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What is Field Driven Design and Why is it Important?

November 29, 2021 No Comments

Featured article by Egle Adomynaite


Traditional CAD tools are great. BRep, mesh, or a combination of both make your design work truly simple and efficient. However, you can enjoy their benefits only so much.

Conventional tools start exhibiting their limitations when the design starts becoming more complex. As ironic as it might sound, you cannot expect to define and exhibit complex designs using heavy computational methods.

You need to use a lighter tool.

Fields in design are the solution to your everyday complex design problems that keep you awake throughout the night. They enable you to concentrate on innovative, ground-breaking solutions with a clear path to manufacturing.

Fields are ubiquitous in fundamental workflows, from modeling to simulation to production. They allow engineers to influence geometry using stacks of synthesized data. As a result, products with very complicated attributes and features may have more dependable, durable performance.


What is Field Driven Design?

Field-driven design is a liberating notion built on implicit modeling. It has various advantages for end-users and businesses, including enhanced design performance and agility.

To put it another way, fields allow you to express spatial variants of design components. This allows you to manage complex geometry in aspects that would be impossible to do otherwise.

Engineering design is dependent on fields, even if you don’t acknowledge it. Spatial positions like velocity, volume, and distance are all that constitute the definition of ‘field.’

There are several types of fields in engineering and manufacturing. It turns out that you can use the syntax of fields to simplify nearly any type of technical data.

You can convert CAD, CAE, and CAM to fields. You can also use fields to generate or alter designs by directly describing the working context.

To better comprehend the idea of fields, consider how the weather behaves as an example.

Imagine you are driving along the coast of Sonoma State Park in Bodega Bay Area, California, United States. Your goal is to find an optimal camping spot to spend the night in nature. You might collect data like temperature, wind speed, precipitation, visibility, and pollution levels at every mile via a weather forecast application.

Each piece of information you collect here is continuous. This means that it is available at all times. This is a ‘field’, and you can sample such weather fields, at different distance intervals, be it a mile, yard, or foot, and so on. You can use this data to find an optimal spot to set your camp for the night.

The main message is that we can utilize one sort of weather data or mix them all to make a camping decision. Fields representing various forms of data, such as distance, force, or velocity values, are also used and integrated to improve implicit geometry for best performance.


Why is Field Design Important?

You get control over the shape

All of us have used drawing programs like Illustrator and PowerPoint. We have all played and experimented with different color shades. In doing so, you must have come across the word ‘gradient.’ A color gradient is a set of position-dependent colors that are typically used to fill an area in graphic design.

In a similar way, field design gives you control of the spatial variations of a shape. It helps you shape any object in nTopology, the way you want it to be.

Helps handle complex designs

Field-driven design is advantageous because it allows you to incorporate precisely the appropriate amount of mobility into your designs. You may use it to create highly complicated designs with many elements, as well as basic designs with few parameters that are easy to operate.

As an example, consider a plate with 100 arrays. The simplest design is where all holes have the same diameter, d. If you want to increase the size of the object, you can simply increase the value of d in F(x)=d. Although this design is simple and boring, it is easy to control.

Screen Shot 2021-11-29 at 3.11.25 PM

 However, consider an array where the holes are independent. This means that each hole has its own diameter. Here, adjusting the size of the object will require you to adjust the diameter of every single one of the 100 arrays. It will take a lot of time and effort.

Controlling such a complex design is not easy without field design. Field design allows you to introduce multiple parameters instead of a single one, which lets you finish the task at hand in a lesser amount of time.

As a result, employing fields allows you to establish an informed trade-off between too many and too few variables. You can have as much flexibility as you wish, but no more. Even this simple example highlights an important point that design frequently corresponds to fields.

Field design helps carry out motives that are straightforward to communicate in the language. Yet, they are surprisingly complex to implement in many CAD applications systems. It is simple to state that diameters rise from d0 to d1 on the right. However, the construction of a whole array with this feature is not easy in CAD systems.

In a really bad situation, you might have to define all of the hole sizes one at a time to obtain each value.


Speak to you via the language of Physics

Field design for engineering is one of its best applications. Fields are the primary input and output vocabulary for most engineering simulations, such as finite element models and computational fluid mechanics. Each type of solver accepts boundary condition data (which, in simple terms ‘field’) and produces output fields.

– Stress, strain, and displacement fields are generated by structural solvers.

– Temperature fields are generated by thermal solvers

– Structure fields are generated by modal solvers as a function of frequency

– Flow rates are defined by fluid dynamic solvers, who yield potential and velocity fields
– Forces, currents, and electromagnetic fields are all dealt with by electromagnetic solvers


Enable collaboration and automation

By default, conventional CAD, CAE, and CAM tools concentrate on a single aspect of the project lifecycle. Furthermore, the engineering software architecture is fragmented, culminating in disorganized data structures. For designing, simulations, and assembly, numerous models are required in practice. Such duties are often handled by experts in different jobs in all but the smallest firms.

Geometric restrictions and technical constraints should direct production output directly, avoiding many of the repetition cycles and bottlenecks that plague traditional methods. The first step is to recognize that CAD-intensive methods can abruptly close down engineering. Each profession should contribute their knowledge to the procedure before resorting to precise CAD designs.

Screen Shot 2021-11-29 at 3.15.16 PM

Users combine the development, research, design, and manufacturing domains into a single engineering framework in field-driven design. The fields can then be used by field-based geometry, modeling, and production algorithms to produce stable and accurate outputs. You can increase the speed of design iteration by orders of magnitude with this method.

CAD continues to push and preserve input geometries in the field, while topology optimization allows for a seamless depiction of both form and inner pressures. You can overlay known external parameters like stresses, pressures, displacements, and conductive heat exchange on top of the standard geometry, as can impacts which must be evaluated from prototypes like modal influences and convective heat transfer.


Wrapping Up

We have come to the end of this article. Hopefully, you understood what field design is and how it is important, especially in engineering design. Traditional tools like CAD and mesh are undoubtedly the preferred tool for beginners and simpler designs. However, when the work at hand gets tougher, you need a more sophisticated method to work on your project.

The advantages of field-driven design and harmonizing technical jargon across engineering fields are significant. Enhanced organizational cooperation and data flow is a significant benefit, as specialized expertise may be exchanged and efficiently exploited across an organization rather than product decisions being made in isolation.

Furthermore, the pace of trade assessments and design iterations has increased by an absolute scale. If you want to know more about nTopology and field design, there are several free journals available online. These journals will give you an in depth information about it.


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