see the successful RBF project for reference. But ingeneral a true CFD analysis is more complicated than that.

2. Business? i) Are your code good and complete enough to handle a variety of physical problems? Verified and validated? 2) Are your knowledge that enough in all three major aspect of CFD, pre-, solving and post-processing? 3) Are you really an expert recognized by your client? And also by a good CFD community? 4) How could you find your potential market and code applications, i.e., who's going to be your client?


If today, there are lots of clients come to me, I would be very glad to start business immediately. But until then, I would stay waiting patiently.
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Old   November 6, 2012, 21:17
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I'll give my 0.02€ here, given that's what I do...

I'm not an expert in all CFD, nor i know all the physics of all the various flow types. combustion, for example, is far beyond my reach. so sedimentation, just to name a few.

I'm using OpenFOAM for my calculations, and run the calculations on rented clusters. this means no license costs and no fixed infrastructure to maintain, plus the scalability to get 300cores one day and not pay for them the next day.

I've validated the sw against known experiments and can offer accurate results with confidence, within my field. if there is a new problem to solve, i try to find experiments or benchmarks. there is lot of learing involved.

If you have any specific questions feel free to ask.
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Old   November 6, 2012, 21:30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1/153 View Post
Are your code good and complete enough to handle a variety of physical problems? Verified and validated?
I hope no one is talking about marketing their code. Talk about a "red ocean".

I think one can be successful as a consultant providing CFD services once one gains enough experience to be considered a true expert.
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Old   November 6, 2012, 21:32
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Originally Posted by sail View Post
I'll give my 0.02 here, given that's what I do...

I'm not an expert in all CFD, nor i know all the physics of all the various flow types. combustion, for example, is far beyond my reach. so sedimentation, just to name a few.

I'm using OpenFOAM for my calculations, and run the calculations on rented clusters. this means no license costs and no fixed infrastructure to maintain, plus the scalability to get 300cores one day and not pay for them the next day.

I've validated the sw against known experiments and can offer accurate results with confidence, within my field. if there is a new problem to solve, i try to find experiments or benchmarks. there is lot of learing involved.

If you have any specific questions feel free to ask.
Thanks for the input. I like your idea of rented clusters.
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Old   November 6, 2012, 21:45
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Thanks for the input. I like your idea of rented clusters.
You're welcome.

but remember that there are downsides to this as well:

- the per core price is higher compared to a privately own machine
- you have to transfer the data back and forth trough the internet, and this might prove slowish
- every error or crash is paid in $$$
- similarly, given that you are paying for every hour, you might be restrained to test or try new stuff, solvers, methods, etc...
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Old   November 6, 2012, 22:04
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Good points to consider. I'm primarily a CFX user... I wonder what a license cost.
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Old   November 7, 2012, 17:36
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I will divide this into four parts:

1. Running a commercial code is more attractive to customers than the open source code. if you are working from home then you can use the university cluster and license and dont mention the license status to him/her. Even I used the office cluster and license when they are free for the freelance work.

2. This is team work. You cannot learn every field where CFD is applied. So you should have the external aerodynamics, turbo machinery, user defined function, combustions and IC engine experts. Otherwise only take the work which is within your capacity.

3. a)You can also make a web site and provide the on-line training on meshing, solver and post-processing. This is missing from the help in commercial codes, they use the different geometry for meshing, another piece for solver and newer one for the post processing. This is commercial trick.

3. b)So poeple usually are looking for the learning outlet where one can teach them all three steps on the one problem from scratch to the post processing and validation.

3. c)For example take a case of flat plate, there are always group of students who have started to learn the CFD and now they have assignment on different problems. And they want the solution in very less time, so they are looking for some help. You can provide that help on very cheap rates, may be 10-100 $ per case and they will be happy to pay you.

Interesting thing is that these problems are very typical like flat plate, cylinder, sphere, unsteady flow past cylinder, airfoil, turbine, compressor, aircraft (AIAA drag prediction workshop model).

4. You can be expert in all three areas. But this requires more input in meshing and geometry handling part, which people are reluctant to put in. So spend some time in learning new tools like ICEM Hexa, design modeler, ansys meshing, pointwise, spaceclaim. Moreover you should always look for the latest material in turbulence modelling and wall functions. Every customer/boss will always ask this questions a)How good and beautiful mesh is b) why did you run the X model and not the Y model. What about the new wall treatment.
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