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CD-adapco and R Systems Help Wilson to Throw the Perfect Spiral.

Posted By: Lauren Gautier
Date:Tue, 7 Dec 2010, 3:41 p.m.

As the nights draw in, and fall turns to winter, the collective conscience of America once again becomes entirely focused on football. While the race to the NFL playoffs and the BCS bowl games tightens with every touchdown, Wilson Sporting Goods Co. (Wilson) and CD-adapco are involved in a different race – a race to engineer the perfect football.

Following the Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis of its soccer ball aerodynamics, Wilson has now turned its attention to the footballs. Armed with the knowledge gleaned from CFD analysis of soccer balls, CD-adapco and Wilson are breaking new ground in the application of advanced engineering simulation technology to sports science. Wilson uses exclusive patterns and innovative technology to provide the best game football at every level of play. Operating the only dedicated football factory in the world, Wilson is not resting on its laurels as industry leader. Instead, they are investing in sports science and engineering simulation to push innovation in the design of their footballs.

The first step of the project is to completely understand the aerodynamics of the balls in different game situations. This is where CD-adapco’s 30 years of CFD expertise comes into play. CD-adapco’s flagship software is STAR-CCM+, which allows engineers to effectively and efficiently simulate real-world engineering situations ranging from manufacturing to battery design, with a high level of accuracy. Wilson is now using CFD to gain insight into the complex aerodynamics of a football in flight, which until now has been impossible due to the cost and complexity of running wind tunnel test of a spinning object.

Partnering with CD-adapco and Wilson in this ambitious project is R Systems, a private provider of high-end computing resources for research. Wilson and CD-adapco focused on the analysis of the famous ‘Duke’ NFL game ball and the GST game ball used by college and high school programs all over the country. A complete understanding of football behavior requires unsteady simulations of fluid flow over the football to accurately capture the effect of surface roughness, spinning laces and the aerodynamic wake behind the football. The High Performance Computing (HPC) capabilities of R Systems were used to run these simulations on the Cloud using CD-adapco’s unique Power-on-Demand licensing scheme. The simulations were run using STAR-CCM+ on R Systems’ Nehalem Intel Quad Core Linux cluster with 48 nodes and QDR non-blocking Infiniband. The optimized HPC cluster resources of R Systems enables Wilson and CD-adapco to minimize time and maximize effectiveness due to the excellent scalability of STAR-CCM+ with the Nehalem cluster.

Unsteady simulations on both footballs were run at different combinations of ball speed, spin and flow angle to understand the aerodynamic forces on the ball in different game scenarios. Wilson needed just one Power-on-Demand STAR-CCM+ license to run all these simulations and the rapid response, queue sensitive production environment provided by R Systems ensured efficient accurate results within a total time of 15,000 core-hours. Wilson will use these results to drive innovations in the surface texture and pattern of its footballs, which will facilitate better control and stability during the forward motion of the ball.

CD-adapco’s Senior Vice President, Bill Clark said: “CD-adapco is committed to helping our customers win by delivering innovative products and reducing costs through the application of engineering simulation. Wilson’s innovative vision makes them a natural partner, and, with R Systems’ focus on enabling innovation, this is as good a match as a dual-threat quarterback in a spread offense."

R Systems’ Co-Founder, Brian Kucic states: "R Systems is proud to offer CD-adapco's Power-on-Demand STAR-CCM+ software as an addition to our HPC resources. This will provide HPC researchers a complete tool kit that includes leading edge hardware, software and services that will enhance capabilities through modeling and simulation in one location."

About R Systems

R Systems provides technical expertise and optimized HPC cluster resources to the commercial and academic research communities. R Systems’ project focus is providing fast and flexible HPC implementation, leaving users with the freedom to manage their core research objectives. R Systems’ agnostic approach to OS, hardware, and software ensures that a custom solution will match researcher requirements and expectations. Supported by expert technical staff, users avoid tedious systems management, making every project a value-added experience. The results are productive throughput while saving time and reducing cost. Visit for more information.

About Wilson
Chicago-based Wilson Sporting Goods Co., a division of Amer Sports, is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of sports equipment. The company designs, manufactures and distributes advanced equipment that helps players improve their performance. Wilson’s core categories include Baseball, Football, Basketball, Softball, Bats, Volleyball, Soccer, Youth Sports, Uniforms/Apparel, Golf, Footwear, and Racquet Sports (Tennis, Racquetball, Squash, Badminton and Platform Tennis).

All product and company names herein may be trademarks of their registered owners.

CD-adapco and R Systems Help Wilson to Throw the Perfect Spiral.

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